First all-Canadian matchup in PWHL history
OTTAWA, ON (January 2, 2024) – Opening week of the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) season continues Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. ET in Canada’s capital city where Ottawa hosts Montreal at The Arena at TD Place.
WHERE TO WATCH
Canadian viewers can tune-in live on TSN1, TSN4, TSN5, TSN.ca, and the TSN app, with Daniella Ponticelli calling play-by-play alongside analyst Becky Kellar. French coverage can be seen live on RDS2 with host Andrée-Anne Barbeau, desk analyst Karell Émard, Claudine Douville on play-by-play, and Isabelle Leclaire providing colour commentary. Fans in the United States can stream live on the league’s YouTube channel.
Tonight’s game expects the largest crowd ever for a women’s professional ice hockey game. The projected attendance of more than 8,000 will surpass the 7,765 recorded for the championship game of the 2021-22 SDHL season between Brynäs and Luleå. The current North American record for a professional women’s hockey regular season game is 5,938, established December 10, 2016 when the CWHL’s Canadiennes hosted the Calgary Inferno at Montreal’s Bell Centre.
WOMEN’S HOCKEY HIGHLIGHTS AT TD PLACE
Hockey fans in the Ottawa-Gatineau region have always supported the best women’s hockey players in the game, including November 23, 2021 when a sold-out crowd at TD Place watched the United States National Women’s Team defeat Canada in Rivalry Series competition. The venue also hosted the first ever IIHF Women’s World Championship back in 1990 that culminated with a 5-2 victory for Canada in the gold medal game over the United States before a reported crowd of nearly 9,000 people.
A MEMORABLE OPENING GAME
“The pressure will be on,” Laurie Boschman said recently when he met with PWHL Ottawa captains. Boschman, the first captain in the modern history of the Ottawa Senators, told them about another memorable night of hockey on Bank Street. On October 8, 1992, the Senators hosted the Montreal Canadiens in their very first National Hockey League game. That night, the expansion team pulled off a surprise 5-3 victory. Forward Neil Brady scored Ottawa’s first goal in the very first minute of play. He was able to beat future Hall of Famer Patrick Roy. A few months later, the Canadiens had the last word, winning the Stanley Cup for the 24th time in their history. The Senators won just 10 games during their inaugural season.
On December 29, Brianne Jenner officially became the first-ever captain of PWHL Ottawa, with an announcement made prior to the Ottawa Senators game where she and alternates Emily Clark and defender Jincy Roese performed the ceremonial face-off. The same day, Marie-Philip Poulin was appointed Montreal’s captain with a special jersey reveal during a Cirque du Soleil performance at Bell Centre. The team’s alternates are Erin Ambrose and Laura Stacey. Jenner and Poulin are among the most decorated members of Canada’s National Women’s Team with a combined 27 medals across Olympics and IIHF Women’s World Championships.
The league’s first all-Canadian matchup will have 25 players hit the ice in their home country including nine for Ottawa and 16 with Montreal. A total of 33 Canadian players are listed across both team rosters. Ottawa goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer has among the strongest ties to the area through her mother, Christine Sarazin, who was born across the Ottawa river in Quebec. She spent her childhood and part of her teenage years in the Outaouais region before moving to Alberta. “I’ve always considered the Ottawa region to be a bit like my third home,” she says. It was also a homecoming of sorts for Ottawa General Manager Mike Hirshfeld, who spent a few summers in Ottawa in the 1990s while working in professional baseball with the AAA Lynx.
Players across the PWHL represent 12 different countries, including a league-leading six on Ottawa. Perhaps most intriguing is Japanese forward Akane Shiga who is the league’s youngest player at 22-years and will make her North American professional debut tonight. Canada’s Ambassador to Japan, Ian G. McKay, will be in attendance to watch Shiga play. Internationally, there is also German goaltender Sandra Abstreiter, Hungarian forward Fanni Garát-Gasparics, and Czechs Katerina Mrázová and Aneta Tejralová, who both compete with head coach Carla MacLeod on the National Team program. They’ll see some familiar faces on the opposite side, with fellow Czechia natives Dominika Lásková and Tereza Vanišová suiting up for Montreal. “Our diversity is a strength,” says MacLeod.
WELCOME TO THE PROS
The league has a total of 33 players beginning their pro careers after graduating from collegiate programs in 2023. Tuesday’s game may include nine of them, including Ottawa’s Sandra Abstreiter (Providence), Lexie Adzija (Quinnipiac), Zoe Boyd (Quinnipiac), Kristin Della Rovere (Harvard), and Gabbie Hughes (Minnesota-Duluth). For Montreal, look for Claire Dalton (Yale), Gabrielle David (Clarkson), Mariah Keopple (Princeton), and Maureen Murphy (Northeastern) to try and make an immediate impact at the next level.
Officials working tonight’s game include linesperson Jessica Chartrand who hails from Gatineau. She’ll work alongside Anthony Lapointe (Lachine, QC), and referees Elizabeth Mantha (Longueuil, QC) and Liam Maaskant (London, ON)…tonight’s ceremonial face-off will be performed by Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and women’s hockey pioneer Shelley Coolidge…Fans in attendance will enjoy an immersive lighting experience courtesy of PixMob, rally towels, and chances to win prizes from Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, and Air Canada.
Jenner | Scamurra | Gilmore
Clark | Hughes | Grant-Mentis
Watts | Mrázová | Shiga
Gasparics | Della-Rovere | Adzija
Boyd | Bell
Harmon | Boulier
Tejralová | Roese
Vanišová | Poulin | Murphy
Bettez | O’Neill | Stacey
Lefort | Bujold | David
Dalton | Dempsey | Marchment
Tabin | Ambrose
Laganière | Lásková
Lum | DaoustKeopple