Monday, 16 September 2013

Expect Ann-Sophie Bettez to emerge as face of CWHL in upcoming 2013-14 season

With the upcoming CWHL season facing a shortage of stars due to the impact of the Sochi Winter Games, a new player will have to assume the mantle of being the face of the CWHL for the 2013-14 CWHL season. If any player is able to rise to the occasion and make her mark on the game, it is the amazing Ann-Sophie Bettez.

Selected tenth overall in the historic 2012 CWHL Draft, she was part of a Stars draft class that included All-World goalie Charlie Labonte, Frozen Four champion Carolyne Prevost and CIS all-time leading scorer Marieve Provost.

Last season, Bettez led all CWHL rookies in scoring with 33 points, while ranking second overall among all players (13 points behind scoring leader Meghan Agosta). In addition, her 17 goals tied Hilary Knight as the league leader among CWHL skaters. Selected as the 2013 CWHL Rookie of the Year, she would help the Montreal Stars qualify for the championship game of the Clarkson Cup.

During the previous season, Tessa Bonhomme had emerged as the face of the league. Appearing on the cover of The Hockey News and having recently earned an endorsement with McDonald’s, she became the most marketable star in women’s hockey.

As Bonhomme is among more than 20 competitors from the CWHL competing at their respective countries Centralization Camps, CWHL rinks will be looking for new hockey heroes this winter. Although many women’s hockey fans could argue that Bettez should have been at the Hockey Canada Centralization Camp for Sochi, her talent and scoring touch make her next in line to be the league’s premier superstar.

(Left to right: Meghan Agosta, Ann-Sophie Bettez and Carolyne Prevost during the 2012-13 CWHL season. Photo credit: Agence QMI)

With her winning smile and friendly demeanor, she is likely to emerge as one of the fan favorites this season. Hard-working and dedicated, she is one of the most successful women’s hockey players to come from Quebec in the last decade. Having helped the Canadian Under-22/Development Team win the MLP Cup, along with a stint on the senior women’s team, she would end her storied McGill career by claiming the 2012 BLG Award.

Despite the fact that the Stars roster has been decimated by the loss of nine players to centralization, including offensive stars Meghan Agosta-Marciano and Caroline Ouellette, they remain the most talented team in the CWHL. Bettez will anchor an offense that still features Vanessa (Vinny) Davidson, Noemie Marin, (Dangerous) Dominique Thibault and Sarah Vaillancourt. 

The drafting of players such as Fannie Desforges and Camille Dumais helps to add depth to a high-powered offense. By season’s end, it should come as no surprise if Bettez emerges as the league’s scoring champion and the recipient of the Angela James Bowl. 

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