by Mark Staffieri
In a season defined by so many new faces making an impact, one veteran added to her hockey legacy recently. Having logged her 100th CWHL career point in a Saturday, Jan. 11 victory over the Brampton Thunder, it is part of a remarkable body of work in the distinguished career of CWHL co-founder Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux.
To those who know her, she is more than just a veteran, but also a highly-valued friend, colleague and a key builder in modern day women’s hockey. One of only two founders still competing in the CWHL (the other being Toronto Furies backstop Sami Jo Small), Breton-Lebreux is a glorious example of how the far league has come since its inception.
Having logged career point 99, also against Brampton, on Nov. 30, 2013, a five-game scoreless streak followed, leaving Stars fans were in anticipation to see Breton-Lebreux reach that magical century mark.
Aréna St- Louis, in the heart of Montreal’s Mile End district, served as the backdrop for the historic milestone. With the Stars enjoying a 2-0 lead after two periods, and outshooting Brampton by a convincing 28-7 mark, it would only take 39 seconds in the final frame for Breton-Lebreux to reach that hundredth point.
Scoring a power-play goal on Brampton goaltender Sonja van der Bliek, the assists were credited to the defensive duo of Sara Dagenais and Carly Dupont-Hill. Just ten seconds later, Brampton would spoil the celebration by breaking Catherine Herron’s bid for her third shutout of the season.
Before the period would expire, Montreal scored once more, with current Stars captain Cathy Chartrand earning an assist. It was only fitting that Chartrand also logged a point during Breton-Lebreux’s milestone match.
At the beginning of the season, Breton-Lebreux appointed Cathy Chartrand as the Stars new captain. Having served as the only captain in Stars history, and the longest serving in CWHL history, the passing of the torch to a new generation is a true measure of her leadership.
In being appointed Stars captain, Chartrand also has the rare opportunity to accomplish something that only Breton-Lebreux has. Of note, she is the first (and only) captain in CWHL history to win a Canadian Interuniversity Sport title and the Clarkson Cup in a career.
On the topic of passing the torch, the chance to reach the century mark is one that two other members of the Stars can reach this season, potentially sharing the milestone with Breton-Lebreux. As of Jan. 12, Vanessa (Vinny) Davidson is nine points away, while Emmanuelle Blais is six points away.
While Breton-Lebreux and her Stars teammates aim for their team’s fourth Clarkson Cup in franchise history, she is now 55 points away from surpassing Jennifer Botterill as the all-time leading scorer among CWHL founders. With regards to fellow founder Sami-Jo Small, she is two wins away from becoming the first goaltender to record 60 wins in CWHL play.
Breton-Lebreux not only helped build the Montreal Stars into the championship capable team they are today, but has also helped launch a new and glorious chapter in women’s hockey by contributing to the CWHL so extensively, both on and off the ice. And every game she plays is a chance to celebrate in what she has helped create. Her 100th point is truly the icing on the cake of an incredible – and still rising – career for Breton-Lebreux.