Women’s hockey: the Limoilou Titans in China
Queens of Quebec college women’s hockey, the Cégep Limoilou Titans are going to make their sport shine … in China!
“Ni hao!” Launched Alice Fillion as a hello Wednesday morning during a press briefing at the Charlesbourg campus. Fillion and her 20 “sisters” of the Titans leave on Saturday for a unique nine-day trip to China to promote nuzi bingqiu or women’s ice hockey (according to Google Translate).
The invitation came at the holidays. As a gift from the Chinese government through its Confucius Institute, which gives a class since 2013 to Cégep Limoilou. The Chinese want to promote women’s hockey for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, held in Beijing.
The big Chinese promotional machine is already running for 2022, as evidenced by the two preseason games played by the Boston Bruins and the Calgary Flames in Shenzen and Beijing last September.
The same two cities where the girls of Limoilou will stop. Hockey will be on the menu, with friendly clashes against the junior Chinese national team and the women’s team of Kunlun Hongxing (Red Star), who has played for one season in the now-defunct Canadian Women’s Hockey League. But also the main tourist attractions, university visits and a stop at the Canadian Embassy.
“In our contacts with them, they talk about” exchanges “, they do not call it matches. So are we going to train, are we going to play? “Head coach Pascal Dufresne asks, a few days before the start.
“We think we will play a few games and especially promote women’s hockey. We know they will have a camp while we are there. Kunlun is a professional club, so there will definitely be good players. They are in preparation for the 2022 Games and know that in women’s hockey, there are two powers [Canada and United States]. But the Chinese can aim to be ranked in the top five worldwide, it is accessible, “Dufresne analysis, as for the ambitions of their hosts.
The coach added that China’s junior national team was competing in the same tournament as the Titans at the start of the season, and the Chinese did not have to be ashamed of their performance with a few wins.
“It will be the experience of a lifetime. I do not know of any other collegiate team that did that! “Exclaims Captain Emmy Fecteau, describing this trip as” icing on the cake “for the end of his three years of hockey at Cégep Limoilou.
If Fecteau assures that learning Mandarin is much more difficult than playing hockey, she is delighted that this project will also promote her sport in Quebec, to young girls from here who may see it. to be another incentive to one day become a Titan.
Dufresne confirms that this adventure brings even more notoriety to his program, already provincial champion the last four years and seven times for eight years.
There is no shortage of ideas either for the future. Like receiving a delegation of Chinese hockey players in Quebec in the next two years and, who knows, maybe join a Chinese or two in its alignment.
“Of course, the language barrier is major. But some Chinese players are playing in the European leagues to improve, so why not here! We throw ideas. It’s just the first steps for now, but we’ll see. It would be interesting to continue the experiment, “wishes coach Dufresne.