Trained With Lightning
In the fall of 1992, Rheaume was invited to the training camp of the expansion NHL team, the Tampa Bay Lightning. While it was done for publicity in part, she was also invited because of her talent. During one preseason game against the St. Louis Blues, she played for one period, allowing two goals on nine shots. After the pre-season, the team offered her a contract to play in their minor league organization, the Atlanta Knights. She signed a three-year deal that ensured she would not be exploited but developed as a hockey talent.
The tryout with Tampa Bay led to lots of publicity that Rheaume did not enjoy. She also did not speak much English, so the demands of her notoriety were hard on her in other ways as well. She told Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, "I did not ask for the attention, but it came to me, and it was very uncomfortable. I was there because I wanted to play hockey and make a living." The pressure led to three stomach ulcers over the next five years.
Rheaume continued to break down barriers. On December 13, 1993, she played in a regular season game for the Knights, against the Salt Lake City Golden Eagles. This was the first time a woman played in a regular season men's professional hockey game. She played for 5:49, allowing one goal on five shots. During the following season, she was given more seasoning by playing in the East Coast Hockey League. Played for Knoxville Cherokees, then traded to Nashville Knights. She earned her first professional victory with Knoxville during the season, a 9-6 victory over the Johnstown Chiefs. In three games she had a 2-0-1 record; with Nashville, a 3-0-0 record.
In 1994, Rheaume again played for the Canadian's women team at the World Championships in Lake Placid. But she continued to play primarily with men's teams as well. In 1994-95, she played for the Vegas Thunder of the International Hockey League and the Tallahassee Tiger Sharks (ECHL). During the summer of 1995, she played roller hockey with the New Jersey Rockin' Rollers, Roller International League. During summer of 1996, she again played pro roller hockey for the Ottawa Loggers and Sacramento River Rats (RHI). In 1996-97, she played for the Reno Renegades of the WCHL.