The Montreal Stars opened the doors of Étienne-Desmarteaux Arena in Rosemont this week to welcome kids from ages seven to 16 to their annual Youth Camp. Boys are welcome, but the camp specifically targets young girls.
"We want to grow women's hockey, and there's a lot of girls coming up for this camp. You can see every year, it's growing," remarked Olympic gold medalist Marie-Philip Poulin in between on-ice sessions.
"There were never any women's hockey camps in my hometown, so it's fun to see that it's been growing."
Until recently, if young girls wanted to play hockey, they were forced to join boys' leagues, as there were no designated leagues for young women to hone their skills. That's changing, and strong, female athletes to look up to, like Poulin, play a huge role.
"Our Olympic dream, that's where it started, at camps like this. Being able to work with role models. Being here, being able to maybe be that person for them? I think it's awesome," said Poulin.
When asked who Poulin looked up to when she was growing up:
"For me, it was Caroline Ouellette. She's a big part of my success."
The two will be teammates next season, as Poulin made it clear that she didn't want to play anywhere other than Montreal.
"I loved my four years in Boston, I think I could have stayed there. But with the training facility and the organization here in Montreal, I think it was a good fit for me, and I'm really happy to be back at home, closer to my friends and family."