FOUR NEW SIGNATURES FOR THE MONTREAL FORCE
MONTREAL FORCE ANNOUNCE THE SIGNING OF NCAA STAR THERESA SCHAFZAHL, FREE AGENT EMMA KEENAN, AND THE RETURN OF ASSISTANT CAPTAINS CATHERINE DAOUST & SARAH LEFORT
MONTREAL,QC – (May 12, 2023) – The Montreal Force are proud to announce four player signings ahead of the 2023-24 Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) season. Assistant captains Catherine Daoust and Sarah Lefort both return on two-year contracts, free agent defender Emma Keenan has signed a one-year deal, and NCAA star forward Theresa Schafzahl joins the Force on a two-year contract.
“Very happy to be able to count on Catherine Daoust, on the ice her reliability is undeniable in addition to doing exceptional things off the ice in her field of engineering. It was important for me to sign her for the next two years.
“Sarah's work ethic is second to none. Last year, injuries slowed her down but she showed courage and determination throughout the season. It's not for nothing that she wears the ‘A’ on her sweater.
“Emma was a priority this year. Last year we discussed bringing her to Montreal, but unfortunately, it did not work. I have a lot of respect for her, and she has all the assets to play big minutes for La Force. In addition to being an outstanding hockey player, she is a generous and caring person. Little anecdote, she had written me a message in French last year to come to Montreal and that's when I decided to follow her journey in Connecticut and see if she could be a good fit for us.
“Theresa was the go-to NCAA player we were aiming for. She is an exceptional player. Her shot is blistering and her leadership is impressive for her age. She has the size, strength, and abilities to impact the game in much the same way as Jade Downie-Landry. She has the potential to be rookie of the year.”
Team President, Kevin Raphael.
Catherine Daoust is a standout defender who clocked the team’s highest time on ice, averaging 23 minutes per game. The 28-year-old from Ile-Bizard participated in the PHF All-Star Game for Team Canada this past season. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota-Duluth and has four prior years of pro experience including one CWHL season and three with the PWHPA.
"I couldn't be more excited to rejoin this group and to start working towards a championship."
Theresa Schafzahl is an elite offensive playmaker who grinds her way through every shift and is relentless on the puck with every opportunity. The 23-year-old from Weiz, Austria has been a part of her national team program since 2014 and has won three World Championship D1A medals. She will make her North American professional debut after five seasons at the University of Vermont where she graduated and received the title of the top scorer in program history with 145 points including 71 goals and 74 assists in 148 games. During the 2022-23 season she was captain of the Catamounts and recorded 45 points in 36 games and earned recognition as a Hockey East First Team All-Star for the second straight year.
"I am very excited to take the next step in my career and play professional hockey for La Force next year! I'm thrilled to play in Montreal because it's an amazing city and because a lot of people are very passionate about hockey there. I also have a lot of trust in the La Force leadership and am sure the team is going to do great things next season!"
Sarah Lefort finished fifth on the team in scoring with 10 points in 17 games powered by four multi-point performances. The 29-year-old from Ormstown is a graduate of Boston University and was a Patty Kazmaier Award finalist in 2013-2014. Before joining the expansion Force, she played six pro seasons split evenly between the CWHL and PWHPA.
“I am extremely happy to be coming back for La Force de Montreal. Excited to make a run for the cup alongside some great players and even better people!” Sarah Lefort.
Emma Keenan adds defensive depth to the Force along with two years of PHF experience where she has recorded 15 points in 44 games between the Connecticut Whale in 2022-23 and Buffalo Beauts in 2021-22. The 25-year-old from Calgary, AB has also played two pro seasons overseas in the SDHL following a collegiate career that included two NCAA titles with Clarkson University in 2017 and 2018.
The Force have now announced 12 signed players so far this offseason with Schafzahl joining fellow rookie forwards Audrey-Anne Veillette and Rosalie Bégin-Cyr, returnees like Lefort, Ann-Sophie Bettez, Jade Downie-Landry, Alexandra Labelle, and free agent Élizabeth Giguère. Daoust and Keenan will patrol the blue line along with the return of Brigitte Laganière and free agent goaltender Corinne Schroeder between-the-pipes.
About La Force
The Montreal Force are a professional women’s ice hockey team competing in the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF). The Force became the PHF’s seventh team and second in Canada when they joined the league ahead of the 2022-23 season. On November 26, 2022 the Force made history by playing the first PHF game in the province of Quebec and set a league regular season attendance record at Centre 21.02. The team is owned and operated by BTM Partners. TVA Sport partnership for the team lets fans watch the game throughout the season.
About the Premier Hockey Federation
The PHF is the home of professional women’s hockey in North America. Established in 2015 as the National Women’s Hockey League, the NWHL rebranded to become the PHF in 2021 and provide opportunities for elite athletes to earn a living playing the game they love while fueling the continued growth of the sport. The league is made up of the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters, Minnesota Whitecaps, Montreal Force, and the Toronto Six who all compete annually for the Isobel Cup. As part of a two-year agreement with ESPN, live coverage of the 2022-23 and 2023-24 PHF seasons is available exclusively on ESPN+ in the United States, and provides international rights for games which includes TSN in Canada. For more information visit premierhockeyfederation.com.