Les Canadiennes are bidding farewell to a player who has contributed tremendously to the franchise’s history.
Goaltender Charline Labonté is taking her retirement after a remarkable career in hockey.
“It’s sad to see her leave,” said defenceman Cathy Chartrand. “Having Charline behind you always gave us confidence. We grew up together and followed in each other’s footsteps. We want her to start the next stage of her life and we hope it will go well for her.”
Labonté leaves the team on a high after winning her first Clarkson Cup last season, her third straight appearance in the championship game after backstopping the team to the Clarkson Cup final in 2015 and 2016.
Labonté was selected as one of the captains for the first-ever All-Star game in 2014 alongside Jessica Campbell of the Calgary Inferno. The netminder has been one of Les Canadiennes representatives in every All-Star game since 2014.
After joining Les Canadiennes in 2013, Labonté, 34, consistently displayed impressive statistics and achievements over the course of her career. She was named goaltender of the year three times in a row in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Labonté’s leadership, professionalism and all around calm demeanour and sense of humour will be missed in the locker room.
“For someone like me, who is always excited, sitting next to her in the locker room really calmed me down,” said forward Emmanuelle Blais. “When times were hard last year, she stayed calm and composed. For the people around her, it helped a lot. It gave us confidence.”
Standing tall at five-foot-nine and 160 pounds, Labonté retires with a 1.78 goals-against-average and a .925 save percentage during the regular season.
Labonté’s illustrious career is marked by success at every level. The four-time Olympic gold medallist (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014) made history after she became the second female hockey player to play at the Canadian major junior hockey level after goaltender Manon Rhéaume. Labonté played two seasons with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan from 1999 to 2001.
While obtaining her undergraduate degree in physical education at McGill University, she played five seasons with the Martlets, where she shattered the all-time record for shutouts. She brought back three USports national championships.
“We are losing an important piece of the team on and off the ice,” said Blais. “She is a great person and great friend. She’s the full package. She is one of the pillars of the team.”