Montreal women’s hockey team now Canadiennes

MONTREAL (AP) — Montreal’s women’s hockey team is now the Canadiennes.

The Canadian Women’s Hockey League team, formerly known as the Montreal Stars, unveiled the new name along with a new logo and marketing and promotions links to the NHL’s Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Thursday.

The Canadiens had announced a partnership with the female team in March with an eye on finding a new name and look. It started with the Stars wearing jerseys similar to the Canadiens, but with Montreal written across the front. The new jerseys also are in the same red, white and blue as the NHL club, but with a large ‘C’ with a star in it, which acknowledges the former team nickname.

“It’s very exciting,” goalie Charline Labonte said. “It’s very flattering to be associated with the Montreal Canadiens with the history they have. To have a similar name, I can’t imagine anything bad happening to us.”

The Canadiens will help the Canadiennes financially and give a boost to promotions and merchandise sales, selling their jerseys alongside those of Canadiens stars.

The Montreal team won Clarkson Cups in 2009, 2011 and 2012, but Quebec, with about 7,000 female players, lags behind Ontario, with more than 35,000, in participation in women’s and girl’s hockey.

The Canadiennes will not be moved to the Bell Centre, but they hope to draw more than the few hundred who turn out to games at their home rink at the Etienne Desmarteau Centre.

The CWHL has worked to build links between its clubs and NHL teams. The Calgary Flames are affiliated with the Calgary Inferno, and the Toronto Furies, associated with the Maple Leafs, also have a rebranding planned for this week. The Boston Blades have a loose affiliation with the Bruins.

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