Who went where in the PWHL draft? — Must-click women’s hockey links
The IX: Hockey Friday with The Ice Garden, Sept. 22, 2023
Happy Hockey Friday from The Ice Garden’s Simon Hopkins. Let’s start with the week’s biggest women’s hockey news — the PWHL draft.
The six PWHL general managers convened in Toronto on Monday to select players in a snaking draft to build out their rosters. In total, 90 players were chosen over the course of nearly five hours. Let’s take a look at who each team took in the first round.
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Minnesota: Taylor Heise (F, USA)
Heise was the obvious first overall choice. She is the hero Minnesota wants to lead their franchise. The young Minnesota native was a star in high school, winning Ms. Hockey, Minnesota’s high school MVP award, in 2018. She scored nearly 100 goals over five seasons with the University of Minnesota, winning the Patty Kazmaier Award in her penultimate season. The dynamic forward won gold with the USA women’s national team at the World Championships in 2023 after a dominant performance at the World Championships in 2022. Minnesotans will be excited to watch this hometown star shine.
Toronto: Jocelyne Larocque (D, CAN)
Manitoba’s Jocelyne Larocque will stay in Canada by joining Toronto’s PWHL team. The defender was among the most experienced players available to be drafted on Monday. She won two NCAA championships with the University of Minnesota Duluth and won championships with WWHL and CWHL teams. Internationally, Larocque has three Olympic medals and ten World Championship medals. Her leadership and defensive prowess will be central to Toronto’s success.
Boston: Alina Müeller (F, SUI)
The first European player selected in the draft was the young star from Switzerland. Müeller is very familiar with Boston, having attended Northeastern University. Though she never won it, Mueller was a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier all five years she played NCAA hockey. As a 19-year-old, she was electric at the 2018 Olympic Games with seven goals in six games. She has a proven ability to find the net with a sharp shot and high puck awareness. Boston adds some of the best PWHL offensive power with this pick.
New York: Ella Shelton (D, CAN)
New York picked up a sparky young defender in Ella Shelton with the fourth overall pick — the first to send a Canadian south. Shelton has already appeared in four international tournaments with Team Canada, contributing her fair share of points. In college, she won two national championships while helping Clarkson’s blueline. The blueliner had five goals in 18 games with team Scotiabank as a heavyweight player in the PWHPA.
Ottawa: Savannah Harmon (D, USA)
Savannah Harmon was the first American player drafted to a Canadian team. Harmon is smaller in size, but she plays with force in front of her own net, able to tie up opposing centers effectively and give her goalie space. She’s a two-way player, strong in her own end and effective directing play from the point. Ottawa will likely find strength in running plays through her.
Montreal: Erin Ambrose (D, CAN)
Erin Ambrose, once a CWHL Montreal player, will return to Montreal again. Ambrose also won championships with Clarkson in addition to gold medals with Team Canada. Her quick passing makes her a deadly play-maker. She’ll be an asset to Montreal, sparking offense for their top forwards. Expect her to send breakaway passes to Marie-Philip Poulin all season.
Czech women’s hockey coach Carla MacLeod will remain with the team for three more years. MacLeod led the Czechs to their first-ever medals at the top flight of international hockey. She has proven herself effective at developing programs, and the Czechs are hoping she can build theirs even further. MacLeod has recently joined the PWHL to coach Ottawa, but she is no stranger to double duty, having coached at the University of Calgary for the last couple of seasons.
Canadian goaltender Mariah Fujimagari has signed a contract with the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL. They are a minor hockey team two levels junior to the Vancouver Canucks. Fujimagari proved herself as a netminder at the University of Maine before playing for teams across professional leagues in Europe and North America.
Home of Hockey TV The Swedish women’s hockey league will stream all their games to a new online platform. Games will be available to fans outside of Sweden, including North America.
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