Becoming the first player in the history of the Montreal Force to win a major award in the PHF, the achievement propels forward Laura Jardin into a place of prominence in franchise lore. Among seven sensational women, one from each franchise, recognized with the league’s Foundation Award, the prestige stands as a tribute to her work ethic, and tireless efforts in giving back to the community.
The revelation of the Award win, in recognition of an active player whose efforts expand and refine hockey culture, bringing values such as teamwork and respect to the community, proved highly rewarding yet equally humbling for the jubilant Jardin. With team President Kevin Raphael graciously giving her the news, the admirable gesture demonstrated another example of his efforts to build a first class organization. Feeling a tremendous gratitude, Jardin, part of the expansion club’s rookie crop in 2022-23, a glowing respect for teammates encompassed her jubilant thoughts.
“My heart actually skipped a beat, I was actually in the grocery store with my best friend when Kevin, the Force president, called me to notify me about the nomination. Being the youngest player on my team this year, I was surprised but grateful to receive this award, especially amongst the other impactful players on our team this past year. It was a thrill to receive the Foundation Award and I am thankful to have earned the honour.”
Originally from Calgary, Jardin has found a tremendous niche in Montreal. Having also skated for the iconic McGill Martlets, majoring in Agricultural and Environmental Studies, the 2020 RSEQ postseason tournament title, along with three appearance at the USports Nationals (2019, 2020, 2022) marked significant highlights. Worth noting, Jardin was among several Albertans on the Martlets roster during her time there, including forward Lauren Bowman, Elizabeth Mura, who won a gold medal with Canada at the 2023 Winter Universiade, Red Deer’s Stephanie Keeper and goaltender Sophie Lajeunesse.
Heading into her rookie season of pro hockey, the opportunity to wear the paraphernalia of the Force provided a special feeling of reunion. From the outset, Force bench boss Peter Smith enjoyed a legendary career in the same capacity at McGill. Having played in Smith’s final season as head coach at McGill, the opportunity to be part of his first season coaching at the professional ranks provided a sense of serendipity.
Former Brodrick Trophy winner Katia Clement-Heydra, one of the Martlets all-time greats, also played professionally for the now defunct Montreal Stars/Canadiennes franchise. During Hardin’s final season at McGill, Alyssa Cecere inherited head coaching duties. Akin to Clement-Heydra, her hockey resume also included several years at the professional ranks with the Stars, adding another unique coincidence to Jardin’s sojourn as a member of the Force.
Adding to the incredible legacy of Martlets alumnae continuing their careers beyond graduation, Jardin appeared in 20 regular season games. Enjoying her professional debut on November 5, 2022 versus the Buffalo Beauts, she contributed by winning seven faceoffs in a 5-4 shootout win.
Before the first half of the season expired, Jardin enjoyed the jubliation of her first point with the franchise. Taking place at Arena Conrad Parent in Sept-Iles, part of the Force’s tour of La Belle Province, the December 4 affair saw Jardin and Deziray De Sousa earn the assists on a third period goal by Kaity Howarth.
Finding tremendous fulfillment in the opportunity to achieve the pinnacle of playing professionally, Jardin is equally proud to help mentor a new generation looking to achieve their own hockey dreams. As the existence of the PHF provides a world-class league to aspire towards, Jardin, whether as role model or pioneering player, reflects on her own ambitions, taking great pride in the game’s continued growth.
“Being able to help out younger female hockey players and seeing the smiles on their faces as they are able to play the sport that we all love is what drives me to help out. I think it is important to be role models and provide support for the community so that the next generation has the skills to push women’s hockey in the right direction.
Having been fortunate to play female hockey my entire career, I remember when I was young, the sport did not have the recognition it does today. Helping out in the community this year has helped to spread the word about the milestones the PHF has helped to achieve.
I remember I once had a boy write in my yearbook, “See you in the NHL one day”. Back then, I only thought, well “I’m a girl, I cannot be in the NHL”. Now that women’s hockey has achieved the closest thing to a women’s NHL, helping out in the community is one way to inspire young female hockey players to dream big.”
Whether taking on a bigger role in campus life at McGill, or participating in a handful of EVENTS establishing the Force as a proud member of the community, Jardin exemplified teamwork on and off the ice. Whether at the rink, or giving back, a highly inspiring work ethic stands as the cornerstone of Jardin’s efforts.
With a genuine sincerity, Jardin’s heart of gold glows greatly, even in the most unlikely circumstances. Returning home to Calgary in the aftermath of the first Force season, an impromptu encounter with youth players enabled her to shine as a role model, sharing a love of the game, while introducing them to a much larger world for their dreams to flourish.
“This year my involvement in the community involved numerous activities. Helping to coach younger players, small activities with fans around the rink, attending team community events or even meeting young female hockey players at a hotel in North Dakota while I was driving back home to Calgary from Montreal after the season.
These girls were just having fun in the hallways playing mini sticks as they were in town for a tournament. They had never heard about professional women’s hockey and it was so nice to meet them.
Giving back to the community is something that I am familiar with. I was on the student athlete council at McGill and I volunteered to run our team’s social media account. Also, I volunteer as a Parks Steward in Banff National Park. I only hope to continue to give back in any way that I can.”
At the root of Jardin’s raison d’etre lies a love of the game, mirroring her positive outlook on life. Undeniably, the first home game in Force history allowed for Jardin to experience a warm welcome to the pros. Hosting the Metropolitan Riveters for a weekend series at Verdun Auditorium, the November 26 home opener marked a seminal moment for the franchise. Prevailing in a 5-3 final, all Force goals were scored by McGill alumnae Ann-Sophie Bettez and Jade Downie-Landry.
Absorbing the atmosphere, an enthusiastic crowd provided Jardin with a career highlight. Reflecting on such an exciting event for players and franchise alike, Jardin, who recorded a pair of shots on net and won three faceoffs, felt energized by the fans on-hand. As the fan support is poised to increase heading into the second season, Jardin feels a tremendous appreciation, the season representing a continuation of a magical time in Montreal.
“There were numerous things about this year that made the season memorable. My favorite moment was the first time that we played in Verdun Arena. The crowd and atmosphere was electric, all the hard work the team had put in over the last couple of months had started to pay off. It was an unreal experience to be on the ice, I remember getting a semi-breakaway at one moment and the thrill of shooting the puck towards the net and hearing the crowd roaring was unreal.
It was definitely something special that night. Another amazing part of that night is the fan support after the game, we had an insane amount of fans lined up for autographs from everyone on the team. Being an athlete who has never had that kind of experience before was amazing.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated“