For the second straight Olympic year, Les Canadiennes defender Cathy Chartrand took home the award for CWHL defenceman of the year.
“’I don’t think I’ll be playing four years from now,” said Chartrand, laughing, about the prospects of winning again in 2022. She previously won the award in the 2013-14 season.
The CWHL’s all-time leading scoring defender had another solid year for Montreal this season. She led the team’s defenders with five goals and 18 assists in 28 games this season. She was third among CWHL defenders.
“I’m not getting any younger and the league is getting faster and faster,” said Chartrand who is 36 years old. “You put in the time, you put in the effort and it shows you don’t do it for nothing.”
Chartrand was the only one of the four Canadiennes nominees to take home an award. Ann-Sophie Bettez, Emerance Maschmeyer, and Dany Brunet were nominated for Most Valuable Player, Goaltender of the Year, and Coach of the Year respectively. Bettez was also a nominee for the Jayna Hefford Trophy, which is MVP as voted on by the CWHL players. All other awards are voted on by the league’s coaches and general managers.
The two teams playing in Sunday’s Clarkson Cup - the Markham Thunder and Kunlun Red Star - were well represented on Awards night. Kunlun’s Kelli Stack took home league Most Valuable Player in addition to the Angela James Bowl for being the league’s leading scorer. Their goaltender Noora Räty took home Goaltender of the Year. Markham's Jamie Lee Rattray won the Jayna Hefford trophy.
Stack went to Kunlun after suffering the disappointment of not being named to the American national team for the Olympics.
“I wanted to showcase that I was still one of the best players in the world,” Stack said. “I wanted to show that I was still physically at the height of my game and the team did well to work together and get wins.”
Räty played for Kunlun while being a full member of the Finnish National Team. She missed time during the season to take part at the Four Nations Cup and Winter Olympics on top of having to travel back and forth between China and North America with her Kunlun team.
“I think I managed the travel pretty well,” Räty said. “To be honest, before the season started I was worried when I looked at my schedule and saw how many Air Miles I would rack up.”
Räty led the league in goals against average and save percentage and was tied for shutouts with Maschmeyer.
When Räty, Stack and Rattray won the awards, they got loud ovations from their Markham or Kunlun teammates in the crowd. Both teams had their whole team in attendance.
“It was huge,” Rattray said about having her team with her for this moment. “It's pretty fun to be here with them this weekend and I can't wait to share the whole thing with them.”
Calgary's Tomas Pacina won Coach of the Year and Sophie Shirley, who started the season at 18 years old, won Rookie of the Year.
The league's Humanitarian of the Year was former chairman of the CWHL board of directors Brad Morris. He left the board at the beginning of this season and is the first male to win the award.
Montreal also took home the Chairman's Trophy for the best regular season team in the CWHL. Canadiennes general manager Meg Hewings joked that the trophy is cursed while accepting it. The last three teams to win it failed to win the Clarkson Cup, including Les Canadiennes suffering that fate twice.