Montreal women’s hockey tournament kicks off
There was a time when it seemed unlikely: 54 hockey teams from Ontario and Quebec faced off in an all-female tournament.
But this weekend, it’s a reality in Montreal, thanks to Olympic gold medalist Caroline Ouellette.
When Ouellette took her first steps on the ice at the age of nine, she was the only girl on her team. Today, the same ice rink where she played as a child now bears her name.
And this year, for the first time ever, everyone on the ice for a hockey tournament is female, including the officials.
“It really became about having more girls playing hockey so that they could feel all the joy that I have felt throughout my career,” Ouellette told CTV National News.
“It means to me that young girls and young women know they can become whatever they want.”
The tournament, officially called the Caroline Ouellette Women’s Hockey Celebration, kicked off Thursday and will continue through Sunday. Girls aged 5 to 12 will have the chance to compete.
But Ouellette is not the only one with Olympic experience to put her efforts in this tournament.
After hanging up her whistle, Canadian umpire Gabrielle Ariano-Lortie is now showing new umpires the ropes, hoping they’ll dream big, like she did.
“Some people have helped me,” Ariano-Lortie said. “They have helped me a lot, so I want to give back to them, there aren’t a lot of women who do that who have gone to the Olympics or higher.”
“I want girls to come into the NHL, play and be official. “
The NHL does not have female umpires, but the American Hockey League has seen 10 women umpiring for the first time this season.
While there is much to celebrate, there is still room for improvement.
“That’s what makes me saddest about my sport, is that after these years we still don’t have a professional women’s hockey league where women can make a living playing hockey,” he said. declared Ouellette.
For now, these future stars are just doing what they love, proving they have what it takes to be in a league of their own.