Women and children in the spotlight at the Canadiens skills competition

Members of the Montreal Professional Women's Hockey League team dream of playing a game at the Bell Center. Meanwhile, eight players from the team were able to take to the ice on Sunday morning at the RONA skills competition organized by the Canadian in the almost full amphitheater.

Marie-Philip Poulin, Erin Ambrose, Sarah Bujold, Mariah Keopple, Sarah Lefort, Maureen Murphy, Laura Stacey and Tereza Vanisova were able to demonstrate the extent of their talent alongside the Habs' stars.

“It was special to feel the love from the fans, to be on the ice with the guys and talk hockey,” Poulin said. You know, we play the same sport. We have the same passion. We talked about the last few games. They follow our season. It's special to see what's happening in women's hockey. »

According to journalist Jeff Marek of Sportsnet, the game between the Toronto and Montreal teams could be presented on April 21 at the Bell Centre. In an interview with Radio-Canada Sports earlier this week, Groupe CH sports and entertainment president France Margaret Bélanger said the Canadian was open to welcoming the Montreal LPHF team to the Bell Centre.

“I think we would all enjoy this experience,” Ambrose said. Playing at the Bell Center would be historic. Our fans are incredible and they followed us to Laval, Verdun and even abroad like Toronto. »

“I hope it can happen. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but I think it would be a big moment,” she added.

Always a pressure

The players taking part in the Canadiens' skills competition on Sunday looked good. Bujold completed a lap in just two tenths of a second more than Joshua Roy.

Alex Newhook won the competition with a lap time of 13.372 seconds. Note that the nets were slightly closer than in the NHL All-Star Game competition, when Connor McDavid completed a lap in 13.408 seconds.

Bujold also stole the show at an event in which participants had to score goals “Michigan style,” that is, by lifting the puck behind the net with the blade of their stick and returning it to the top corner of the goal.

“I don’t know if I could do that during a game,” Bujold exclaimed. I didn't think I would attend this event. I did well! »

Roy was the only Canadian delegate to attend the event, who was nevertheless chosen by the Habs players from four suggested by fans.

“There weren’t many people who wanted to do it, and everyone said they couldn’t do it,” Roy said. You asked Cole [Caufield], but he said I was better. I said no, but I had no say. I had to go! »

In precision shooting, Ambrose needed seven shots and just over 15 seconds to hit all four targets. Cole Caufield won the competition by smashing all four targets in six shots and just 12.3 seconds.

The Canadiens' goalkeepers also took part in the precision shooting test and mastered a lot. Poulin also had some problems.

“There’s always stress,” Poulin said. You are in the Bell Center, in front of more than 20,000 people. But I think today was really nice. I felt like people were happy we were here. »

Family atmosphere

Mike Matheson was the first to step onto the ice, accompanied by his son, who was just over two and a half years old. Young Hudson dazzled the Bell Center crowd with several shots that found the net.

For the second year in a row, the children of player development advisor Paul Byron and assistant coach Alex Burrows took part in some events.

Brysen Byron, 9, shone with a lap of the ice in 17.656 seconds. Jacob Burrows, 8, was the last survivor of the shooting.

“The mothers and fathers were happy to see the children on the ice. It is also the future of the other boys. It was special,” said defender Arber Xhekaj.

The Colossus defender brought the crowd to its feet with a 107.2 mph shot. Xhekaj will now be tasked with breaking Zdeno Chara's mark of 108.8mph.

“I didn't think I would get so close to the record,” admitted Xhekaj. I think this is the next step! »

Even while they were recovering, Kirby Dach, Christian Dvorak and Rafaël Harvey-Pinard attended the event from the players' bench. Jayden Struble, who was dealing with a lower-body injury, took part in the shooting.

The only absentee was striker Jake Evans, who was enjoying a day of treatment. In the Canadian's 3-4 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, he was hit in the stomach by a skate in the third period.

The Canadian will return to training on Monday. He then hosts the Arizona Coyotes at the Bell Center on Tuesday. The Habs will then look to end a five-game losing streak.

To watch in the video

Darren Pena

Avid beer trailblazer. Friendly student. Tv geek. Coffee junkie. Total writer. Hipster-friendly internet practitioner. Pop culture fanatic.

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