Deschênes, Holmes, Howarth, Isbell, and Stacey bring the expansion roster size to 16
MONTREAL, QC – (August 10, 2022) – The Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) in association with the new Montreal expansion team, has announced that goaltender Marie-Soleil Deschênes, defender Kaity Howarth, plus a trio of forwards including Alyssa Holmes, Samantha Isbell, and Brooke Stacey have signed 2022-23 contracts. The five new additions brings the original roster of the PHF’s seventh team to 16 players who have officially committed for their inaugural season.
The current roster of 16 includes 10 players who have professional experience and six collegiate graduates, with positional depth of 10 forwards, four defenders, and two goaltenders. The 11 previously announced player signings are forwards Ann-Sophie Bettez, Kim Deschênes, Jade Downie-Landry, Catherine Dubois, Alexandra Labelle, Sarah Lefort, and Kristina Shanahan, defenders Catherine Daoust, Christine Deaudelin, Brigitte Laganière, and goaltender Tricia Deguire. The roster has been in development since the team officially began operations on July 12.
“I’m very happy with how our roster is coming together for our first season, with dedicated players who have personalities and hockey skills that will charm the province of Quebec,” said Kevin Raphaël, Team President. “What excites me about this group in particular is the talented two-way play and amazing attitude of Samantha, how dominant Alyssa can be offensively while staying responsible in her own zone, and how hard Brooke has trained since giving birth to earn another opportunity in the PHF. I also love the fast paced defensive play of Kaity who will help us in a variety of situations, and I believe Marie-Soleil is underrated despite consistently showing her outstanding abilities every time she’s in the crease. Some of these players might be unfamiliar across the PHF, but their qualities are everything we want to strengthen our depth and contribute to our success.”
Deschênes has been playing professionally for the past five seasons, including three as a member of the PWHPA and two in the CWHL. Her first pro game was a shutout for the Montreal Canadiennes during the 2017-18 season, and during the 2018-19 campaign she won all four of her starts on a team with Bettez, Daoust, K. Deschênes, and Lefort. The 28-year-old from Île Perrot, Quebec played five U SPORTS seasons for the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers, finishing in 2016-17 as her team’s MVP, the school’s Female Athlete of the Year, and an AUS First Team All-Star with an impressive 1.82 goals-against-average and a .939 save percentage.
Holmes spent the past five seasons with Shanahan playing NCAA Division I at the University of Vermont. The 23-year-old from Hamilton, Ontario graduates just behind her Montreal teammate in all-time games played with 148 for the Catamounts. During her junior season in 2019-20, she held the seventh-highest faceoff percentage (61.5%) in the country, while her most productive offensive campaign was in 2021-22 with 26 points in 35 games. Her point total surpassed production across her first four seasons combined, while her 23 assists tied the program’s single season record. She earned Hockey East All-Academic Team honors, with special recognition for maintaining a 3.0 GPA throughout her five seasons.
Howarth is a 24-year-old from Thunder Bay, Ontario who spent last season as a member of the PWHPA. Before turning pro, the defender attended Saint Mary’s University and played three seasons of U SPORTS from 2017-20 where she totaled 29 points in 52 games. As a freshman, she helped the Huskies capture the 2018 AUS championship and received recognition on the conference’s All-Rookie Team. She was then named an Academic All-Canadian in 2019 which was also her best offensive season, collecting 13 points in 22 games.
Isbell is also a 24-year-old from Thunder Bay, Ontario and has spent the past two seasons with Montreal’s PWHPA chapter. Though her professional experience has been at forward, she was a defender during her NCAA career at Mercyhurst University from 2016-20 where she recorded 82 points in 141 games and helped the Lakers win CHA titles in 2018 and 2020. As a senior she produced 31 points in 35 games and was named to the All-Conference Second Team. Her 25 assists in 2019-20 rank second among all-time blue liners in a single CHA season.
Stacey becomes the first Montreal player who has previous PHF experience, having competed two seasons as a member of the Buffalo Beauts from 2019-21. The 26-year-old who hails from the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory in Southern Quebec, had an All-Star rookie campaign recording eight goals and eight assists for 16 points in 14 games. She returned for the shortened 2021 season after giving birth to her son. Her PHF tenure followed one pro season in the SDHL, and a four-year NCAA career at the University of Maine. She also has experience with Team Canada, winning gold at the 2014 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship.
All five players have chosen not to disclose the salary terms of their contracts.
As the roster for PHF Montreal continues to build, the team looks forward to introducing a coaching staff, unveiling its official name and logo, and announcing the communities across the province of Quebec that will host home games during this historic 2022-23 PHF season. For more information please visit PHFMontreal.com.
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, and the Toronto Six who all compete annually for the Isobel Cup. For more information visit premierhockeyfederation.com.