Interview with PWHL Toronto draft pick Rebecca Leslie — Must-click women’s hockey links
The IX: Hockey Friday with The Ice Garden, Oct. 6, 2023
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This week, we talked to PWHL Toronto draft pick Rebecca Leslie. The Canadian forward was drafted No. 71 in the PWHL Draft. She played college hockey at Boston University before joining the Calgary Inferno, where she won a Clarkson Cup. When the CWHL folded, she played in the PWHPA. We chatted with her about the draft, the new league and more.
You were drafted by Toronto a few weeks ago and you were at the draft. What was the draft like?
RL: I was in a hotel with some family and friends. I went over to the draft with one of my good friends Jesse Compher. So we walked the red carpet together. It was really cool to see a ton of minor hockey girls there too to greet us. We got to take some photos and do some media. Once we were in the draft area, it was a waiting game. It was a really cool experience — [an] historic day for women’s hockey. It was so cool to see all of our hard work kind of finally pay off and it was just a really exciting time for me and my friends and teammates.
What was that feeling like when your name got called by Toronto?
RL: It was really exciting. I just felt honored to be selected. There’s a ton of incredible hockey players in the world. To be selected in the first-ever PHWL draft, I was just super honored and excited. I think that [Toronto general manager Gina Kingsbury and head coach Troy Ryan] had put together a really, really great organization and great group of people. The players that they selected I think could build a really good foundation for the team.
Is there anyone in particular you’re looking forward to playing with?
RL: Reuniting with my BU teammate Jesse Compher would be great, and then Blayre Turnbull is one of my good friends who I played with in Calgary in the CWHL back in the day. Renata Fast is one of the best defenseman in the world, so I’m excited to have someone like her on my team rather than play against her like the past few years.
Usually right around now, you’d be probably ramping up going into like preseason games, preseason practices; but obviously this year, it’s a little different since the season won’t start until January. How has that impacted your training?
RL: It’s definitely made this offseason feel quite long. Our season ended in March last year. An extended offseason has allowed me to focus more on hockey and has allowed me to train longer and get stronger, physically. Couple of weeks ago, I was at a Hockey Canada hockey camp. I trained a lot of the summer leading up to that. Now, post-Hockey Canada camp, the next six weeks I’m focusing on being in the best shape that I can be on the ice to ensure that I come into training camp ready to go.
Okay so dream lineup, who would you have on your dream line with you?
RL: I would have Marie-Philip Poulin as the centerman and probably Blayre Turnbull on the right wing. I would have probably Savannah Harmon, Renata Fast and then in net probably Ann Renée Desbiens.
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