Future Minnesota Duluth goaltender Eve Gascon is taking part in a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League training camp this week, trying out with the Gatineau Olympiques.
Gascon is only the fourth woman to take part in a QMJHL camp. Two women have played in the QMJHL — goaltenders Manon Rheaume and Charline Labonte — and if Gascon does make the final Gatineau roster, she could become the third woman to do so, and without forgoing her NCAA eligibility.
The NCAA has separate rules for men’s and women’s hockey as it pertains to trying out and playing for professional teams — the NCAA classifies Major Junior leagues in Canada as professional.
While men’s hockey players have strict rules pertaining to tryouts and playing with professionals — like the “48-hour rule” — women’s hockey recruits may try out and play for a professional team prior to full-time enrollment, granted they do not receive “more than actual and necessary expenses,” according to the NCAA Division I manual (Page 69, 188.8.131.52.1 and 184.108.40.206.1).
À Gatineau aujourd’hui!— Mikaël Lalancette (@MikLalancette) August 18, 2021
Voici Ève Gascon, la 5e jeune femme de l’histoire à participer à un camp d’entraînement de la LHJMQ. pic.twitter.com/b7KRegiva5
For example, UMD senior goaltender Emma Soderberg was able to play two seasons in Sweden’s SDHL with MODO Hockey — former Bulldogs Michela Cava and Sidney Morin were her teammates in 2017-18 — prior to joining the Bulldogs.
Gascon verbally committed to the Bulldogs in September 2020. Because she has not signed a National Letter of Intent yet — that may not happen until 2023 — the UMD coaching staff is unable to speak about their future goaltender. According to a source, the university is in touch with the NCAA to make sure what she does with Gatineau is within the rules.
A trailblazer in women’s hockey already, Gascon became the first female goaltender to earn a starting role in a Quebec midget AAA league with College Esther-Blondin Phenix, who she played with from 2018-2020.
Gascon sat out all of last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite not playing a game in 2020-21, she still picked up some hardware, winning Hockey Canada’s Isobel-Gathorne Hardy Award for her volunteer work in Quebec.
Gascon backstopped Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team to silver at the 2020 World Championships, posting a .939 save percentage and 1.38 goals against average. Her one loss in four starts was in overtime of the gold medal game against a United States team that was coached by UMD’s Maura Crowell.