The 2018 CWHL Draft took place Sunday afternoon at the D.K. Doc Seaman Hockey Resource Centre inside the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence in Toronto.
The small auditorium was full to bursting with players and their families, many of whom were GTA prospects. The CWHL conducted 10 rounds live, broadcast via a stream on their website. The Markham Thunder continued for one more round after the broadcast, and the Toronto Furies finished in the twelfth round.
Toronto also had an extra pick in both the first and third rounds as a result of the trade that sent Erin Ambrose to the Canadiennes last season, bringing their total to 14 picks this year.
PPP sent a strong contingent to the draft (it was Annie’s first time), where we learned many things, some of which we’ll share as we move into the pre-season. On to the picks!
1. Sarah Nurse, LW, University of Wisconsin
Sarah Nurse was the only Canadian Olympian and one of the most coveted forwards on the draft list. Nurse has world-class hands, and we’re looking forward to watching her finish off passes from Natalie Spooner.
2. Shea Tiley, G, Clarkson University
The best Ontarian-born goaltender graduating this year by a mile, Shea Tiley had as good of a collegiate career as anyone could want.... Tiley is exceptional.
3. Brittany Howard, RW, Robert Morris University
Howard put up impressive numbers in her NCAA career...She became Robert Morris University’s all-time points leader on October 8th of last year, and then spent the bulk of her senior season ensuring that her record would stand for a good long while.
4. Mellissa Channell, D, University of Wisconsin
A great addition to Toronto’s blueline, Mellissa Channell skated on Wisconsin’s first pair in 2017, a season that saw them go to the national championship game. She’s on the smaller side, especially for a defender, but she’s a playmaker who can contribute on the scoreboard (64 points in 147 GP). She’s been out of organized hockey for a year, but PPP has had our eye on her since last spring. On the Furies, she’ll reunite with Wisconsin teammate and good friend Sarah Nurse.
5. Julia Fedeski, D, University of New Hampshire
Julia Fedeski is a big-bodied, shot-blocking defender who’s spent the past four years playing for the University of New Hampshire. She’s also got a wicked shot that she uses well, particularly on the power play. Her acquisition will help take away the sting of losing Carlee Campbell to maternity leave. Fedeski scored 55 points in 130 GP, and had seven goals her senior season, most of them with the player advantage.
6. Emma Greco, D, Connecticut Whale
Greco comes to the Furies from the Connecticut Whale of the NWHL—she joined them late in the season, and played six regular-season games and one playoff game, registering two assists. A graduate of Quinnipiac University, she was a two-sport athlete in the NCAA, playing both hockey and soccer. Before university, she played for the Toronto Aeros (like many other members of the league), captaining them her final season.
7. Mackenzie MacNeil, RW, University of Vermont
MacNeil scored 37 points in 140 games as a forward for the Catamounts. She also played on the Toronto Aeros, overlapping with Greco for a year.
8. Megan Quinn, D, Syracuse University
Quinn scored 43 points in 140 games at Syracuse University.
9. Alysha Burriss, LW, Syracuse University
Quinn’s Syracuse teammate Burriss had 94 points in 142 career games.
10. Emma Pearson, D, University of Western Ontario
Pearson spent one season at Brown University before transferring to the University of Western Ontario, where she played for four years, scoring 32 points in 89 games. She ended the 2017-18 season as an OUA second team all-star. On the Furies she will rejoin former teammates Michelle Saunders and Sydney Kidd.
11. Andrea Ziesmann, D, SUNY Plattsburgh
Ziesmann scored 60 points in 117 games for D-III SUNY Plattsburgh, captaining the team in her senior season.
12. Stefanie Thomson, LW, Cobourg Senior Women’s B
A 2014 graduate of Union College, Thomson scored 43 points in 119 games in the NCAA.
13. Briana Vachal, D, Hamilton Hawks Sr AA
14. Theresa Woodland, F, Hamilton Hawks IA
1. Victoria Bach, C, Boston University
Bach is coming off a phenomenal senior season with Boston University where she put up 67 points in 33 regular season games and became a top-three Patty Kazmaier finalist... If there’s one thing Bach has done over her college career it’s score a whole hell of a lot.
2. Ailish Forfar, C, Ryerson University
Ailish Forfar is having a month. She was selected for the U Sports team that participated in Hockey Canada’s women’s development camp, and is a candidate for the 2019 Universiade team. Upon returning from camp, she was courted by both GTA GMs before pre-signing with Markham. According to GM Chelsea Purcell, because Markham is so deep at centre, they’re going to give her a try on the wing.
3. Megan Sullivan, LW, Colgate University
Sullivan hit 100 points in her career at Colgate, capped off by a 35-point senior season that saw her team go to the national championship game. She’s one of the best forwards in the draft not snapped up in a pre-signing, and is a wise third-round pick, especially considering Markham’s strength on defense.
4. Daniella Matteucci, D, Clarkson University
A national champion with Clarkson in 2014, Matteucci appears to have been out of high-level hockey since her graduation in 2015, although she’s still been competing in elite sports with Canada’s National Women’s Baseball Team. As a member of the Thunder, she will reunite with Clarkson teammates Erica Howe and Jamie Lee Rattray.
5. Gina Repaci, D, University of Vermont
Repaci won a silver medal with Team Canada at the 2011 U18 tournament, and went on to the University of Vermont. She spent five years there, redshirting as a freshman, and finishing her career with 47 points in 135 games. She wore the C at Vermont her senior season, graduating in 2016.
6. Kelly Gribbons, C, University of Guelph
Gribbons was an OUA second team all-star two years running. She played for Canada at the 2017 Universiade in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and was on Team CIS (now U Sports) at Hockey Canada’s women’s development camp in 2016.
7. Elijah Milne-Price, G, Robert Morris University
While Milne-Price only spent one year as a starter at RMU, she played very well her senior season, and has the potential to grab one of the scarce roster spots for goalies in the CWHL. If she makes the Thunder, she’d most likely go back on the bench next year as third goalie, with Liz Knox and Erica Howe both still around.
8. Meeri Räisänen, G, HPK Hämeenlinna
That Meeri Räisänen was available in the eighth round is absolutely criminal. She won bronze as Noora Räty’s backup at the 2018 Olympics and also won bronze as Finland’s starting goalie at the 2015 World Championships. It’s likely that she won’t play for Markham this year, as neither Howe nor Knox has shown any signs of wanting to retire and Räisänen does not want to sit on the bench — she wants to play. However, after Worcester tried to draft her in the ninth round, Thunder GM Chelsea Purcell indicated she would be willing to consider a trade with the Blades and if they’re smart they’ll take her up on that.
9. Mariah Fujimagari, G, HC SKP Bratislava Police
Markham native Fujimagari graduated from the University of Maine in 2017, where she played 34 games spread over her four years. She’s spent the last year in Slovakia playing for SKP Bratislava. Like Milne-Price, Fujimagari is likely in competition for the third goalie spot in Markham.
10. Malika Aldabergenova, C, Aisulu Hockey Club
Aldabergenova has a personal connection to the Thunder—GM Chelsea Purcell was her teammate on Aisulu Almaty. Last year, she had 7 points in 16 games with them in the EWHL, and 28 points in 11 games with the same team playing in the Kazakh women’s league. She also scored two goals for Kazakhstan playing at D1B Worlds. Aldabergenova has at least recently put up better numbers than last year’s Kazakh CWHL pick, Bulbul Kartanbayeva; whether that will translate into a roster spot on a CWHL team remains to be seen.
11. Kimberly Gallagher, D, Detroit Revolution Sr B.
Both Toronto and Markham will be moving into the tryout phase shortly, followed by two or three pre-season games each, including a game against each other on Sunday, September 30 at the Aurora Community Centre as part of the Central York Girls Hockey Association’s 25th anniversary celebrations.
As for the regular season, word is that the schedule should be out within the next two weeks and we’ll be sure to bring you details.