Women's Professional Hockey League (LPHF) players aren't the only ones making history this winter. In fact, Claudine Duville, André-Anne Barbeau, Isabelle Leclerc, Stéphanie Poirier, Karel Aimard, Emilie Duquette, and field journalist Catherine Savoie make Network Sports (RDS) history by forming the first all-female team with an athlete description. League.
For many years, the RDS has brought together communications officials to describe the Women's Hockey World Series. On March 7, 2008, during Senior Hockey Week, the network also celebrated International Women's Rights Day by pairing Claudine Deauville, Danielle Sauvageau, Hélène Pelletier and France Saint-Louis during a game between New Jersey and Tampa Bay.
However, never before has an entire season been covered by women. “It's a great coup,” said Claudine Deauville. There was a desire in the RDS to include only women. Why ? I would say maybe three centuries too late to catch up. »
Andre-Anne Barbeau specifies that skills take precedence, emphasizing that Claudine is an authority who has covered women's hockey for 20 years, that Isabelle Leclair is the Carabins' head coach and that her assistant Stephanie Poirier plays internationally.
She adds that Karel Eimard is a former player who participated in drafting the collective agreement for the new league, that Emily Duckett is an excellent TV presenter and that she herself has been covering hockey for 17 years.
It's great to be six women [dans l’équipe de diffusion]but in terms of baggage, I think you'd have to be really dishonest to say that someone is on this team just because she's a woman.
Andre Anne Barbeau
The world is changing
He has come a long way since Barbot was banned from playing his favorite sport during his early years. “I wanted to play hockey, but when I asked my mother, she was told girls only played field hockey,” she recalls.
However, the host realized she could make a place for herself in the hockey world by seeing Canadian women excel at the Olympics in Salt Lake City. “I started my career in media in men's hockey, but when I saw the beginnings of the LPHF, I told my bosses that I wanted to be part of this adventure.”
After the failure of several women's leagues, Claudine Deauville was surprised by the rapid establishment of the Lebanese Football Association. “I was in a bit of shock. The moment you know it's coming, you believe in it and start preparing, but when it started, excitement took over. I understood that it was a historic moment.”
During Montreal's first game, on January 2, her teammate was overcome with emotion as well. “It's been a long time since I've had a high fever before a hockey game,” says André-Anne Barbeau. I felt like I was experiencing something important. »
But how do they prepare to cover a league that didn't exist a few months ago? The answer: hours and hours of preparation. “I take the players one by one to find as much information about them as possible, because it is still a challenge to find data about women's hockey, which is less documented than the NHL, the Major League, or the American League,” he explains. Barbu.
With decades of experience, Deauville is not afraid to have six teams to tame, as she has to talk about 32 teams in every FIFA World Cup tournament. For her, the challenge is to find identity in every training. “We will discover their strengths, identify problems between teams and follow the rankings over the course of an entire season. It is very exciting! »
Time will necessarily do its job. “It's just the beginning, and the level is already good,” says Barbeau. Gradually, the girls will learn to play together, the teams will get into position and it will be better. »
When asked if they had a better understanding of some of the issues specific to female athletes, because they are women themselves, Claudine Deauville answered that her work does not differ between male and female athletes.
André-Anne Barbeau is sensitive in some ways, such as suggesting that players are entitled to maternity leave. “I was happy about that, but I said, ‘Oh my God, in 2023, to be happy about that.’ I don’t know if it’s sad or happy.” “My male colleagues might say the same thing, but we are sensitive as women, because the work-life balance comes to us. »
His teammate catches the ball. “I had three children and I kept working all the time. So maybe I understand them more.” Then she thinks they are also used to developing in a mainly male environment. “We can understand girls’ struggle to carve out a place for themselves in a man’s world and be proud of their achievements. »
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