On the surface, the Montreal Carabins are identified with elite female hockey at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport level. Led by Daniele Sauvageau and France St. Louis, their positive influence has shaped the club into a perennial contender for the national championship. Perhaps an even more relevant legacy is their contributions as hockey ambassadors, providing leadership and confidence in consulting capacities with the French national women’s ice hockey team.
Testament to such a legacy is the impact that the players from the French team have brought to Les Carabins. Among them is Marion Allemoz, the first to leave her native France to suit up for the program. A fourth-year player from Chambery, France, Allemoz is majoring in Criminology.
Considering the uncertainty and risk that comes with being the first to attempt any such endeavor, Allemoz brought an admirable courage, complemented by a willingness to learn. Taking into account that she is also the captain of the French national team, the move to Montreal exemplified her leadership skills. Such elements have resulted in an improved level of play, mutually beneficial to both Les Carabins and the French national team.
“Yes, I definitely saw improvement in my game. I have absolutely picked up speed in my game. The level of play here is very different, compared to what I know in France.”
Her efforts would open the door for other women from France to follow in her footsteps. Among them were the likes of Betty Jouanny and Athena Locatelli. As a side note, French national teammate Virginie Bouetz-Andrieu has spent the last three seasons with the Montreal Stars, becoming the first player born in France to appear in the Clarkson Cup finals.
“I was the first player from France to come to Canada and play for the Carabins. Other players from the French national team followed my path here and we are all very integrated.”
During the 2014-15 season, Allemoz was one of three players (all forwards) from the French national team on the roster of Les Carabins. Joining her were third-year player Lore Baudrit (from Castres) and freshman Emmanuelle Passard from Saint-Jeoire-Prieure.
Passard would tie for Allemoz and team captain Janique Duval for sixth in team scoring with 13 points. For Allemoz, the arrival of Passard was not only the extension of the proud French legacy for Carabins hockey, but it was the opportunity to serve as a mentor for the promising forward, helping to set a positive example. Of note, Passard would score a goal for Les Carabins in the bronze medal game at the CIS Nationals, helping the squad earn a podium finish.
Of note, the contributions of the French-born players have helped to create a golden age for women’s hockey in Montreal. For half a decade, Les Carabins and their rivals, the McGill Martlets have consistently been in the Top 10 national ranks, having both carved a dynasty. Allemoz takes great pride in the opportunity to be part of such a magical time for the game,
“I came here for a higher grade of hockey. To live here has been a new experience altogether. There is a great atmosphere and the university offers great academics.”
With one year of eligibility remaining, Allemoz will be looking for a second national title. Her time in Montreal has only added to the growing importance of women’s hockey in France. With France having qualified for the 2016 IIHF Under-18 Women’s Worlds, it only adds confidence that Allemoz can reach the next stage of her hockey career.
Allemoz would lead France to a bronze medal in Group A of the 2015 IIHF Women’s World Championship Division I tournament. Hosted in Rouen, France, with all games contested at Ile Lacroix, she tied for fifth in tournament scoring with seven points. As a side note, Passard also registered seven points.
Looking to help France qualify for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, it would mark an historic first for the country. Should such an objective become reality, this milestone would equally be celebrated by Les Carabins. Their contributions in helping give the players from France a chance to improve their game in Montreal is a great triumph for the growth of international hockey.
“The chance to play in the 2018 Winter Games would be a dream come true for me. It is a goal for our national team and something that I think about a lot.”
”All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credit: Robert Skinner, La Presse