Quebec’s all-girls hockey team wins first game at International Pee-Wee tourney
The only all-girls hockey team celebrated their first win Thursday night in the 2017 International Peewee Hockey Tournament in Quebec City. They scored 3 to 0 against the Calgary Jr. Flames.
The Étoiles lost their first game at the Centre Videotron, but play again Friday afternoon. If they win that match, they will go onto the B semi-finals.
There’s a lot of pressure: it’s only their second year in the 58-year history of the tournament.
“It feels so good,” said Samantha Morello.
The 13-year old Beaconsfield resident has been playing hockey since she was seven. She’s one of 19 players on this all-girl all-star team selected from across the province.
She hopes Thursday’s win will set an example for young girls in hockey — just like her role models have been an example for her.
“I want to stay in hockey, but if it doesn’t work out somehow I might want to become a doctor or a lawyer,” she said.
Sound familiar? Hayley Wickenheiser recently retired to go to medical school. Another idol is head coach and four-time Olympic gold medalist, Caroline Ouellette who formed the Quebec pee-wee girls team last year.
“We’d like to earn the right to come back every year, so we know we have to perform well, carry ourselves well, earn that privilege,” Ouellette said.
So there’s a lot riding on these girls, who normally play on mixed teams.
“Well it’s definitely more physical with the boys,” explained player Zoé Shaw.
“The girls pass a lot more. They move the puck really well, I find.”
Even though there’s no contact at the pee-wee level, the girls can play a physical game of their own.
“They go body on body. They’re not afraid of anyone,” Ouellette said.
The team has only been playing together for a couple weeks. The team captain is the only returning player from last year.
“When you’re a team of girls and we win, we’re even more confident, we become stronger,” said Verdun resident Noémie Rivest.
“There’s more scrutiny. There’s more people watching us, but that also comes when people are proud to watch the girls. People call us the girls play the boys and I think it brings a big hype,” Ouellette said.
That’s one of the reasons why the team with ponytails are so well-embraced at this tournament.
“I guess we like to show we’re girls, you know. We’re not afraid,” Shaw said.
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