Hockey

Goalie Eve Gascon set to become 3rd woman to play in QMJHL

Goaltender Eve Gascon will continue to make history on Saturday afternoon. The native of Laval, Que., will become just the third female player to ever play in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

18-year-old to make appearance for Gatineau Olympiques on Saturday

Goalie Eve Gascon will become the third woman to ever play in the QMJHL when she appears for the Gatineau Olympiques on Sunday. (@CompleteHkyNews/Twitter)

Goaltender Eve Gascon continues to make history on the ice.

The native of Laval, Que., will become just the third female player to ever play in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League when she makes an appearance between the pipes for the Gatineau Olympiques against the visiting Rimouski Oceanic on Saturday afternoon at the Centre Slush Puppie.

The 18-year-old Gascon, who was the first female player to play midget triple-A hockey in Quebec, was called up by the Olympiques last week from the St-Laurent Patriotes of the CEGEP men's league after Gatineau starter Remi Poirier went down with an injury.

According to Olympiques coach and general manager Louis Robitaille, Gascon got the call, specifically, for hockey reasons.

She's earned the start.

"We are all excited and know that we are part of something special, but in the end, there's equity right now in sports and we're really grateful for it," Robitaille said. "She deserves that shot — not because she's a woman but because she's a really, really good goalie."

WATCH | Gascon in net for Canada's U18 silver medal in 2020:

Americans score golden goal to defeat Canada in women's U18 championship final

3 years ago
Duration 1:42
Kiara Zanon scored in overtime as the United States defeated Canada 2-1 in the final of the women's under-18 hockey championship in Bratislava.

Gascon will join fellow goalies Manon Rheaume and Charline Labonte, both past Canadian Olympians, as the only women to see action in a regular season QMJHL game.

Robitaille was impressed with what he saw from Gascon during practice this week.

"I think it's her calm and the way she positions herself," Robitaille said. "We just felt that Saturday was the right time, especially after a week of practice, a week of her seeing major junior shots.

"I really liked her poise and compete level."

In fight for top spot

Gatineau is currently in a dogfight with the Charlottetown Islanders for top spot in the QMJHL with both teams tied for a league-best 69 points, so there is pressure on Gascon to perform Saturday.

"At the end of the day, we want her to control the controllables," Robitaille said of the situation Gascon knows she's walking into. "It's her preparation, her having fun in net tomorrow."

Gascon attended the Olympiques' training camp last year and posted a 34-save performance in a 12-1 pre-season victory over the Victoriaville Tigres.

"She had an outstanding training camp, she performed, she grew through that camp," said Robitaille. "We knew when we let her go at the end of the camp maybe it was a matter of time to see her back in the uniform."

With the Patriotes, Gascon has a 10-5-0 record, with a 2.81 goals-against average and a .899 save-percentage.

Saturday's game was already going to draw some buzz with Gatineau mayor France Belisle having already been scheduled to drop the puck for the opening faceoff, and with Gascon's arrival it has become that much more of an event, not that Robitaille is focusing much on the buzz around the game.

"Sure, we felt that today at practice there were a few cameras we don't probably have usually, but for us we have a job to do tomorrow," he said. "Whether there's 500 people or 5,000 people, it's a big weekend for us playing a good hockey club and we're gonna need to show up and bring our 'A' game."

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