Since the midget ranks, Gabrielle David has never finished a season with an average of less than a point per game. In her final campaign at Clarkson University last year, she finished 10th in scoring in the NCAA Division I. So no one has to worry about his offensive flair.

However, when a rookie attacker, no matter how talented, arrives on a team whose first lines are full of star players, it is likely that she will have to fill another role. Or occupy another chair, to use a fashionable term.

This is what happens to the Drummondville native. At 24, she is one of the youngest skaters on the Montreal team in the Professional Women’s Hockey League (LPHF). At the preseason tournament in Utica at the beginning of December, she formed a so-called “energy” trio with veterans Sarah Lefort and Jillian Dempsey. In other words, a unit, probably the third in the hierarchy, whose mission is primarily based on hard work, in support of the best elements.

On the sidelines of the LPHF draft session in mid-September, where David was selected by Montreal in the ninth round, Marie-Philip Poulin spoke of her as “hardworking”, “very intense”, who deploys a lot of speed. We will therefore refer to the widely used image of sandpaper.

“She gets into a lot of battles; she’s aggressive, she’s gritty, she brings us a lot of depth,” explained Cheverie. But she also has the ability to score goals, we don’t want to take away her creativity. »

The coach seems to want to advocate caution towards players who have barely left university. “We want them to be in a position to be successful,” she summarizes.

The Quebecer is, for example, used to playing in the center; At training camp, however, she was used mainly on the wing. We understand that she will probably have her chance on the power play; At this point, she is more responsible for collecting her team’s penalties.

The main person concerned takes no offense at the responsibilities entrusted to her. On the contrary. “In my first year at Clarkson, that was also my role, to bring energy,” she recalls in an interview. I am able to adapt to any situation. »

As for working outnumbered, “it really doesn’t bother [me]! “, she exclaims. Even if, “when you get scored, it stays in your head a little,” she adds with a big smile.

There is a candor about her which has resolutely charmed her teammates in recent weeks.

The two compatriots have had the opportunity to rub shoulders on the ice for several months, first in a three-on-three summer league, then at the Canadian team selection camp and finally at the 21.02 High Performance Center, where a group of professional players trained all fall – notably the fifteen Quebecers who are now part of the LPHF.

“She’s an incredible person,” says Sarah Lefort, former member of the Montreal Canadiens. She is smiling, she is always happy to be on the ice. She accepts challenges, she wants that. She is not afraid to admit her mistakes and receive feedback. She is a player who will develop very quickly. »

Through her commitment and personality, “she fits the type of players that [the team] wants to have,” confirms general director Danièle Sauvageau. “For me, that means a lot,” says the manager.

Long-awaited, the LPHF will allow the discovery of high-caliber players who are not, or not yet, members of their national team.

Defender Maude Poulin-Labelle, drafted by Montreal but who ultimately signed a contract in Toronto, and forward Rosalie Demers, reserve forward in Ottawa, are part of the new generation of Quebecers about to begin their careers professional. Even Elizabeth Giguère (New York) only played one season in the old PHF.

Not only is Gabrielle David part of this cohort, but she is also starting her career close to home, in a team that also features nine natives of the province.

Unsurprisingly, she is delighted to be able to play in front of parents and friends. She is aware that playing in Montreal can also come with harsh criticism and on social media when things don’t work so well. However, so far, the experience seems only positive. After the team announced she had signed a one-year contract a few days ago, she was inundated with messages.

Seemingly endless, the training camp is (finally) coming to an end. The club’s season will begin in Ottawa on January 2, and the big Montreal start will take place on January 13. These two matches will be played behind closed doors.

The wait was long, especially for veterans. But even for rookies, like Gabrielle David, it will be the culmination of years of work and patience. So whether his debut takes place on the first or fourth line, it doesn’t matter to him. She will wear the Montreal uniform, in a professional league. For now, that’s pretty much all that matters.