(Montreal) Announced just before the international break, the Montreal team of the Professional Women’s Hockey League never really had the opportunity to work together.

With the return to practice this week, that’s what head coach Kori Cheverie’s team will be able to do until the holiday break, Dec. 22-27.

“As it is, the team was formed just before the Rivalry Series matches (between Canada and the United States), noted goalkeeper Marlène Boissonnault after Tuesday’s training session at the Verdun Auditorium. Last week, we didn’t have our entire team and we worked a lot on our skills on the ice. This is really the first full week where we have our entire team. It’s really going to be an exceptional week of training. It will do good.

“This group already got along really well and we were able to see that again when we were all together,” added Cheverie. Everyone was happy to see each other again. We only have a few days before the holiday break to make these workouts meaningful. »

All these players played hockey at a very high level. But in order to be successful in this new league, they will have to develop automatisms. That’s what the next few weeks will be about, until the season opens on January 2 in Ottawa.

“It’s clear that at camp, we worked hard to create this environment, this family spirit,” said forward Laura Stacey. But there were around thirty girls at the camp and it’s more difficult than when there are only 23 or 25. Now, we are always the same group showing up at the arena, having lunch together. It’s easier to focus on the team. Even working in trios or pairs of defenders, or even in groups of six with the goalkeepers, everything is easier.

“(The last few months) have been a bit of a whirlwind for everyone: the league coming, the draft, the international break. Now we’re reunited with our team and things are clicking between us: let’s enjoy it! », added Stacey.

“It’s definitely something that started (since the start of camp), but now that we’re all together and we’ll be able to enjoy a little time together before the holidays, it’s super important, added star forward Marie-Philip Poulin. Not just for cohesion on the ice, but for team spirit. To have these four training sessions before the break is great for us. »

The players will benefit from some additional training before the season begins. Montreal will play its first three games on the road – after Ottawa, the team will face Minnesota (January 6) and New York (January 10) – before kicking off its local season against Boston on January 13 in Verdun.

Ticket sales are also going well throughout the LPHF.

“It’s a sign that if you offer high-caliber women’s sport, people will want to travel,” Stacey said.

“We expected that, because when the league was announced last August, there was immediately demand,” said the general director of the Montreal team, Danièle Sauvageau. People would come here and ask us when they could buy tickets. »

Sauvageau has also fulfilled an old promise she made to herself.

“My mother showed me articles signed by Bertrand Raymond, from the Journal de Montréal, dating from 1997. I wondered at the time if I was going to see such a professional women’s league in my lifetime. My mother pointed out to me that I was seeing her now,” said Sauvageau.

“When the tickets went on sale, I bought the first season tickets. I had always promised myself that if a professional team was created, I would buy the first tickets. I did it. I didn’t have to: I’ll be around! It’s part of who I am and what I try to do. We got it, we’re there,” she concluded.