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'I couldn't be more proud of myself': Eve Gascon becomes first woman to play for the Gatineau Olympiques


Ève Gascon says she heard the cheers from the sold-out crowd at the Slush Puppie Centre as she made history in goal for the Gatineau Olympiques.

The 18-year-old from Laval, Que. received a loud ovation from the crowd when she was introduced at the start of the game, and the crowd cheered every save as she became the first woman to play for the Olympiques Saturday afternoon.

Gascon made 18 saves in the Olympiques 5-4 overtime loss to the Rimouski Oceanic. Xavier Cormier scored the winner 1:10 into the extra period.

"It was a very good experience," a smiling Gascon said to reporters after the game.

"It was stressful, but at the end of the day, it was very nice. I couldn't be more proud of myself."

The crowd of nearly 5,000 spectators was the largest crowd of the season for the Olympiques at the new Slush Puppie Centre. The crowd included Gascon's family and her best friends.

"I heard it. I didn't expect that," Gascon said of the loud cheers.

Gascon received the rookie treatment during the pre-game warmups, as her teammates allowed her to have a solo lap.

"When I saw that nobody was on the ice, I was just telling myself to not fall on the ice," Gascon said.

Olympiques coach Louis Robitaille admits it was a tough start for Gascon to allow a goal on her first shot of the game, but said she played her "best hockey" as the game went on.

"I think she played really good. It's a tough start, like all the attention that she got," Robitaille said.

"She knew the hype around it. Whether you're 16, 17 or 20, even NHL players, it's always tough when all the spotlights are on you. I thought she handled it really, really, really well and I'm extremely proud of her."

Gascon appeared in two pre-season games for the Olympiques back in September. She said a regular season game was different.

"It was very fast and it was faster."

Robitaille said Gascon would dress as the backup for Sunday's game against Rimouski, and a decision will be made at a later date on future games.

Gascon is the third woman to play in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, following Manon Rheaume and Charline Labonte.  

The Olympiques recalled Gascon from the CEGEP St-Laurent Patriotes in the Quebec Collegiate Hockey League last week. Gascon had a record of 10 wins and five losses this season.


Gascon is now an inspiration for young women playing hockey across the national capital region.

"It shows that we can do it. If she can do it, so can I," said Madison Barry, a goalie with the Kanata Rangers. "I just got to work for it, I mean like her."

Barry celebrated her 16th birthday with a hockey party on Friday.

"A woman being able to step up like that just shows other young females that you can do that too," said MaKenna Barry. "It doesn't matter who you are, where you come from, you can do anything."

Madison Barry says she dreams of one day playing for the provincial women's team, followed by university and beyond, and Gascon is proof it can happen.

"You have to compete for it."

Gascon said that she started crying when she was told she would start in goal on Saturday.

"I was very happy," Gascon told reporters on Friday

As Gascon prepared to face the Rimouski Oceanic, she said her goal was simple.

"Be me and it's just a hockey game," Gascon said. "I know I am able to play hockey, so just to be me in the net." Top Stories

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