LPHF | Kori Cheverie kept her promise

Two weeks ago, Kori Cheverie gave an interview in French to 98.5 FM. A few days later, she took the microphone to speak, once again in the language of Molière, to some 3,000 fans present at the Verdun Auditorium after her team’s last home match.

“It’s a bit like when you arrive on a springboard, above a swimming pool. You have to jump because you have reached the top. In those moments, I just try to put the fear aside knowing that I’m doing my best. »

This is what the head coach explains to us when we talk to her about these moments when she spoke in public… in a language that she only started learning a few months ago.


The head coach on the ice at the Verdun Auditorium

How did she do it? This is what she took the time to explain to us on Wednesday after her team’s training at the Verdun Auditorium. Note that, in this case, the interview took place in English to help with fluidity.

At the time of her appointment as head coach, Cheverie made a promise that we have heard many times from high-ranking figures from Montreal sports teams over the years; that of learning French.

The difference is that she respected it. And quickly.

“I don’t take this lightly and I wanted to make sure that I respect the culture and the language,” says the woman whose colleagues are practically only French-speaking.

You should know that this is not the first time that the Nova Scotian has wanted to learn French. She had started taking lessons in 2021, as she began working with the national team. “It didn’t last very long because I was centralized with the team and I was very busy. I couldn’t have a regular schedule,” she tells us.


Head coach of the Montreal LPHF team, Kori Cheverie

This time, she found a way to make it happen. About twice a week since October 12, she meets her teacher – who prefers to remain anonymous – one on one for 45 minutes.

Through practices, matches and travel, Cheverie has strived, and still strives, to maintain consistency in her lessons. Even during the Women’s World Championship, when she was in another time zone for three weeks, she made sure to wake up early to devote herself to it.

“If I don’t practice it, I’m going to lose it,” she says. Its important to me. »

Effort and pleasure

We quickly understand, listening to the 36-year-old woman speak, that her French lessons are not a chore. She finds real pleasure in it. She also talks to us at length about her teacher, whom she describes as “meticulous”, “patient” and “incredible”.

“It’s a lot of work, but my classes are really fun,” she says. “Everything we do is connected to hockey. She is extremely prepared. »

During her lessons, Cheverie must, for example, play association games or mini quizzes, all related to hockey, its players or its team.

She asked people to record themselves as if they were members of the media. They ask me questions. This way I hear different people talking.

Kori Cheverie, about her French teacher

At any time, if she has a question or an interview to prepare in French, Cheverie can call her teacher. “Sometimes she picks up stories online and says, The media might ask you about this. Whatever is going on with our team, they are gearing up to help.

“She is so patient with me. She doesn’t try to force me to answer this or that way. I’m usually the one who comes up with the answer, and then she helps me add the missing words. I get stuck a lot with small words, like in “are you”. »

To practice, Cheverie sometimes listens to other people’s interviews in French. Those of Marie-Philip Poulin and Ann-Renée Desbiens, for example. “I listen to the way they answer questions,” she says.

Lead by example

Of course, after only six months, Kori Cheverie’s French is not perfect. But she can manage.

“I plan to continue because I’m still far from being good enough,” she said. (…) When I received all this press saying that I couldn’t speak French, I said to myself: you know what, I can do it. It’s not that I wanted to prove people wrong, because I do it for bigger reasons than that. It’s a matter of me caring. At the same time, I’m committed to learning it, so I want to do a good job and be good. »


Kori Cheverie with goalkeepers Ann-Renée Desbiens and Marlène Boissonnault

One thing is certain, the efforts and the will are there.

Last week, after Montreal’s last home game, the fans made their gratitude clear; when she took the microphone to address the crowd in French at center ice, she received a nice ovation.

A little later, Ann-Renée Desbiens told us that she had sent a text message to her coach after she did her interview on 98.5 FM. “I told her on behalf of all Quebecers, on behalf of my parents who do not speak English, on the part of all our supporters, that we appreciated the effort she has made in the last six months “, the goalkeeper told the media.

When we come back to this text, Cheverie smiles. “It’s nice to get a message like that because you do a lot of work behind the scenes, but no one sees you doing it. You’re not going around saying you’re taking French lessons. (…) To have an athlete who recognizes what I do off the ice, it’s pretty cool. »


Kori Cheverie (right), in the stands of the Verdun Auditorium with our journalist

For several months now, Cheverie has been slipping a sentence here and there in French to the journalists who cover the team. But in recent weeks, his outings in the language of Molière have been much more frequent. It’s also a way of leading by example in front of your players…

“If I’m brave enough to go to center ice and speak (in French) to the crowd, maybe that will encourage my players to be brave enough in other moments to sacrifice themselves for team, that they do things that are difficult to do. »

“I say phrases that I don’t realize shouldn’t be said and that don’t make sense. But I’m getting better at not taking myself too seriously. I’m laughing about it. If people want to laugh at me or laugh with me, let them do it. I’m happy because it’s difficult. Life is hard, so it’s cool to be able to achieve hard things. »

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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