The Montreal Force has been busy in its first Premier Hockey Federation offseason. The second-ever Canadian expansion team announced eight signings last week, including Goaltender of the Year Corinne Schroeder.
“She is an outstanding young goalie," La Force president Kevin Raphael mentioned in the team press release. “It’s not every day that we can attract athletes who have broken records like she has. She has all of the intangibles to perform and integrate well into the city of Montreal.”
Schroeder played in 24 games for the Boston Pride and tallied a .955 save percentage in the regular season. She owns the league record for most wins (18), most saves (761), and the most shutouts (8) in a single season.
Black Rosie Media contributor Elias Larardi had the opportunity to speak to Schroeder via phone about dipping her toe into her first free agency period – she was on a one-year contract with the regular season champs, the Boston Pride – call what attracted her to La Force, and more.
“I was very impressed with how hard they worked and how well they played together as a team,” Schroeder told Black Rosie Media. “All season long, I was very impressed with the work they did.”
Montreal went 8-4-2 in their inaugural season, but they definitely made a splash. Captain Ann-Sophie Bettez is a household name, especially in her home province of Quebec. Bettez and center Jade Downie-Landry both scored 20+ points and were named to the 2023 PHF Canadian All-Star team alongside Pride goalie Corinne Schroeder (Note: Ann-Sophie Bettez did not participate in the All-Star showcase).
Both re-signed with Montreal. La Force also added Vermont standout Theresa Schafzahl, whom Schroeder would have faced while at Boston University. Another selling point for signing with Montreal for Schroeder was the location.
Originally from Elm Creek, Manitoba, located just north of the North Dakota and Minnesota border, Schroeder left home to attend B.U. and graduate school at Quinnipiac University.
“It's been quite a few years since I played on a Canadian team, and being a little bit closer to home was a big factor. For me, it's a little easier for my parents to come and watch. If it's just one flight instead of, you know, maybe two to Boston,” Schroeder said.
After breaking league records in wins, saves, and total shutouts, Schroeder decided to test the free agency waters.”I had my agent talk with a number of teams, including Boston as well,” Schroeder told us, “I think, a very good landing place in Montreal, after all that.”
It will be a fresh start for the Rookie of the Year. Boston was a powerhouse in the regular season, in no small part due to Schroeder’s body of work. While Schroeder admitted it was hard to walk away, especially after what she believed to be her best hockey season yet, she is excited about the new opportunity.
“I am very thankful for everything that the organization did for me there. And, you know, I couldn't have asked for a better year,” she said.
It begs the question, what are Schroeder’s goals for next season?
“I haven't, haven't exactly taken the time to set out any real quantitative goals that I typically do before a season, that's usually a little closer to the time at the moment. I'm just kind of focusing on training, making sure that my body is healthy and ready to go by the time the end of summer rolls around and the season gets going.”
Schroeder confirmed she will be spending the summer training in Winnipeg before making the trip to Montreal for training camp.
“I want to focus on training and making sure the body is healthy and ready to go by the end of summer rolls around and the season begins.”
Schoeder will have the chance to play with Boston teammate Giguère as both signed with La Force for one season. Giguère will return to play in her home province of Quebec after making her PHF debut season last year. The 26-year-old finished tied with Bettez with 22 points and finished second in rookie scoring behind Jade Downie-Landry.
“Élizabeth is a spark plug on the ice and can become the motor of our offense,” Raphael said of the signing. “I believe our team structure and system of play will allow her to do more this season. We are very happy to have her with us for the next year.”
Giguère dominated the NCAA, where she won the 2018 National Championship and the Patty Kazmaier in 2020 with Clarkson University. She spent her graduate season with the University of Minnesota-Duluth and finished her collegiate career with 295 points in 177 games.
“To say I’m excited to be back playing in Canada is an understatement,” she said in the team press release. “La Force is such a great organization, and I have no doubt we will make an impact in the league this year. I am looking forward to starting this season while playing close to home in front of all my friends and family again.”