When Les Canadiennes came out of nowhere to announce that the team acquired Emerance Maschmeyer, it took the women’s hockey world by storm.
As it turns out, the reasons Maschmeyer chose to come to Montreal came from a source that my surprise you.
“I have Charline Labonté as a mentor and she’s a good friend of mine and so I got talking with her and it just seemed to make sense to come up to Montreal,” Maschmeyer said.
Labonté and Maschmeyer played together at the 2016 World Championships in Kamloops, British Columbia where they were fighting for the starting job. Maschmeyer ended up taking the job, but a friendship was born.
“I was a little bit nervous because she’s a legendary goalie for Team Canada, and when I came in and started playing she was the most supportive you could imagine,” Maschmeyer said. “We got along really well right away and that’s not something that always happens when you’re in a competitive position.”
“Right away we were able to talk about anything and she was super supportive and talking to her after the roster came out for Centralization, it kind of made sense to come to Montreal. I’m excited to be around her and we already have it planned that when I get to Montreal we’ll meet up for lunch or something. We have a pretty special relationship.”
Maschmeyer and Labonté faced off at the Bell Centre last year. It was the 1-0 win for Montreal, and afterwards Labonté called herself Maschmeyer's “biggest fan.”
That game was also during Maschmeyer's first trip to Montreal.
“It was pretty incredible,” she said. “The game after, the Canadiens played and I remember watching Carey Price in net and I was in that crease the game before so that was pretty cool to know I shared that same crease with him.”
The decision for Maschmeyer to come to Montreal happened after she was only named as an alternate to the Canadian Olympic roster as they centralize before the tournament in February. She played on the last two World Championship teams for Canada. The team decided to name Shannon Szabados, Geneviève Lacasse, and Ann-Renée Desbiens to the roster.
“The news was devastating to me,” she said. “I didn’t really expect it to come but that’s hockey and sport and sometimes things don’t work out the way you expect them to. Now I’m in full swing training this summer and every time I train off the ice, on the ice I have that as motivation. I’m still an alternate so I need to be ready. If anything happens, I’ll be ready to go and play with the team but right now I need to focus on myself and staying healthy and doing everything I can to be the best goalie I could be and the best person I could be and when it’s my shot again I’ll be ready to go.”
“I thought it was best for my development as a hockey player and as a person to play for Montreal this year [...] It will be a new experience for me. I haven’t really been to Montreal a whole lot but I’ve played there, I love the culture and it will be an experience playing there.”
Maschmeyer only played in eight games (5-3 record) last season, splitting the net with Lacasse and Delayne Brian with the Calgary Inferno. She finished with the best goals against average (1.49) and save percentage (.946) of any goaltender in the league. However, she was not named as a rookie of the year or goaltender of the year candidate.
“Playing is always good for development. Last year I played a lot less than I have in previous years so hopefully this year, obviously having to prove myself to a new team, a new coaching staff but hopefully I’ll get more ice time.”
The CWHL is also undergoing some major changes with two teams in China starting this season. It will provide players with the chance to travel to Asia to play some regular season games.
“I think that will be a lot of fun for us,” she said. “It’s not very often that you get to travel to places like China for hockey. I was lucky enough to get that with the Inferno last year, we went to Japan and I thought that wouldn’t really happen again and now we’re headed to China this year.”
“We’re pretty fortunate that we get to have that experience this year.”
Maschmeyer will get her first on-ice action with her new team in September when the team has their pre-season camp. The CWHL’s draft is this Sunday in Toronto.