Breton escorting her mom to center ice for a pregame ceremony as the Stars play for Breast Cancer (Image by Mark Staffieri)
The founder of the Montreal Stars, Lisa-Marie Breton, has seen the franchise sprout into one that is leaving its mark on the Montreal sporting scene. Having led the franchise to four Clarkson Cup final appearances (including three championships), Breton is the longest tenured captain in the CWHL.
Along with Sami Jo Small of the Toronto Furies, the two are the only remaining founders of the CWHL to continue playing. In their continuing efforts to help the league grow, their tireless work will one day bear remarkable results.
As interest in the Stars and the CWHL continues to grow, the quantum leap that the league has grown by in the last few seasons is a point of pride for the articulate Breton, “In the last two years, media coverage has grown. Our fan base has grown, and we worked hard to attract more fans. We hope to have more fans.”
“Meg Hewings and Helene Lapointe did a wonderful job. They sent press points before and after the games. By the same token, in the last two to three years, the media coverage has been a great boom for the game.”
While men’s hockey remains the top sporting event in Montreal, Breton approaches it with a grain of salt, “Of course, they have a huge fan base. Montreal is a big hockey market. Even if they could announce our games, it would help. Unfortunately, men’s hockey gets most of the media coverage.”
Next to Breton, one of the faces of the proud Stars franchise is Caroline Ouellette, a three-time Winter Games gold medalist. Like Breton, she has also appeared in the Stars' four Clarkson Cup championship matches. “Ouellette is a strong leader. She is always out there playing her best hockey. In Montreal, she is going out there and talking about the Stars. We have played together for almost 20 years. She loves the Stars and wants us to grow.”
With three competitive women’s hockey teams in Montreal at the university level (Concordia Stingers, Montreal Carabins, McGill Martlets), women’s hockey is experiencing a renaissance in the city. “Of course, women’s hockey in Montreal is pretty healthy. It is good for us, as people come from university to the Stars. It helps feed our program, and the experience of women’s hockey is great.”
Although the 2013-14 CWHL season will result in many players missing the season due to their Winter Games centralization camps, Breton is eager to see the opportunity that will present itself to new players. “With the 2013-14 year, we can see other people come out. At the universities in Montreal, there are many graduating players. It is the same thing in Ontario. It gives opportunities for other players to shine. We will want them to play.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”