The October 5 exhibition match featuring the McGill Martlets and Montreal Stars carried a very emotional tone for many of the new faces on the Stars roster. Charline Labonte, Cathy Chartrand and Ann-Sophie Bettez are three of the greatest players to have suited up for the Martlets. This season, all three are “rookies” on the Stars, and Labonte and Bettez were in action for the contest versus their alma mater.
Having stood between the pipes in the second and third periods for the Stars, Labonte felt it was very different to not be on the McGill side. “It was really weird. Just to walk on, you are used to being on the right. To go to the visitors’ room, and be on the other side was different. It is a transitional phase to go through,” mentioned Labonte.
Montreal’s roster also boasts several other McGill alumni, Alyssa Cecere, Carly Dupont-Hill, Catherine Ward, Vanessa (Vinny) Davidson and Kim St. Pierre, respectively. Ann-Sophie Bettez played on a line with Davidson for several years at McGill. “We always had good chemistry. It is great to play with her again. I do not know if we will be on a line throughout the year, but she is a great player with a good vision,” stated Bettez. Former Martlets captain Cathy Chartrand added, “I played with Vanessa for three years at McGill and I’m looking forward to playing with Vanessa as well as the handful of other Stars that were once Martlets.“
A connection of the McGill alumni is evident on the Stars roster. “Peter Smith (McGill head coach) has a set of values that the team really believes in. With the Stars, it is nice to see that veterans (and McGill alums) like Cecere, Carly and Vinny still have those similar values,” stated Labonte. She is happy to be reunited with former teammates such as Cecere and Davidson again: “Definitely. We were good friends right away at McGill. They are good people to hang around with.”
Clarkson Cup champion Alyssa Cecere is happy to be reunited with the three rookies from McGill. “Of course. They are awesome players. They did a lot at McGill and will bring a lot to the Stars. It will be fun.” Cecere added, “I think they bring a lot to this team. They have a lot of potential and are great.”
Having played for both Peter Smith and Patrick Rankine, Cecere sees a lot of similarities. “They see a lot of potential in their players. Both bring a sense of unity to the team. Just playing for both of them, I learned a lot.”
With the 2012-13 Stars roster possibly being the finest in women’s hockey history, Cathy Chartrand is looking forward to what the future holds. “I’m very excited for the upcoming season. The talent level on our team is very high, and the league is getting stronger and stronger each year. I’m lucky to be able to continue on with my hockey career for another season and I know we are going to have a lot of fun on this team.”
“I have a great friendship with both Charlie (Labonte) and Annso (Bettez). To be able to continue on with them into the CWHL will be a lot of fun,” said Chartrand. “It is always a pleasure moving onto a new step with some familiar faces. We’ll even be playing against another graduate from our year as well!” Said graduate will be Jordanna Peroff, drafted by the Toronto Furies.
For Chartrand and Labonte, they may be classified as CWHL rookies, but both bring experience from the former National Women’s Hockey League. “We played for the Montreal Axion (pronounced Action) seven years ago. We kind of know what to expect,” said Labonte. In 2000-01, Labonte also played for the NWHL’s Laval Le Mistral in their only season. She would also play for the Montreal Wingstar. “We are kind of rookies, but we are amazing rookies. We bring experience and leadership. It is nice to have some familiar faces.”
All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated