Milestone game for CWHL co-founder Liz Breton as she earns 100th point of her storied Stars career

Having logged career point 99 before the holiday break, Montreal Stars fans eagerly awaited with anticipation as to when Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux would hit the magical century mark. The historic moment would come on January 11 at Arena St. Louis as the Stars continued to extend their stranglehold on first place in the CWHL standings.

With the remarkable rookie crop this season, the opportunities for history during this season seem limitless. For one magical moment in time, a remarkable veteran left her mark on January 11. Fans at Arena St. Louis were treated to a historic game as Breton-Lebreux contributed a goal in a 4-1 victory.

In action against the Brampton Thunder (Photo credit: Marc St. Pierre)

In action against the Brampton Thunder (Photo credit: Marc St. Pierre)

Emmanuelle Blais would open the scoring in the first period as she slipped the puck past Brampton backstop Sonja van der Bliek. Although it would be the only goal of the period, van der Bliek was tested often as she faced 14 shots and four Montreal power plays.

Simply 56 seconds into the second stanza, Ann-Sophie Bettez would add to the Stars lead. Of note, she has scored in every Stars contest since the season began. Blais and Vanessa (Vinny Davidson) would earn the helpers. Although Brampton would be on the penalty kill three times in the stanza, the red and black had managed to keep Breton-Lebreux off the scoreboard.

As the third period opened with Lindsay Vine serving a holding penalty, the Stars would capitalize through one of the most exciting goals of the season. Scoring at the 39 second mark, Breton-Lebreux logged the goal that would see her reach the magical century mark in her storied career. Earning the assists on the historic marker were Sara Dagenais and Carly Hill. To a roar of approval from the fans in attendance, it was a moment of validation, proving that Breton’s efforts in helping to launch the franchise and the league had yielded ground breaking results.

Despite the fact that Brampton would spoil the moment ten seconds later as Sarah Moe snapped Catherine Herron’s bid for a shutout, Montreal was not going to relinquish their lead. Before the period would expire, Blais would contribute her second goal and third point of the game.

With one of the assists credited to Cathy Chartrand, it symbolized a true passing of the torch. As Breton-Lebreux was the first captain in Stars history, and the longest serving in CWHL history, she had selected Chartrand to succeed her as captain prior to the beginning of this season.

For fans of the Montreal Stars, making history has been a predominant theme in Breton-Lebreux’s Hall of Fame worthy career. As the CWHL co-founder and first captain to claim the Clarkson Cup, she has proven to be a remarkable modern day builder for the sport in Montreal.

Along with the remarkable contributions of former coach Patrick Rankine, Breton-Lebreux has transformed the Montreal Stars into the world’s greatest women’s hockey team. With a renaissance of women’s hockey at the university level in Montreal, it has marked a golden era in the game for the hockey mad city and a legacy complemented by Breton’s tireless efforts.

Two-sport star athletes a defining feature for growing CWHL

One of the unique aspects about the CWHL is the fact that many of its players come from various athletic backgrounds. While there is no question that the character and dedication that composes the make-up among the competitors of the CWHL is essential for any athlete, the budding league has definitely seen its players excel in a diverse number of sports.

CWHL co-founders Sami Jo Small and Jennifer Botterill lead the way. Small competed in track and field meets at the Pac-10 level for the famed Stanford University in California. While growing up in Winnipeg, Botterill had an opportunity to try out for the Canadian national junior basketball team in 1996. Luckily for hockey fans, she traded in her sneakers for skates.

The game of softball is no stranger to some of the women in the CWHL. Noemie Marin and Sommer West both competed in the Summer Games with the Canadian national Softball Team. West was part of the Canadian contingent that competed at Sydney 2000. Later that year, West was also a member of the Canadian National Women’s Hockey Team. Marin was the only player from Quebec that was part of Canada’s roster for the 2008 Beijing Summer Games. In later years, she would set the CWHL record for most points in one game with ten.

Marin high-fiving a teammate at the Beijing Summer Games (Image by: Clive Rose/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Marin high-fiving a teammate at the Beijing Summer Games (Image by: Clive Rose/Getty Images AsiaPac)

In addition to Noemie Marin, the Montreal Stars have a handful of athletes with very impressive athletic credentials. Stars goaltender Kim St. Pierre (the winningest goalie in IIHF history) was once a promising soccer star. Her teammate, Emmanuelle Blais competes in the Cross Fit circuit, while Carolyne Prevost has a black belt in taek won do, once competing at the provincial level in Ontario.

Another Stars competitor, Dominique Thibault is the 2013 world champion in Red Bull Crashed Ice. Having competed in the inaugural Red Bull women’s championships in 2012, Thibault had the fastest time in the qualifier. Ironically, Fannie Desforges, a Montreal Stars draft pick in 2012 would go on to capture the 2012 title. Thibault’s presence is not only breaking ground in the nascent sport, but providing another avenue for women’s hockey players past and present.

Thibault (centre) and Desforges (right) at the 2013 Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championships (Photo credit: Patrick Garant)

Thibault (centre) and Desforges (right) at the 2013 Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championships (Photo credit: Patrick Garant)

One of the league’s most promising stars, Vicki Bendus of the Brampton Thunder was a competitive golfer at Mercyhurst College. While she also won the 2010 Patty Kazmaier Award with Mercyhurst’s hockey program, gracing the fairways and putting greens established Bendus as a year-round competitive athlete for her school.

CWHL veteran defender Amber Bowman is a world champion in her second sport of choice. Competing in the World Firefighting Combat Challenge, Bowman not only claimed three world titles in 2012, but set several new records. Breaking new ground is nothing new for Bowman. One of the first female firefighters in her region, Bowman is a role model hero that exemplifies character.

Image obtained from: http://about.me/amber_bowman

Image obtained from: http://about.me/amber_bowman

Of all the sports that the women of the CWHL have competed in, none may be as unique as 2013 CWHL Draft pick Julie Paetsch. Selected in the tenth round by the Alberta Hockey Club, the native of Lanigan, Saskatchewan is the first draft prospect in the league’s history to have competed in women’s tackle football. While playing hockey at the University of Saskatchewan, she would add tackle football to her athletic endeavors. A two-time silver medalist for Canada at the IFAF Women’s World Tackle Football Championships, she is also a three-time WWCFL champion with the Saskatoon Valkyries.

Paetsch being represented as Canada's player of the game in the gold medal game of the 2013 IFAF Women's Worlds (Image obtained from Facebook)

Paetsch being represented as Canada’s player of the game in the gold medal game of the 2013 IFAF Women’s Worlds (Image obtained from Facebook)

While two-sport stars tend to be more common in the realm of men’s sports (Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders defined a generation by playing pro football and baseball), it is equally important to recognize the role that women have played. Following in the footsteps of legendary Canadian female two-sport stars such as Cindy Klassen (who once played hockey for the Canadian Under-22 team) and Clara Hughes, the two-sport stars of the CWHL are carrying the torch and continuing to forge a legacy upon which the next generation of female athletes can reach for.