On Saturday, the Montréal Force announced the winners of seven team awards via Instagram. The awards were voted on by players and staff in the week leading up to the last team gathering of the season. They included MVP, Best Teammate, Rookie of the Year, the All Guts Award, the Community Service Award, the Staff Member Thank You Award, and the Moment of the Year.
The winner of the Most Valuable Player Award was captain Ann-Sophie Bettez. In addition to leading the team in goals, Bettez was the leader that the expansion team in Montréal needed. Her years of experience as a professional on and off the ice helped ground the team and keep them battling through a tough season full of close games.
The Teammate of the Year Award was distributed to a player who displayed great team spirit and was there for her teammates during the season. Kristina Shanahan, a first-year pro player, won the inaugural award. A three-year captain at the University of Vermont, the forward was utilized up and down the lineup throughout the season.
For Rookie of the Year, the team voted among players who had never played in a pro league before, and selected Jade Downie-Landry. The former Martlet led la Force in assists, points, SOG, and game-winning goals, while playing on the top line and the power play. She was undoubtedly a bright spot in the season and will have a bright future with this team.
The All Guts Award was given to the player who showed guts all year long, never gave up, and fought her way in every game. This year’s winner is a player who caught attention early in the season with a two-point game which was immediately followed by a game ejection and a suspension. Alternate captain Sarah Lefort plays a tough game, and the Force needed someone willing to put it all out there. Lefort finished the season with seven goals, third on the team and 27 PIM, good for fourth in the league.
The team's youngest player, Laura Jardin, was the recipient of the Community Service Award. Per the team, Jardin met with many women's hockey teams throughout the season and did every ceremonial puck drop that was asked of her. She went to every community activity the team put on and was always willing to give her time to talk to the players on the teams la Force visited.
For the Staff Member Thank You Award, Ketsia-Kelly Raphaël was the winner. The award was to be awarded to any staff member from gameday operations to front office with the exceptions of coaches, GM, President, and Vice-President. Raphaël was the coordinator for the team on the road.
The Moment of the Year Award went to the team’s home opener at the Verdun Auditorium. A celebration of the return of professional women’s hockey to Montréal, the team took the ice to strobe lights, sparks, and a world-class drumroll from Domino Santantonio. They defeated the visiting Metropolitan Riveters 5-3 in a thrilling game that included the franchise’s first hat trick from Jade Downie-Landry. You can read my write-up of that game here!
It was a historic first season for La Force de Montréal and every person contributed. We look forward to the next one!