It’s the hottest ticket in town. Montreal’s new Professional Women’s Hockey League team is getting set its home opener at the Verdun auditorium.
The Saturday game promises to be a historic show like no other.
The DeLong family drove nine hours from New Brunswick just to catch a glimpse of the team.
Montreal’s upcoming game sold out online in a matter of minutes and they couldn’t scoop up any tickets.
“We said, ‘You know what? We’re going to drive over here, it’s so important to us,’” said Jeff DeLong.
It’s important because his teenage daughter Madelyn plays hockey. A chance to see some of her favourite players on the ice is something she wouldn’t miss for the world.
“It’s awesome! I used to watch all the Canadiennes games, especially in the Olympics. I’d wake up in the middle of the night,” Madelyn said enthusiastically. “I was always dreaming that something like this league would happen because, of course, I wanna play in it!”
At Madelyn’s age, that wasn’t an option for any of the team’s players. So for them too, it’s a dream come true.
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“Ahh, honestly sometimes I have no words,” said centre Gabrielle David. “I feel like it’s just a feeling that I feel on the ice.”
Montreal has been on the road for a few days now, breaking ice ceilings along the way.
The game between Minnesota and Montreal on January 6th set an attendance record for the most-watched professional women’s hockey game, with 13,316 people packing the Xcel Energy Center.
In Verdun, the arena only seats a little over 4,000 people. But the game will be extra special. Most of the faces in the stands, will be familiar ones for those on the ice, although the demand among some families was a little hard to handle.
“I took care of 60 of them and the rest I was like ‘please figure it out cause it’s a little too much’,” said goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens with a cheeky laugh. “Section 104 might be a little loud.”
The Delongs will be in the stands too. Not only did they manage to get tickets at the door, but one of Madelyn’s dreams came true. She met team captain Marie-Philip Poulin.
“She was crying, she was so happy to be here to watch us practice,” Poulin said. “It’s more than just watching us, I think being a role model as well. When those little girls can see one of us, that they can be one of us, it’s something that’s remarkable. For us, we don’t take it lightly.”
A moment sure to be etched in the DeLong family history – and in the team’s home opener.
The puck drops at 3:30 p.m. at the Verdun auditorium.
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