Ève Gascon took the ice at Gatineau Olympiques training camp on Monday, three years after becoming the first woman to play Quebec Midget AAA hockey in 2018.
The 18-year-old goalie was invited to camp on Saturday and quickly packed her equipment. She becomes the fourth woman to participate in a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) camp.
"I was really happy. I was not expecting that at all. It's good news," she told reporters in French.
Gascon arrived at camp to much fanfare, but her stay will be a short one.
She's only allowed 48 hours before she risks losing her eligibility for the women's hockey program at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, which she's set to join in the fall of 2022.
Deserved to be drafted
Gascon said she wants to prove she deserved to be drafted into the QMJHL in 2019. She had been in discussions with both the Olympiques and the Drummondville Voltigeurs, but neither club selected her.
For Olympiques head coach and general manager, Louis Robitaille, there's no doubt she should have been taken in the draft. He was the head coach of the Victoriaville Tigres at the time.
"For us, she is a hockey player. She is here to make her place. It will not be treated any differently. Here, I expect a high level of respect from everyone, regardless of nationality, skin colour, or gender," he said.
Robitaille and Gascon originally met at a summer camp for the national women's under-18 team.
Gascon played in four of five games for Canada as the team earned a silver model at the 2020 IIHF World Women's U18 Championship.