Story of the Week
CWHL Draft Pool Shallow In Olympic Year
Previous discussions have been about the merits of a particular article. This is not that.
Less than 24 hours after this article was published, Clarkson Golden Knights star Cayley Mercer and nine other players signed up for the CWHL Draft. That by itself speaks to one of the main flaws of the article: its timing.
First off, we’re seven weeks away from the CWHL Draft registration deadline. There are now 42 players on the list. Sure, that’s 34 short of the total from last year, but there are a number of factors to consider. As the universe so kindly pointed out, Cayley Mercer still had lots of time left to sign up and lo, she did.
There are five players centralized for Team Canada who are draft-eligible. One of them has already signed up for the draft. Four players is not the same as 34. It’s not the Olympics having an effect on the pool — the math is pretty clear on that. Plus, the 76 players drafted last year was a record-breaking number for the CWHL. If they do fall a little short it won't be a sign of major crisis.
The league is also down some GMs. At the very least, Brampton is working with an interim GM and Toronto is working with no GM. Until those hirings are finalized (plus any changes in personnel to Calgary and Boston that might be lurking) the GTA is severely lacking in people who are supposed to do the recruiting. Not to mention the league front office is down a Director of Marketing and Communications, which means some people are doing double duty and things are a little slower to get out than they might otherwise be.
And again, it's mid-June. A bunch of players signed up to the draft the weekend before last year’s deadline. At about this point last year, 35 players had signed up for the CWHL draft, so even if we're talking about the 32 players on the list at the time the article was published, the pace for signups does not seem to have significantly slowed.
Currently, there's 35 players entered for the 2016 #CWHL draft. 5 goaltenders, 12 defenders, 16 forwards, and 2 players who can play f/d.— Hannah Bevis (@Hannah_Bevis1) June 14, 2016
Furthermore, there’s no need to panic over the lack of Division I players. Two-thirds of the draft last year were not Division I players, and not all of those Division I players were graduating seniors. Let’s not pretend Division I automatically gets all the good players — or does Ann-Sophie Bettez not count? There are a lot of paths to professional women’s hockey, and the CWHL is another step up for everyone, whether they’re out of USports or the Turkish Women’s Ice Hockey League or Hockey East. One prospect who has been on the CWHL Draft list for a while is Mélodie Daoust — an Olympic gold medalist who never played Division I hockey. It’s the primary developmental league for high-level women’s players, but it’s hardly the only one, and like all leagues it includes a sliding scale of talent.
The current list of players signed up for the CWHL Draft includes the captain of the Turkish national team, at least two players who have received an age exemption (one of whom made quite the impression at this year’s U18 Worlds), a number of U Sports stars (one with connections to both the NHL and the South Korean women’s national team) and players coming out of a women’s league in Western Canada.
There are so many stories hidden in this year’s draft pool already and this is the angle you want to go with? Women’s hockey fans deserve more respect.
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