For a player who’s known for scoring clutch goals,Kim Deschênes is remarkably lighthearted before games. Normally she can be seen bouncing around the locker room singing at the top of her lungs.
"Last season my song was Ghost by Ella Henderson. It’s so catchy and just pumps you up. Some people need to be in their bubble. That’s definitely not me," she laughed. "I think my teammates would describe me as a bit of a clown but I need to keep things light before a game. I can’t get too in my head."
Deschênes made her mark as a big-game player as a member of the Université de Montréal Carabins. She scored two goals, including the game winner, as a senior at the 2013 CIS Championship. They were two of her three in the tournament, putting her at the top of the rankings in goals scored.
Now in her sophomore year with Les Canadiennes de Montreal, Deschênes is looking to redefine herself.
"Lots of times I’ve been a game-changer, but everyone on this team has had that role in their university days as well," she said.
On a Canadiennes team loaded with talent, Deschênes is working hard to stand out. In her rookie year she netted eight goals and six assists, putting her at sixth on the scoring depth chart. "Every time you start with a new team you’re kind of at the bottom of the ladder. I think I’ve seized the opportunity to move up and make an impact."
Deschênes has been a fixture at the rink since she was three years old. Her first memories of the game (which she called "wawa" as a child because she couldn’t pronounce "hockey") were watching her parents on the ice. Her father played in a semi-pro league and. as it often is in the minors, the team’s equipment manager took on a few extra roles at the arena. In this case, he was her babysitter during practices and games. "Some of my first memories of hockey weren’t just watching my dad play or learning to skate," she said, "it was in the equipment room with the guys who just lived the game."
20 years later the woman from small-town Saint-Quentin, New Brunswick (population: 5000) made her first appearance at the Clarkson Cup.
"What I’m most proud of is the process it took to get there. [The championship] was bittersweet because we lost in the finals," she recalled of the 3-2 overtime loss to the Boston Blades last year.
"It takes a lot [out of you] to lose like that. In a way I think it was noble because we kept — and are keeping — our heads held high," she said displaying her lighthearted attitude with a smile.