Gascon is only the fourth woman to participate in a QMJHL camp. Two women have played in the QMJHL – goaltenders Manon Rhéaume and Charline Labonte – and if Gascon is part of Gatineau’s final roster, she could become the third woman to do so, without giving up her NCAA eligibility.
The NCAA has separate rules for men’s and women’s hockey with respect to trying and playing for professional teams – the NCAA classifies the major junior leagues in Canada as professional.
While male hockey players have strict rules about trying out and playing with professionals – like the “48 hour rule” – female rookies can try to play for a professional team before registering full time, provided they do not receive “more than actual and necessary expenses”, according to the NCAA Division I manual (Page 69, 22.214.171.124.1 and 126.96.36.199.1).
In Gatineau today!
Here is Ève Gascon, the 5th young woman in history to participate in a QMJHL training camp. pic.twitter.com/b7KRegiva5
– Mikaël Lalancette (@MikLalancette) August 18, 2021
For example, UMD senior goaltender Emma Soderberg was able to play two seasons in the Swedish SDHL with MODO Hockey – former Bulldogs Michela Cava and Sidney Morin were her teammates in 2017-18 – before joining the Bulldogs.
Gascon made a verbal commitment to the Bulldogs in September 2020. Because she has yet to sign a national letter of intent – it might not happen until 2023 – UMD coaching staff are unable to speak about their future goalkeeper. According to a source, the university is in contact with the NCAA to ensure that what it is doing with Gatineau is within the rules.
Already a pioneer in women’s hockey, Gascon became the first goaltender to land a starting role in a Quebec midget AAA league with Collège Esther-Blondin Phenix, who she played with from 2018-2020.
Gascon was absent all last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although she didn’t play a game in 2020-21, she still bought some hardware, wins Hockey Canada’s Isobel-Gathorne Hardy Prize for his volunteer work in Quebec.
Gascon helped Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team win silver at the 2020 World Championships, posting a .939 save percentage and a 1.38 goals-against average. His loss in four starts came in overtime in the gold medal game against a United States team coached by UMD’s Maura Crowell.