Stars take inaugural Clarkson Cup

MIKE KOREEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:10 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 for the first time, former Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson presented it to the Stars, who beat the Minnesota Whitecaps 3-1 in the final of the Scotiabank Canadian women's championship at the K-Rock Centre on Saturday.

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

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

Shauna Denis, 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 to a national women's championship in 2006, but the Cup got caught up in a licensing dispute with the artists she had commissioned to create it. A financial settlement was reached earlier this month.

"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 stop squabbling.

Club hockey in the country has had a troubled history with the Western Women's Hockey League teams breaking away from the National Women's Hockey League in 2004 before the latter league suspended operations in 2007. The player-run Canadian Women's Hockey League formed in the NWHL's wake.

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

Montreal, which beat the Brampton Thunder 4-1 in semifinal play, broke a 1-1 tie in the final with less than five minutes to go in the second period when Harbec banged a rebound past Minnesota goalie Sanya Sandahl.


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