2019 World Championship Preview: France
France will be competing in the top division for the first time ever
France is in Group B with the Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, and Sweden.
- April 4, 12 p.m. E.T. | France vs. Japan
- April 5, 10 a.m. E.T. | Czech Republic vs. France
- April 7, 10 a.m. E.T. | France vs. Sweden
- April 8, 12 p.m. E.T. | Germany vs. France/
France has not released their roster yet, but we will add it when it becomes available.
- Forwards: Marion Allemoz, Chloé Aurard, Estelle Duvin
- Head coach: Grégory Tarle/
Players to Watch
With no official roster, our players to watch are based on previous tournaments.
Aurard has turned lots of heads this season with Northeastern, bursting onto the season with 12 goals, 19 assists, and 31 points, which ranks eighth among all rookies nationwide. Going from NEPSAC Division II to NCAA Division I hockey is a big step up, but Aurard handled the transition swimmingly. She’s an extremely skilled player with good speed, great vision, and a nose for the puck.
When Team France won the 2018 Women’s World Championship Division IA Tournament, Aurard posted four goals and one assist through five games. I would expect her to be a leader up front for France in this tournament, and we’ll see if she can continue her breakout season over in Espoo with even more production against some great teams.
Allemoz is the undisputed leader for this French squad, captaining the team since 2010-11. She’s also got some of the most robust experience playing internationally. Allemoz played for the University of Montréal for two seasons before joining Les Canadiennes in the CWHL in 2016-17 and 2017-18. She put up some respectable numbers in her second CWHL season, with four goals, nine assists, and 13 points in 28 games.
Allemoz spent the past season with MODO of the SDHL. She was the team’s fifth leading scorer with 13 goals, 10 assists, and 23 points through 28 games. Allemoz is a proven performer for her squad and posted three assists for France in five games at the 2018 Division IA World Championship. In Olympic qualification play last year, she potted six goals in six games. She’s got experience in some of the very best leagues in the world, and that’ll be valuable experience as she looks to lead Team France this tournament.
Duvin, like Aurard, is a rising young star in French hockey and has a ton of raw talent. She’s spent the past three seasons with the University of Montréal, and has improved her point totals each year she’s been there. This past season, she recorded six goals, 10 assists, and 16 points in 18 games, and added a goal and two assists in four playoff games.
With Team France, Duvin has always been a reliable scorer. She had a great performance at the 2015 Division I Under-18 World Championship, scoring nine goals, four assists, and 13 points in just five games to help France win gold. She was named the tournament’s Best Forward. At the Division IA World Championship last spring, she notched three goals, two assists, and five points to help the French win another gold medal and promotion.
Last Time Around
France competed at the Women’s World Championship Division IA Tournament last year, which they hosted in Vaujany. They won four out of five games to take the tournament crown. First, they earned a big 3-2 win over Denmark, with Duvin and Aurard scoring the tying and go-ahead goals in the final ten minutes of the third period. They lost their next game, a close one to Norway and Andrea Dalen, by a score of 2-1.
France rebounded for a 3-2 win over Austria and a 2-1 win over Hungary after that. The French then exploded for a 7-1 win over Slovakia in their final game to seal the gold medal in style. Aurard and Lore Baudrit each recorded two goals in the win. Gwendoline Gendarme was named the tournament’s Best Defender by the Directorate, and the coaches selected Duvin as France’s Player of the Tournament.
France holds one of the most exciting storylines of the entire tournament: this is the team’s first time ever competing at the top division of the IIHF Women’s World Championship. They’ve been steadily improving over the years, and will now have an excellent opportunity to see how they stack up against the very best teams in the world.
This is the first year we’re seeing a 10-team format at the top level, which also makes things interesting in terms of relegation. In previous years, the bottom two teams in Group B would play a best-of-three relegation series to determine who stayed in the top division for the next year. With the 10-team format, the bottom two teams in Group B will both be relegated down to Division IA. For France, remaining in the top division and the top 10 of the IIHF rankings is crucial to growing the sport and potentially hosting tournaments like Olympic qualifications over the next cycle. So while Team France is debuting at the top division this week, they’ll look to make an immediate impact and finish within the top three of their group.