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Women’s Hockey Wednesday: The CWHL moves forward

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Plus NWHL signings, bad news from Finland and good news from Kuwait!

2017 CWHL first round draft picks Courtney Turner, Taryn Baumgardt, Kristyn Capizzano, and Cayley Mercer
2017 CWHL first round draft picks Courtney Turner (1), Taryn Baumgardt (5), Kristyn Capizzano (2), and Cayley Mercer (7).
Chris Tanouye / CWHL

Story of the week

2017 CWHL Draft Tracker - Canadian Women's Hockey League

The 2017 Canadian Women’s Hockey League Draft was anything but boring.

There are always a few on the draft list who drop out and as a result aren’t selected. We knew in advance about Jessica Sibley, who signed with the Buffalo Beauts on July 21st. The other two were goalies who appeared on the list within the first few weeks - Catherine Dura and University of Vermont’s Madison Litchfield. Oddly, Amie Varano, who signed with KMH Budapest on July 26 did get drafted by the Blades.

More unusual were the three players drafted who weren’t on the published list. The league had quoted a total number of 119 prospects in their press release, with only 113 names published on the CWHL site, so it was apparent in advance that a few extra players were a possibility. That one of those extra players was former Connecticut Whale Nicole Kosta was a bit of a shock. The Markham Thunder snapped her up in the first round. Michelle Ng, a centre from St Lawrence University was taken in the sixth round by the Boston Blades, and Carleton Ravens’ centre Audrey-Ann Boutour became the Toronto Furies’ tenth round pick. The league hasn’t yet responded to a question as to whether these were deadline adds who just were overlooked or if there were other circumstances.

The Blades picked up players from all over the US, plus two Canadians (goalie Robyn Chemago and final pick of the year Carolyn Campbell). They also got the two players with perhaps the most interesting backgrounds of the draft: Kazakhstan national team player (and now Twitter star) Bulbul Kartanbayeva and Turkish national team captain Refika Yilmaz.

Of the Furies’ thirteen picks, six listed a hometown outside of Ontario and of those, three were American (Alexa Aramburu, Grace Klienbach and Nicole Magee). This is a huge contrast to last year’s draft where only one player was drafted from outside Ontario. They also waited til their final two picks to draft any goalies, letting the Thunder snatch up Mariya Sorokina—possibly the best goalie available to the GTA teams—in the tenth round.

The Thunder may have lost noted goon Rebecca Vint but they picked up Devon Skeats so they’ll be fine. No really, with experienced pros Kosta and Lindsay Grigg at forward and defence respectively plus Sorokina challenging for a spot in net, they’ll be fine. Just remind Skeats (and everyone else) that it’s ice hockey, not roller derby.

The Canadiennes ended up with an entirely U Sports group. This could be the year that the U Sports players get to prove they’re just as good as their Div I counterparts.

The Inferno drafted two players with age exceptions - Team Canada U18 star Sophie Shirley (who is apparently committed to Wisconsin for 2018-19) and Team Alberta U18 player Kennedy Brown, a Saskatchewan commit cursed with an October birthday.

Despite a quote from the CWHL indicating that each Chinese team would be limited to six non-Chinese players, Red Star drafted eight and the Rays drafted nine. Red Star ended up with quite a young team - seven of their twenty picks were age exceptions while the Rays only took four players under the age of twenty.

And finally I’d like to congratulate Annie — of the players she highlighted in her pre-draft article, only one was taken lower than third round. They might not have all gone to GTA teams, but clearly my colleague has an eye for talent!

CWHL

CWHL Teams Take Shape In Draft
On the precipice of the league’s 11th season, the CWHL held its entry draft on Sunday.

Les Canadiennes add ten players in the 2017 CWHL Draft - Eyes On The Prize
Canadian Olympian Mélodie Daoust was the team’s first-round pick

2017 CWHL Draft recap: Who did Toronto and Markham select? - Pension Plan Puppets
Kristyn Capizzano and Nicole Kosta are the GTA’s first-round picks in the CWHL draft

Inferno Select 13 Players In CWHL Draft | NHL.com
Quinnipiac's Taryn Baumgardt was the first player selected by the Inferno in this year's draft.

A First Look At The Kunlun Red Star Roster
Today at FanRag Sports, the focus will be on the roster of Kunlun Red Star.

‘I thought it was best for my development’: Emerance Maschmeyer on her trade to Montreal - Eyes On The Prize
The goalie talks to EOTP about the trade, a budding mentorship, and what motivates her

Renewing acquaintances / Mêmes couleurs, même ville
Emerance Maschmeyer will be able to count on an old friend on the Canadiens to help her set up shop in Montreal. /Emerance Maschmeyer pourra compter sur un vieil ami chez les Canadiens pour faciliter son intégration à la vie montréalaise.

Sommer West steps down from Furies bench - The Ice Garden
It's not goodbye, just see you later for West, who's taking a break from the Furies after a long career in the league.

Anna Goulding on hockey in New Zealand, registering for CWHL and more - The Ice Garden
Plus former Furies player Kori Cheverie talks about her roommate, a CWHL draft prospect

International hockey

Kuwaiti women's ice hockey team preparing for 1st int'l tourney
The Kuwaiti women’s ice hockey team is set to take part in its first international competition scheduled in the Thai capital Bangkok on October 30th, said an official Saturday.

Canadian women's hockey team begins bid for fifth Olympic gold | CTV News
The 28 women invited to try out for Canada's Olympic women's hockey team hit the ice Monday in Calgary, where they will train together full time until the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Olympic tryout camp a double-edged sword for B.C.'s Potomak sisters - CBC Sports
Teenagers Sarah and Amy Potomak are trying to become the first sisters to play hockey together for Canada at an Olympic Games. (bonus video link)

Age is just a number
Only 20 years old, Micah Zandee-Hart has spent the last five years making tough decisions that have made her a better player, a better person, and a well-rounded leader (bonus video link)

NWHL

Buffalo Beauts Add Two More From "Beanpot" Schools
The Buffalo Beauts add two more players from "Beanpot" schools in Boston University's Maddie Elia and Harvard University's Sarah Edney.

Rebecca Vint agrees in principle to join Buffalo Beauts - The Ice Garden
Vint becomes the latest CWHL player to leave for the NWHL.

Buffalo Native Jacquie Greco Enjoys Summer Of Celebration
Jacquie Greco had a fantastic rookie season with the Beauts, culminating in the championship victory over the Boston Pride.

Hockey: Emily Fluke signs with Connecticut Whale for NWHL debut
On Tuesday, the Connecticut Whale announced that it is signing Middlebury alumna Emily Fluke for the 2017-18 NWHL season.

NCAA

Lynn's Burt focused on Eagles - Itemlive
Lynn’s Katie Burt, a goalie the Boston College women’s hockey team, may be the top draft pick for the Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League — and the No. 1 selection overall — but she’s not going anywhere this season except back to The Heights.

Ranking the 10 greatest women’s WCHA freshman seasons
From dynasty drivers to foundations for improvement, Pucks and Recreation selects the best performances from a dense pool of women’s WCHA freshman seasons.

Frost Signs New Contract :: University of Minnesota Official Athletic Site :
The Official Athletic Site of the University of Minnesota - Head coach Brad Frost's contract runs through the 2020-21 Gopher women's hockey season.

RPI Engineers - Tara Connolly Joins Women's Hockey Staff as Assistant Coach
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Associate Vice President Director of Athletics Dr. Lee McElroy has announced the hiring of Tara Connolly as an assistant women's ice hockey coach.

SDHL (Sweden)

Jenelle Kohanchuk on signing in the SDHL, CWHL expansion and more - The Ice Garden
The former Toronto Furies alternate captain talks about her decision to play overseas and reflects on CWHL expansion.

Lindenwood University - Carrie Atkinson Signs Professional Contract with Djurgården of SDHL
Former Lindenwood women's hockey player Carrie Atkinson recently signed a professional contract with Djurgården of the Swedish Women's Hockey League (SDHL)

Naisten Liiga (Finland)

Espoo United women's team folds one month before puck drop - The Ice Garden
In what's becoming an all-too-familiar story, a women's team in Finland folded so the men's team could save some money.

AWIHL (Australia)

AWIHL news: 16 August 2017 | Ice Hockey News Australia
The Rush have announced the signing of American defenceman Hannah Wright for the upcoming 2017-18 season.