MISE & Agrave; DAY
The journey of the As de Québec women's team ended in the semi-finals of the Tournoi international de hockey pee-wee de Québec on Saturday evening. The 17 pioneers can however console themselves by saying that they will go down in history by being among the first to compete for the title in the new women's category of the international competition.
< p>The Aces finally lost, by the score of 3 to 1, in front of the Lightning of Durham West, originally from Ontario. Despite the pain of the defeat, they will keep an indelible memory of their time at the Videotron Centre.
“I dreamed since I was very young of playing in the Tournoi pee-wee de Québec, explains forward Laurianne Howe. I never thought I would get there one day. It was truly an incredible experience.”
Even if she was particularly marked by her goal scored in the main enclosure of the “biggest tournament in the world”, it is the journey of her team to the semi-finals that will remain engraved in the memory of the young girl.
“I'm so happy with what we managed to do together. We showed the youngest that hockey is not just a boy's sport. The girls are good too!”
The head coach of the Aces, Isabelle Plouffe, agrees. “They can be proud. They gave their all and I told my players that they have no regrets. We came across a very strong team and they still did very well in the face of adversity.”
The hard work of the local team was greeted many times by the generous crowd at the Videotron Center during the three games it played there. Despite the unusual distractions, the hockey players reacted with great maturity, according to Isabelle Plouffe.
“At first, we felt that it distracted them to see cameras, photographers and so many people. I think they handled the pressure and the attention very well.” She also asked her flock to go and greet the supporters, after the defeat, to thank them.
More than the heartbreaking result of Saturday night, it is the fact of seeing a Quebec team tread the ice in an all-female division that will have marked the spirits. The head coach did not hide that she was envious.
“I would have liked to have had this opportunity. We were already talking about it in my day of seeing women's teams at the Pee-Wee Tournament. It's a big step forward for hockey in general.”
Mother of one of the Aces players, Bianca Dussault admits to having experienced a whole range of emotions when she saw her 13-year-old daughter, Malia Thiboutot, jumping on the Videotron Center ice rink.
“At five years old, she told us that she wanted to play for the Pee-wee when she was older, as if it was the name of a team, confides the one who is also a municipal councilor for Val-Bélair. I knew that for girls, there weren't many ways to access it before. I had goosebumps seeing it finally come to fruition.”
She is also very proud to see her daughter and her team paving the way for generations to come. “They set an example for future generations to follow,” says Ms. Dussault.