Today, the PHF announced its seventh franchise which will take root in Montreal, Quebec. This is the second Canadian franchise for the PHF, following the Toronto Six.
The Montreal franchise’s leadership includes President Kevin Raphaël and Vice President Emmanuel Anderson. The new team already has a home base — Centre 21.02, a High-Performance Hockey Center directed by Hockey Canada icon Danièle Sauvageau. The Centre has a seating capacity of 2,500 and is located in Verdun.
“Professional women’s hockey is back in Montreal, and Emmanuel and I are very excited to work with the PHF to help grow the women’s game across the entire province of Quebec,” said Raphaël in the league’s release. “We look forward to building a team with strong community partnerships and talented athletes who are ready to make a real difference on and off the ice. This is just the beginning for what is going to be a very special season for everyone.”
Did you hear that, @PWHPA ? @kevinraphael21 is ready to buy a women's hockey team in Montreal!— Away From The Play (@Mel_and_Safs) October 13, 2020
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Raphaël is a popular media personality in the Montreal market. Emmanuel has been his business partner for “over a decade” and the pair are frequent collaborators, including the annual charity hockey event ‘Classique KR’ in which women’s hockey players, NHLers, and Quebec personalities raise money to support childhood cancer foundations. The event has previously been attended by Marie-Philip Poulin, Ann-Sophie Bettez, and Hilary Knight.
Per the PHF, Montreal’s official team name and logo will be unveiled in future weeks. The same goes for the team’s first coaching staff and signings, which begs the question of if the newest team are arriving considerably late to free agency — as 60 players have already been announced for five of the six current teams — or if they’ve been quietly been signing players while getting ready for this announcement.
Either way, they will definitely have no shortage of local talent to draw from as the city is a hot bed for girls’ and women’s hockey. With that said, Montreal has a strong PWHPA presence so there will be a lot of attention on the expansion team's signings.
This is, of course, monumental news in the women’s hockey world. This expansion brings the PHF to seven teams and a second Canadian market in a span of two years — the Toronto Six were established in 2020. We will provide updates on this story as soon as they emerge.