Les Canadiennes are a professional women's ice hockey team based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Founded in 2007 as the Montreal Stars, they have merged last year with the Montreal Canadians to form Les Canadiennes.
It is the second year in a row and the sixth time in the last eight seasons that they are headed to the Clarkson Cup Final!
Former player of Les Canadiennes herself, Lisa Marie Breton-Lebreux has taken a new role as the assistant-coach for the team this last year. I had the pleasure to interview her about what it's like to lead the girls, and their upcoming plans for the years to come.
photo cred - Lisa Marie Breton-Lebreux
Why did you decide to become a coach?
I always said that I wanted to win five Clarkson cups before retiring. Last year I told myself "this will be the last year" and although we came close, we did not end up winning the cup. [So]I retired anyways, [because] my body was feeling it. But since I didn't get my cup, I decided to coach, and help win it this year.
What are some of the challenges you face as a coach?
Some of the challenges are re-inforcing the system. I stay longer at the rink [with the coaches] then when I used to play myself. We need to decide which player to put where, we need to give them roles, to lead them, although they are very receptive.
What do you think differentiates our team from others in the league?
There's something special about Les Canadiennes. The team players vary from ages 24-37 years old. In Montreal, it's all girls that have played together and known each other for a long time. I played with Caroline Ouellet for over 20 years! Marie Philipe Poulin came to play with us in 2008 when we won the first Clarkson cup, she was only 15 years old at the time and now she is back. [What makes us so special is that ] we are like a family.
Have you seen any drastic changes since the team first started?
There has been a tremendous step forward since 2007, when we first started the league. The girls are faster, stronger, it's harder to keep up [with them]. They are the best of the best. And they keep getting better.
We've also seen a huge difference since our partnership with the Montreal Canadians (almost a year ago now). The marketing is better, there are a lot more people at the games, a lot more fans. As for the team, we are getting some new players graduating - they are very good. That's going to add already to a very good base and hopefully not too many retire.
What are the long term goals?
Excellence in everything we do, every detail counts. [It is important] that we act professionally and be professional.
We are continuously chasing excellence, that's what we do.
Marie Philipe Poulin
Anne Sophie Bettez
Make sure to watch them play on March 13 at 4 pm at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa for the final game!