Erin Ambrose Making Herself at Home with Les Canadiennes After First Weekend Series
Teammates and Staff Pleased With the “Queen Of Shot-Blocking’s” Early Success
With many of the Canadian Women’s Hockey league players out for Olympic preparation, the league became a test of each team’s depth.
However, with Erin Ambrose being cut from Team Canada’s Peyonchang team on Nov. 20, there was an opportunity for Les Canadiennes de Montreal to bolster their lineup.
The reigning Clarkson Cup champions reached out to the Toronto Furies, which Ambrose would have reported to, and offered a trade for the defender. To let Ambrose join Montreal, Les Canadiennes gave the Furies a first and third round pick in the 2018 CWHL draft, a first round pick in the 2019 draft and a third pick in the 2020 draft. The trade was made official on Dec. 13.
Three days later, Ambrose laced the skates for Les Canadiennes’ last weekend series of the year against the Markham Thunder. With only a few days to adapt, the Keswick, Ontario native racked up 2 assists in her first game—a 5-4 overtime win—and one assist in her second—a 2-1 shootout gain.
“I’m an offensive player, it’s been a part of my game since I started playing hockey,” said Ambrose. “I’m happy to contribute points but sometimes it’s not points that’ll come, it’ll be blocked shots or anything else in the defensive zone.”
“She’s the queen of shot blocking, if you watch her play, she’s always somehow in the shooting lane and as a goalie you have to love that. It makes our job easier.” Emerance Maschmeyer.
Canadiennes goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer knew Ambrose from her time with Team Canada and already has a nickname for her.
“She’s the queen of shot blocking, if you watch her play, she’s always somehow in the shooting lane and as a goalie you have to love that. It makes our job easier,” she said.
Maschmeyer also thinks that her team hasn’t seen another of her Ambrose’s qualities yet: Her leadership.
“She’s quite a leader too, a very vocal one and I think team will start seeing that soon,” said Maschmeyer. “It’s obviously her first weekend but as she gets more comfortable here I think the team will really appreciate what she has to offer.”
For Les Canadiennes head coach Dany Brunet, Ambrose brings more option for his team along the blue line.
“[She brought] a lot of stability at the back,” said Brunet. “What flashed me the most was her transition game. On that level, she’s a player that has a great first pass and that is able to create offence.”
Ambrose is thankful that Brunet and the rest of his team let her play the offensive style of hockey she has learned and loved to play.
“It’s nice that they put a lot of trust in me right away,” said Ambrose. “The girls are great and just playing with this group, you’re playing with top-notch players in the CWHL and I can’t complain about that at all.”
In turn, Maschmeyer appreciated the fact that Ambrose got in the mix immediately after the trade despite the weekend series being the team’s last of 2017.
“After she got cut from Team Canada, she took some time to collect her thoughts and see what she wanted to do. I think for her to get back before the break was huge,” said Maschmeyer. “It would have been a long period of time where she didn’t get a game and for her to get three points in the first weekend, we’re not complaining about it.”
Despite having a completely different set of goals for 2018 that no longer include a chase for the gold medal in South Korea, Ambrose is keen on getting a championship with her new team.
“[Les Canadiennes] are a first-class organization in the CWHL and I’m really happy to be a part of it. I’m really excited to work towards defending the Clarkson Cup,” said Ambrose. “We’re going to stay focussed, take this break and come back firing in January.”