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Montreal inks Poulin, Desbiens, Stacey on 3-year contracts

Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty

PWHL Montreal signed forwards Marie-Philip Poulin and Laura Stacey and goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens to three-year contracts, the team announced Thursday.

"I couldn't envision a more exceptional group of individuals and athletes to represent Montreal," said general manager Daniele Sauvageau. "We are creating an environment that fosters both athletic and personal growth, ensuring that our athletes are drawn to it as a place where they can thrive. These three players exemplify a winning spirit and are committed to a culture of continuous success. We’re excited to play in front of fans who have always shown unwavering support for the teams in Montreal."

Poulin is widely regarded as the best active player in women's hockey. The 32-year-old's resume includes three Olympic gold-medal-winning goals, three CWHL titles, and a PWHPA championship. She's been named an all-star twice at both the Olympics and World Championships - taking home tournament MVP at the 2013 Worlds - and is a three-time CWHL MVP.

"I am proud of what we have accomplished and especially grateful to be part of the history of women’s hockey as a member of the Montreal team," Poulin said. "This city lives for hockey, just like me. This is where I wanted to live my dream."

The Beauceville, Quebec, native has decimated the international stage since her Canadian senior team debut in 2009. Poulin has accumulated 33 goals and 73 points in 58 games across 11 World Championships. Over four Olympics, she's totaled 17 goals and 35 points in 22 contests.

The Montreal Canadiens hired Poulin last year as a player development consultant. While employed by the NHL club, she also led the PWHPA in scoring with 12 goals and 27 points in 20 games.

Stacey has been a part of Canada's senior team since 2017. The Kleinburg, Ontario, native has racked up seven goals and 13 points in 39 combined games across five World Championships and two Olympics. Stacey played three seasons with the CWHL's Brampton Thunder, winning the league title in 2018 after returning from Team Canada. The 29-year-old ranked fourth in PWHPA scoring last season with nine goals and 21 points in 20 contests.

Poulin and Stacey announced their engagement in May.

Desbiens took the reigns as Canada's starting netminder in 2021 and hasn't looked back. The La Malbaie, Quebec, native was 22-0-0 at Worlds and Olympics before losing to the United States in the gold-medal game at the World Championships in April. Desbiens has a career .911 save percentage in 18 contests over four Worlds and an astonishing .946 SV% in six games across two Olympics.

A product of the University of Wisconsin, Desbiens holds numerous NCAA records. The 29-year-old's 55 shutouts are the most by an NCAA goaltender regardless of gender, and her .955 career SV% tops all college netminders with more than 60 games played. She won the Patty Kazmaier Award as college hockey's best women's player in 2017.

Each PWHL team can sign up to three players prior to the league's inaugural draft on Sept. 18.

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