First Clarkson Cup stays in Canada

MIKE KOREEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:23 AM ET

KINGSTON -- The Clarkson Cup was created for the champion of Canadian women's hockey.

Thanks to the Montreal Stars, the trophy ended up in the hands of a Canadian team in its inaugural presentation.

With the cup finally up for grabs, former Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson presented it to the Stars, who beat the Minnesota Whitecaps 3-1 in the final of the Scotiabank National Canadian Women's Championship at the K-Rock Centre yesterday.

Almost five years after she said women should play for the Stanley Cup with the NHL locked out, Clarkson handed the trophy to Stars captain Lisa-Marie Breton.

"We are really happy to win the Clarkson Cup for the first time ever," Breton said. "It's something we'll remember forever."

Shauna Denis of Stittsville, Sabrina Herbec and Caroline Ouellette scored for the Stars, while three-time U.S. Olympian Angela Ruggiero replied for the Whitecaps.

Clarkson dedicated the trophy in 2006, but the cup got caught up in a licensing dispute with the artists she commissioned to create it. A financial settlement was reached earlier this month.

'MAGICAL' MOMENT

"This is about encouraging excellence in women's hockey," Clarkson said. "It's very important. It's just the right timing and I feel there is something magical about it."

Along with the licensing dispute, Clarkson had to wait for women's hockey leagues to quit squabbling.

The Western Women's Hockey League teams broke away from the National Women's Hockey League in 2004 before the latter suspended operations in 2007. The player-run Canadian Women's Hockey League formed after the collapse of the NWHL.

The Stars, the top team in the CWHL, lost 4-3 in overtime to WWHL champion Minnesota in the tournament opener Thursday, but exacted revenge in the bigger contest.

In the final, Montreal broke a 1-1 tie with less than five minutes left in the second period when Herbec banged in a rebound.

"I'll tell my grandkids about this," said Herbec, who turned 24 on Friday. "I'll say, 'It was amazing, it was a great weekend, we played our best hockey ever and won that cup.' "


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