This observation on the state of women’s hockey in Quebec came from Team Canada goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens on Saturday afternoon. Passing through the Tournoi pee-wee de Québec, the athlete from La Malbaie and her teammates Marie-Philip Poulin and Mélodie Daoust were expected by hundreds of fans who wanted to get an autograph and a photo with the hockey players.

A few months after a Canada-United States Olympic final that attracted record ratings, young hockey players paraded with stars in their eyes in front of the gold medalists, at the Videotron Centre. No doubt, women’s hockey has the wind in its sails.

Some supporters even had gifts to give to Marie-Philip Poulin, Saturday afternoon, at the Videotron Center.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Guillaume Piedboeuf

However, a few minutes earlier in front of the journalists, the three Quebecers of the national team were far from declaring victory. Between the surprise dismantling of the women’s hockey program at Cégep Saint-Laurent, in Montreal, and this new women’s professional league that is still waiting, the players sometimes have the impression of stepping back when they should be moving forward, admitted Desbiens.

We are working very hard to create something that will last, but there is still a lot of progress to be made. We see it with Cégep Saint-Laurentshe noted, on Saturday.

At his side, his teammate Mélodie Daoust abounded in the same direction. When you look at why the Saint-Laurent program was put on the ground, it’s frustrating. It’s the leaders who make sure it won’t workexplains the one who recently took the lead of a new women’s hockey program at Collège Bourget, in Rigaud.

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The importance of a new professional league

For the Team Canada players, it’s a reminder that the long process they’ve embarked on to create a worthy women’s professional league is well worth it. If they manage to give their sport the expected visibility, the impact will be felt at all levels.

Desbiens poses with his medal alongside a woman with her vest

Originally from La Malbaie, Ann-Renée Desbiens was happy to pose with the fans on Saturday afternoon at the Tournoi pee-wee de Québec.

Photo: Jonathan Roy

We are the best women’s hockey players in the world, all together. We have good people behind us. Yeah, it takes a long time, but great things take timereassures Marie-Philip Poulin, about the North American circuit which could see the light of day in January 2023, almost four years after the fall of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

We are about 150 players who have been sitting for two years now. We try to put our foot down to get not only what we deserve, but what the next generation deservesadds Mélodie Daoust.

Towards a feminine category?

A next generation is well represented at the Tournoi pee-wee de Québec where the all-star female team led by Caroline Ouellette finally lost its flag in the quarter-finals, Saturday night, in the BB category.

The formation bringing together the best players in the province has been participating in the tournament since 2016 and could pave the way for an exclusively female category. An idea that already has the support of Marie-Philip Poulin and Ann-Renée Desbiens, themselves past the tournament as a player in 2004 and 2006 in the men’s teams of Beauce-Amiantes and Charlevoix.

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It is at the Pee-wee Tournament that the dream begins. Coming back here to see the young people and being able to share our passion is super exciting.rejoiced Poulin a few minutes after performing a ceremonial face-off at the Videotron Center on Saturday.

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