April 29, 2013
MADISON, Wis. -- The Wisconsin women's hockey team and head coach Mark Johnson announced the signing of goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens (La Malbaie, Quebec) to a National Letter of Intent on Monday. Desbiens will join the Badgers for the 2013-14 season.
"We're really excited that she's coming in," Johnson said. "I think she's going to be a great goaltender for us."
A native of La Malbaie, Quebec, Desbiens is a 5-foot-9 goaltender who spent the 2012-13 season playing for the Sainte-Foy/Sillery Gouverneurs men's junior AA team. With Sainte-Foy/Sillery, she recorded the best goals-against average in the league (1.86). She also helped Les Gouverneurs to a bronze medal at the 2013 Dodge Cup, the Quebec provincial championship.
In 2011-12, Desbiens played with the Beaubourg Seigneurs, a boy's midget AA team in Beauport, Quebec. She was named the best goaltender in the Quebec Midget AA League, leading the league with a 1.99 goals-against average. She also helped Montreal of the Canadian Women's Hockey League to a Clarkson Cup title, playing in one game during the playoffs for the Stars.
Also in 2012, Desbiens partcipated in a training camp with the Shawinigan Cataractes, a men's major junior team in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
"Having played with an upper-level boys' team is going to prepare her well for Division I women's college hockey," Johnson said of Desbiens.
At the international level, Desbiens competed with the Canadian U-22 team last August in a three-game series with the United States, playing against current Badgers' Alex Rigsby, Alev Kelter and Brianna Decker. Desbiens made 26 saves in the first game, but Canada lost all three games, conceding four goals in each game. She also won a silver medal with the Canadian U-18 Team at the 2011 IIHF World Women's Under-18 Championship in Stockholm, Sweden.
Desbiens joins forwards Sydney McKibbon, Sarah Nurse and Anne Pankowski, along with defensemen Melissa Channell and Jenny Ryan in Wisconsin's incoming class.
"We're excited about the kids that are coming in," Johnson said. "Getting the opportunity to sign Ann is the icing on the cake in regards to solidifying our goaltending position."
Johnson on Desbiens: "She has great size and athletic ability and I think she's going to give us a goaltender that is similar to Jesse [Vetter] and Alex [Rigsby] that can come in and play a lot of minutes and do a great job for us."
Personal: Parents are Raynald and Claire Desbiens ... catches left ... is the youngest of five in her family ... has three older brothers, Martin (29), Dominic (26) and Vincent (23) as well as an older sister Sabrina (28) ... hobbies include reading and gymnastics ... intends to major in business at Wisconsin.
Why Wisconsin? "It is an amazing hockey program with a nice location and a great coach."