The second-seeded Montreal Canadiennes, of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) , defeated the top team in the league Sunday at the Dollard-des-Ormeaux Civic Centre.
The Canadiennes took on the Calgary Inferno and cruised to a 4-1 victory.
The Canadiennes, who normally play their home games at the Étienne-Desmarteau Arena in Rosemont, played back-to-back community outreach games this weekend against the Inferno, having played at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Saturday.
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The aim of the visits is to boost the team’s and the league’s profile, according to CWHL co-founder and Canadiennes assistant coach Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux.
“Ten years ago, we started with 80 fans in the stands. Now we have sometimes a 1,000 or more,” Breton-Lebreux said.
READ MORE: Les Canadiennes de Montreal win first ever professional game to be played at Bell Centre
And while the Canadiennes are seeing a growing fan base, the players are still not paid.
“That’s where we’re going to need the Montreal community and Canadian community to come out and for businesses to invest in our product,” Breton-Lebreux said.
Since the players are not paid a salary, they have to work full-time jobs while going to practices as late 9 p.m.
Since the league’s inaugural season, Breton-Lebreux, said the caliber of players has improved drastically, pointing out that Saturday’s game against the Inferno at the Bell Sports Complex was one the best she has seen, despite the 5-4 overtime loss.
But there’s still room for growth, according to Breton-Lebreux.
If the league could afford to pay the players a salary, they would be able to dedicate more time to training.
“The girls playing for Les Canadiennes are here because they love hockey,” Breton-Lebreux said. “Even though they aren’t paid for it, they are still here because they can compete at the highest level and it’s emotionally rewarding.”
Despite Sunday’s win, the Canadiennes, remain in second place behind the Inferno by two points.