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Lefort is a Force in professional hockey

Ormstown’s Sarah Lefort took to the ice on November 5 for the season opener of Montreal’s new women’s professional hockey team in the Premier Hockey League. As one of two assistant captains named for the Montreal Force, Lefort says she is having a lot of fun and is happy to be back playing in Montreal.

“It is by far one of the best hockey cities,” she says, explaining there is an intensity to the fans in Montreal. “It’s just part of the culture here, and some of that carries over into the women’s game.” She adds that they are already starting to see a fan base starting to return following the 2019 collapse of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and the dissolution of Lefort’s previous team, the Montreal Canadiennes.

 

Sarah Lefort is currently an assistant captain with Montreal’s new professional women’s hockey team, the Force. PHOTO Courtesy of the Montreal Force

 

Lefort says she and her teammates are looking forward to getting people back to the rink and excited about women’s hockey. The inaugural season for the Force will be played almost entirely on the road, with 23 of 24 “home” games taking place in arenas throughout the province to make the game more accessible. The closest game for Valley fans will take place on November 26 at the Verdun Auditorium.

Lefort says the Premier Hockey League is a step in the right direction for women’s hockey. The salary cap has been raised and there is a set schedule of games. “We have always played hockey because we love it, but now it’s the first time that we are playing professionally,” she says. Many players still work other jobs, but “We are getting compensated for the minimum 20-25 hours we put in per week.”

Lefort has been playing hockey since she was four years old, first in Huntingdon, and then in Valleyfield. She went on to play for Boston University before being drafted eighth overall in 2015 by the Buffalo Beauts. She played for the Montreal Canadiennes from 2016 to 2019 before joining the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association. She says she has always appreciated being part of a team. “We are there for each other, and that is an awesome aspect to life.”

As far as pushing for better recognition for women’s sports and leagues, Lefort says she is confident it will happen at some point. “For many that I have played with, this is what they were hoping for. We are just lucky to be a part of it,” she explains, suggesting they are laying the foundation for something that will only continue to grow.

 

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