During the 2012-2013 season, Kim Deschênes captained the Université de Montréal to its first-ever CIS women’s hockey championship. This year, she was second in scoring on a team that came within one victory of defending its title. As Deschênes closes the book on her five-year university career, she thinks back to her Midget team’s time at the Esso Cup.
ESSO CUP HISTORY
In Calgary, Alta., in 2009, the Northern Stars finished fifth at the inaugural Esso Cup. Deschênes recorded three assists in four games and was named the Atlantic team’s Player of the Game in its final preliminary round game against the Edmonton Thunder.
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT, ON ICE
The level of competition was a step up from what the Stars had faced up till then. Having only travelled around Atlantic Canada during the regular season, Northern came to Calgary not knowing what teams from the rest of the country brought to the rink. “I don’t think we were ready for the level of competition,” Deschênes says now. Having won its province and region, Deschênes says the team felt the season had been a success. While the results in Calgary were disappointing – the team went 0-4 – the team did get to show its skills to members of Canada’s National Women’s Team coaching staff. “To know that Team Canada was watching us play – and maybe we could get invited to the national program – was a big thing.”
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT, OFF ICE
Carla MacLeod, then a member of Canada’s National Women’s Team, visited the Stars dressing room before their first game. “I remember her telling us to just enjoy ourselves and have fun,” says Deschênes. “She encouraged us to play to win and respect every team.” Deschênes says it was a big deal for a team from a small city in New Brunswick to hear from such an accomplished player.
PLAYING AT NATIONALS
“In 2007 and 2008 I went to the National Women’s Under-18 Championship with Atlantic, but the Esso Cup was a big thing because I had played with the Stars the entire year,” Deschênes says. Being the first team from the East Coast to play at the Esso Cup meant something to the players. The magnitude of the event was driven home just with how the team had to get there. “When you’re flying to go play, you know it’s a big tournament,” she says.