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Montreal’s PWHL coach says team is ready for league’s first playoffs

The Professional Women’s Hockey League is gearing up for its first ever playoffs, and Montreal’s franchise is leading the charge.

The team will take to the ice against Boston on Thursday at the Bell Centre at 7 p.m., and head coach Kori Cheverie told CBC Montreal’s Let’s Go that the team is ready.

Founded last year, the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) has a strong following in Montreal. Cheverie said she and her team feel the excitement growing.

“Everyone is excited and ready, commenting on all of our posts,” she said.

Below is an excerpt of the conversation between Sabrina Marandola, host of Let’s Go, and Cheverie. The questions and answers have been edited for clarity. 


Sabrina Marandola: How does that excitement feel?

Kori Cheverie: It’s great. It’s great for our sport. It’s great for our team here in Montreal and it’s all a part of it. We want to continue to spread the word that our team is here, in Montreal, and we want people to come and support us. It’s going to be a great duel between us and Boston. But it’s been amazing. It’s been something I could never have imagined, and I am really happy to be a part of it. 

SM: How do you feel about the Montreal women’s hockey fandom?

KC: I never had experienced anything like it. Maybe I did back in the day when I used to play against Montreal in the CWHL. A big part of wanting to be in this city, and be a part of this organization was the support from the city and the amount that our fans support this team. There is nothing more intimidating than being in a Montreal rink and hearing the fans cheer and how loud it can get. Our Bell Centre game, I had never heard a stadium that loud before at a sporting event. 

Montreal’s Erin Ambrose, left, celebrates with Laura Stacey after scoring against Toronto at the Bell Centre in Montreal on April 20. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

SM: Did you envision going to the playoffs at the start of the season?

KC: No, that feels like a decade ago now. We just had our 75th practice today. So it’s obviously been a lot of work. A lot of prep. You hope at the beginning of the year that you put your team in a good enough spot to qualify for playoffs and our team has executed. Now we get to play more hockey until June. 

SM: How do you manage the nerves?

KC: I think it’s a special opportunity for our group. We talked about that today, actually, about being able to manage our emotions. We had a guest speaker talk to us today, and how important it is to get back to grounding yourself in those pressured situations. For us, that’s going to be our key to success — not get too high, not get too low and when you score a goal, ‘OK, that’s done, move onto the next and just continue.’ That will be really important for us throughout the playoff run, managing those emotions. 

LISTEN | Listen to the complete interview with Kori Cheverie: 

Let’s Go9:05Ahead of PWHL Team Montreal’s playoff debut with head coach Kori Cheverie

Playoff hockey hits the city tomorrow night when the Montreal’s PWHL team will take on Boston at Place Bell in Laval. We speak to Montreal head coach Kori Cheverie ahead of this playoff debut.

SM: Does it feel like there is a bigger weight on your shoulders because this is a first?

KC: I think there’s always a little bit of that in the background, but we try to do a good job of making sure we’re visible for the fans, that we’re interacting within the community. So people have that chance to interact with the great athletes that we do have, and I think it’s just a part of the game.

To us, whether we’re on the ice performing, or we’re at a community event, it’s all going toward the same thing and that’s promoting our game and paving the way for younger athletes. It doesn’t feel like more weight on our shoulders, but we know we’re doing the right thing, and providing something that is going to be here and sustainable for athletes for years to come.

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