International Ice Hockey Federation

Chloe keys France

Chloe keys France

Aurard twins developing in Vermont

Published 10.01.2016 06:16 GMT-5 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Chloe keys France
ST. CATHARINES, CANADA - JANUARY 9: Sweden vs France preliminary round - 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women's World Championship. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/HHOF-IIHF Images)
One could be forgiven for now knowing too much about the French women’s junior program.

That’s because between 2009 and 2015 it played exclusively in Division I, not quite good enough for the top level of WW18 play, but comfortably superior for being demoted further down the IIHF food chain.

All of that changed one day last year. In fact, it was a year ago today – 10 January 2015, in Vaujany, France. In the final game of the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship Division I, the situation was simple as the host French played Hungary. A French win meant St. Catharines for 2016; a loss meant a trip to Division I… again.

The Hungarians scored the only goal of the first period, but Jade Vix tied the game late in the second and scored again in the third off a pass from Chloe Aurard to cement a 2-1 win and an historic promotion to the top level.

“When we tied the game 1-1 against Hungary, and when we scored again to make it 2-1, we were so happy,” Aurard recalled from St. Catharines of events from a year ago. “When the game was over, we jumped on each other. We were so excited. We didn’t realize at the time how much we’d appreciate it so much.”

Aurard is here in Ontario to help France make the next step – to stay in the top level. This is her third WW18 to go with her participation in the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship Division I last year, and she is clearly the most skilled forward on the team. One can pick her out on ice by her strong skating, confident puckhandling, and aggressive play going to the net.

Scouts have taken notice of both her and her twin sister, goalie Anais, who was named the team’s best player in the team’s first game despite giving up eleven goals to Finland.

Chloe and Anais came by their love of the game naturally. “When we were younger, we watched some French league games with my older brother and got interested in playing,” Chloe said. “I just wanted to play hockey and improve. I played with boys in U13, U15, some U18.”

Her love of the game, and her intense desire to improve, earned her and her sister scholarships at Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, Vermont.

“Two years ago at the World Championship, some coaches asked me if I wanted to go to Vermont College,” Chloe explained. “My sister just followed me, which was good for both of us. I had someone to practise my shooting and she had someone to practise making saves.”

And now the twins are not only studying in English and developing their hockey skills, they are front and centre with the team’s ambitions. Staying up will require beating Switzerland on Monday night, a grand task, to be sure, but not impossible.

After all, they have the scoring (Chloe) and goaltending (Anais).


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