The CWHL announced earlier this summer that the league’s teams would be undergoing a rebranding, and the Montreal Stars are the first club to officially announce a change for the 2015-16 campaign. Thursday evening the Montreal Stars announced they will now be known as Les Canadiennes de Montreal and the team will take the ice under the new moniker in time for the 2015-16 season. The name was born out of the partnership between the NHL’s Canadiens and the Stars and the name change has been in the works, Canadiennes GM Meg Hewings said, since the partnership became a reality in March 2015. “History is being made today as there is no better partner in Quebec hockey than the Montreal Canadiens,”
said CWHL commissioner Brenda Andress in a statement. “As a league, we are proud to have reached this point, where a female hockey player can finally realize her dream of becoming a member of the Montreal Canadiens organization.”
One of the big reasons for the change was those involved with the partnership felt the Stars name didn’t represent the bilingual nature of Montreal and didn’t fit with the Canadiens considering the NHL and AHL already have clubs that go by the Stars moniker. “Les Canadiennes existed in the 1930s,” Shauna Denis of the NHL’s Canadiens told CHWL.ca. “They were the first French-Canadian women’s team to play in Québec. They played against the Montreal Maroons female team. It was a rivalry between the two — the English and the French. We thought that was a cool throwback to the pioneers here in Québec.”
The new logo, however, will keep the connection to the former Stars name alive. While borrowing a similarly stylized ‘C’ from the NHL’s Canadiens, Les Canadiennes will go without the famed ‘CH’ logo and instead place a star at the tip of the ‘C’. “Les Canadiennes wanted to reflect the past and the history of the Stars since they have an incredible tradition as one of the winningest teams in CWHL history,”
Denis told CWHL.ca. “They wanted to have an immediate connection with excellence and that tradition that we also have in Montreal. We didn’t want the Stars and their tradition to get lost in the rebrand. We just wanted to really reflect that they’re part of the family now.” To have the rebranded club share such close ties with the NHL’s Canadiens is a big win for the CWHL, as fans will be able to almost immediately recognize the name and logo. Even Stars veteran Caroline Ouellette is excited for the opportunity to pull on the new sweater. “My first memory of hockey is watching the Montreal Canadiens,”
she said. “When you’re a young girl, and you love hockey, you don’t realize that it’s not entirely possible to make it to the NHL. It’s exciting to be part of such a prestigious and successful organization.” There is no timetable for the other rebrandings, though it’s likely the leagues other four teams — Calgary Inferno, Toronto Furies, Brampton Thunder and Boston Blades — will unveil their updated looks and/or monikers by the time the season kicks off on Oct. 17. Les Canadiennes will make their on-ice debut against Brampton on Oct. 17.