Montréal hosts historic home opener in first PWHL game played in Québec

MONTREAL, QC (January 13, 2024) – Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) regular season action continues on Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. ET when Montréal hosts Boston at Verdun Auditorium for the team’s historic home opener, and first PWHL game in the province of Québec.


Canadian viewers can tune-in live on CBC and stream on CBC Gem,, and the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices. Andi Petrillo will host in-studio alongside analysts Hailey Salvian and Saroya Tinker. Live action at Verdun Auditorium will be called by David Korzeniowski on play-by-play with analyst Liz Knox and reporter Anastasia Bucsis. Fans in the United States can watch the game live on NESN and streamed on the league’s YouTube channel. French-language coverage will be on Radio-Canada and streamed on ICI TOU.TV with studio hosts Alexandre Coupal and Isabelle Leclaire. Jean St-Onge will have the play-by-play call with analyst Stéphanie Poirier and reporter Christine Roger.


Montréal (2-1-0) makes its highly anticipated home debut after opening the season with three road games where they earned five of a possible nine points. They currently rank in second place in the league’s overall standings following a 3-2 overtime win in Ottawa on January 2, a 3-0 loss in Minnesota last Saturday, and a 5-2 victory over New York on Wednesday at UBS Arena. Boston (0-1-0) returns to action for the first time since their 3-2 opening loss at home on January 3 against Minnesota. The team was scheduled to host Ottawa on Monday, but the game was postponed due to inclement weather. The result of today’s game will feature a franchise-first with either Montréal’s first-ever home win, or Boston’s first-ever victory.


The teams met during the league’s pre-season evaluation camp on December 5, 2023 in Utica, New York, in a scrimmage won 3-1 by Montréal. Ann-Sophie Bettez scored a first period goal and added an assist on Jillian Dempsey’s third period insurance marker. Dominika Lásková netted the game-winner early in the middle frame. Megan Keller picked up Boston’s only goal. Ann-Renée Desbiens earned the win between-the-pipes with 25 saves, opposite Emma Söderberg who stopped 36 shots.


Fourteen Montréal players have already registered points through the team’s first three games, highlighted by captain Marie-Philip Poulin’s hat trick performance in New York. The three goals were her first in the PWHL and the second three-goal performance of the PWHL season. Also on Wednesday, Catherine Dubois became the first reserve player to score a PWHL goal, which counted as the team’s first on the power play, and Kennedy Marchment found the back of the net for the first time. Elaine Chuli earned her first win in her first PWHL start between-the-pipes with 30 saves on Wednesday to join teammate Ann-Renée Desbiens in the win column. On January 2 in Ottawa, Claire Dalton scored the team’s historic first goal in her professional debut, Laura Stacey sniped in her first PWHL game, and Ann-Sophie Bettez recorded the league’s first overtime goal in Ottawa. Boston’s historic first goal was scored by Theresa Schafzahl, the league’s first and only Austrian player, who was making her professional debut as a 2023 graduate from the University of Vermont. Defender Megan Keller scored the team’s second goal.


The 2022-23 PWHPA schedule opened with a Montréal Showcase at Verdun Auditorium October 15-16 that included four games and all four teams earning a victory. Montréal’s Erin Ambrose and Marie-Philip Poulin scored for their respective teams, as did Boston’s Megan Keller, Hilary Knight, and Jamie Lee Rattray. A few weeks later on November 26, the venue hosted the first home game for the PHF’s Montréal Force who defeated the Metropolitan Riveters 5-3. Ann-Sophie Bettez scored the team’s first goal on home ice before a near capacity crowd that set a PHF regular-season attendance record.


Montréal fans will take great pride in welcoming their new team to the ice which will be an extra special experience for the nine players who will be introduced from Québec. The number represents more than half of the league’s 16 players from the province and includes Ann-Sophie Bettez (Sept-Îles), Gabrielle David (Drummondville), Catherine Daoust (Île Bizard), Mélodie Daoust (Valleyfield), Ann-Renée Desbiens (Clermont), Catherine Dubois (Charlesbourg), Brigitte Laganière (Montréal), Sarah Lefort (Ormstown), and captain Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville) whose name will surely get the loudest ovation.


Eleven players on Montréal’s roster have prior professional experience in the city that now calls the PWHL home. Ann-Renée Desbiens suited up for the CWHL’s Montréal Stars during the 2011-12 playoffs, Ann-Sophie Bettez compiled seven years of CWHL experience between the Stars and Canadiennes where she was teammates with Erin Ambrose, Catherine Daoust, Mélodie Daoust, Sarah Lefort, and Marie-Philip Poulin. Poulin was a three-time CWHL MVP and won two Clarkson Cup titles, including one with Bettez. The group also trained and competed with the PWHPA in Montréal and were joined by Catherine Dubois, Kristin O’Neill, and Laura Stacey. Bettez, C. Daoust, Dubois, Lefort, and Brigitte Laganière all became members of the PHF’s Montréal Force during the 2022-23 season. Additionally, before turning pro, Laganière won a U SPORTS title with Concordia. Other University Cup champions on Montréal include Bettez and M. Daoust at McGill, and Dubois at the University of Montréal. Boston’s Samantha Isbell was a member of the PWHPA and Force, and captain Hilary Knight spent two CWHL seasons playing with Les Canadiennes.


The 2024 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship wraps up Sunday in Switzerland and is an event that helped the development of many PWHL players. In 15 tournaments since its debut in 2008, the United States has won eight gold medals to Canada’s seven. A total of 17 players on today’s rosters have won U18 gold including Montréal’s Madison Bizal (2018) most recently with Team USA, and fellow Americans Maureen Murphy (2017) and Jillian Dempsey (2009). For Canada, Catherine Daoust (2013), Catherine Dubois (2013, 2012), Erin Ambrose (2012, 2010), Elaine Chuli (2012), Sarah Lefort (2012), Laura Stacey (2012), and Mélodie Daoust (2010) were all crowned champions. For Boston, Emily Brown (2016), Sammy Davis (2015), Hannah Brandt (2011), Shiann Darkangelo (2011), and Amanda Pelkey (2011, 2009) all won for the United States, with Jess Healey (2014) and Jamie Lee Rattray (2010) winning for Canada. Coaches Kori Cheverie and Courtney Kessel worked together as assistants behind the bench for Canada’s gold medal win in 2019.


Boston (1/4) has the league’s best power play efficiency, while Montréal (1/9) ranks fourth…Boston (1/1) has not allowed a power play goal against, while Montréal (12/14) ranks fifth in penalty kill efficiency…Four of Montréal’s eight goals have been scored in the third period…Boston leads the PWHL with an average of 35 shots per game…Montréal leads the PWHL with 28 PIM and Boston has the fewest with 2 PIM…Montréal’s Marie-Philip Poulin is tied for the PWHL lead with 4 PTS…Montréal’s Tereza Vanišová is tied for first in the PWHL with 3A…Poulin and Kati Tabin are tied for second with +4 ratings…Poulin and Sarah Lefort lead Montréal with nine shots…Loren Gabel leads Boston with six shots…Poulin leads the PWHL with 70 face-offs and has a 57.1% win percentage…Alina Müller led Boston’s opener with 25 face-offs and won 15, with Jamie Lee Rattray winning at an efficiency rate of 73.3%… Montréal’s Sarah Bujold and Boston’s Amanda Pelkey both competed for the PHF’s Riveters against the Force at Verdun Auditorium last season… Mélodie Daoust celebrated her 32nd birthday on January 7…Historic Montréal and Boston rivalry in the NHL includes 759 all-time meetings including 364 won by the Canadiens…Bruins have played Canadiens more than any opponent in team history.



Bettez | Poulin | Murphy
Vanišová | O’Neill | Stacey
Lefort | Dempsey | Marchment
Dubois | Bujold | Dalton

Tabin | Ambrose
Keopple | Lásková
Bizal | Daoust

Desbiens | Chuli


 Knight | Müller | Shirley
Schafzahl | Brandt | Rattray
Gabel | Darkangelo | Pelkey
Girard | Marvin | Kosta

Keller | Jaques
Morin | DiGirolamo
Brown | Fratkin

Frankel | Söderberg


Referees: Marie-Ève Couture (Longueuil, QC) and Lacey Senuk (Toronto, ON).

Linespersons: Jessica Chartrand (Gatineau, QC) and Shawn Oliver (Ottawa, ON).

Follow the league on all social media platforms @thepwhlofficial plus team accounts @pwhl_boston and @pwhl_montreal.