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Women’s Hockey Wednesday: Counting down to the 2018 CWHL Draft

Also Blake Bolden signs with the Beauts, the 2019 Worlds schedule and logo are out, and the Whitecaps have a new logo.

Venla Hovi #9 of Finland celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in the first period against the United States during the Women’s Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group A game on day two of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey
CWHL Draft prospect Venla Hovi celebrates after scoring a goal at the Pyeongchang Olympics. What team will select Hovi on Sunday?
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Story of the week: 2018 CWHL Draft

CWHL Draft Preview - Kirsten Whelan - Victory Press

2018 CWHL Draft Preview: Top five NCAA players - The Ice Garden

The 2018 CWHL Draft is this Sunday, so all eyes will be on the Mastercard Centre to find out where the latest crop of potential women’s hockey stars will land.

There are currently 67 players on the CWHL prospect list. At least 66 of them will be drafted. American Nina Rodgers recently signed with the Connecticut Whale, but has not removed herself from the list. If a team elects to draft her she could come into the CWHL in a future year as a free agent instead of having to go through the draft process again.

The process for the CWHL Draft starts with signing up. Unlike say, the NHL, players have to formally register to be drafted. This year’s registration fee was $150 (Canadian). This guarantees each player a tryout with the team that drafts them, and helps defray ice time and equipment costs for the tryouts.

When a player signs up to the draft, they can indicate up to three “Acceptable Locations” where they are willing to play. The locations are Calgary, the GTA, Montréal, Boston (now Worcester) and China. The GTA counts as two choices, and players cannot specify a preference for Markham or Toronto. Players interested in China should probably talk to the team beforehand, as they have a limited amount of spots for non-Chinese players. Players can change their location choices as late as this Thursday if their situation changes (or if a GM talks a good game).

Players are given so much control over where they want to play because the CWHL maximum salary is $10,000 — not enough to live on for a season in any of the locations. Interested fans will find hints as to where a player is likely to go based on their listed hometown or their college team. Shea Tiley, from Owen Sound, ON, who played with Clarkson University, just south of the Ontario border, isn’t likely to be going to Worcester. International players like Finnish Olympian Meeri Räisänen, however, could go just about anywhere.

Because players can straight out pick their team by submitting just one location choice, teams have in the past been able to advertise that a big name would be joining the team well in advance of the draft — Marie-Philip Poulin and Hayley Wickenheiser were announced as joining Montréal and Calgary respectively several months before their drafts actually took place.

Historically Markham and Toronto haven’t been able to get in on the fun before the day of the draft, since the two GTA teams were competing with each other for prospects. This year the league changed that by announcing a pre-signing window. Teams could court and sign all their draft picks in the first two rounds up to August 17.

Markham chose to use both of their slots, announcing their first pre-signing (Victoria Bach) a month ahead of the draft for maximum publicity. The draft order is in reverse order of the 2017-18 regular season standings, so this also meant that Markham had an opportunity to at least try to beat Toronto to a couple of players they were interested in. Due to the Erin Ambrose trade in late 2017, Toronto had three slots — their own picks and Montréal’s first round pick. However if the Furies have made any pre-signings (and GM Sami Jo Small seemed to indicate she was going to) they haven’t made any announcements as of yet.

Beyond the pre-signings, draft order isn’t much of a concern for teams outside of the GTA. While an early draft pick is still expected to be closer to a lock for a team’s roster than a later round pick, some GMs choose to select players who are able to attend the draft in person before those who are not. A player who has indicated multiple locations might also go earlier. Goalies, as with the NHL draft, usually fall to the later rounds as well.

How many rounds will there be? Too soon to tell. With players being able to choose their locations the numbers tend to be uneven, with the Blades often the last team standing. In 2017, with approximately 50 more players in the draft, all teams went 12 rounds, and Boston drafted alone after the 20th round.

This year’s draft includes six Olympians, eight players from outside North America, four North Americans who don’t appear to have played any college hockey, and twelve players with some level of elite or professional experience in a league somewhere in the world. It may not be the sort of draft an NHL fan is used to but there will still be lots of surprises in store.

CWHL

Hefford has big plans in store for women’s hockey | The London Free Press
On Tuesday, Jayna Hefford showed some local girls how to generate more zip on their shots.If she gets her way as the new Canadian Women’s Hockey League commissioner, a few of those youngsters may end up with more coin in their pockets from playing the game they love.

Interim, former CWHL heads Hefford, Andress on why ‘one league’ is easier said than done – TheHockeyNews
Jayna Hefford hardly had a moment to bask in the excitement of her new post as interim CWHL commissioner before the questions started rolling in

CWHL announces Blades move to Worcester, get new logo - The Ice Garden
FYI Woo-ster not War-chester

Canadian Women’s Hockey League’s Boston Blades move to Worcester, will play at Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center
The Canadian Women’s Hockey League announced on Monday the relocation of the Boston Blades to Worcester.

Les Canadiennes sign F Genevieve Bannon - Eyes On The Prize
Montreal used the CWHL Draft pre-signing to secure their first draft pick

Small steps away from the crease, into GM chair with eye on rejuvenating CWHL’s Furies – TheHockeyNews
Sami Jo Small had a decision to make this summer.

Calgary Inferno bring back four members of Team Canada | Calgary Sun
The Calgary Inferno open the hockey season with a silver lining to smile about.

CWHL News: Markham Thunder pre-sign Ryerson star forward Ailish Forfar - Pension Plan Puppets
The Thunder’s final pre-signing comes directly from a week with the U Sports team at Hockey Canada’s development camp.

Where are they now: Eight years later, Liz Knox hopes to continue to grow Canadian women’s hockey — Women’s Hockey — U SPORTS
With a resume that has winning all over it, former Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks goalie Liz Knox can add 2018 Clarkson Cup champion to the list

International hockey

2019 Women’s Worlds logo, schedule unveiled - The Ice Garden
Tournament to be played in Espoo, Finland from April 4-14

Host Finland opens vs. U.S.
Schedule for first 10-team Women’s Worlds

2018-19 Upper Deck Team Canada Juniors Goes for Gold
2018-19 Upper Deck Team Canada Juniors will offer a look at the game’s future along with some of the best women skating today and a smattering of legends.

Mira Kuisma Named Finland U18 Head Coach - The Ice Garden
Fresh off repeat Aurora Borealis Cup victories, Kuisma takes on a new challenge.

New assistant coach for the women’s U18 national team - Florence Schelling - swisshockeynews.ch
Florence Schelling, former goalkeeper of the Swiss women’s national team, is the new assistant coach for the U18-women.

Tournament crowns in the Czech Republic | Swedish Ice Hockey Association
Short Swedish article about the 4 Nations tournament August 23-25 in Hodonin, Czech Republic

Ice Hockey UK hold first women’s development camp in Sheffield
Ice Hockey UK have held their first Women’s Development Camp in Sheffield as they aim to develop a pathway for young female players.

NWHL

2018 NWHL Free Agency Tracker - The Ice Garden
Your convenient one-stop shop for all the NWHL signing news. Highlights: Blake Bolden returns to North America and signs with Buffalo, who also signed Olympian Emily Pfalzer.

2018 Women’s Hockey Top 25 Under 25 | The List - The Ice Garden
The Ice Garden once again tackles the question “who are the best women’s hockey players under the age of 25?” So far they’ve gone from the Honorable Mentions through to number 11 (note: our own Baseball Annie did participate in the vote although she takes no responsibility for the overall results)

Whitecaps unveil new logo - The Ice Garden
The reviews are in, and they’re... mixed?

To Switzerland and back, Blake Bolden finds her new hockey home in Buffalo – The Buffalo News
There are a lot of firsts on Bolden’s resume when it comes to the intersection of her race, gender and sport.

Emily Pfalzer headlines Buffalo’s stacked blue line - The Ice Garden
The Beauts blue line looks better than ever after an offseason filled with big signings.

Connecticut Whale: Roesler Becomes NWHL’s 1st Player/Assistant Coach
Cydney Roesler: “I’m really looking forward to this new opportunity as player-assistant coach for the Whale. Coaching is something I’m passionate about.”

NCAA

Penn State women's hockey adds goalie transfer from defending NCAA Champions | Women's Ice Hockey | collegian.psu.edu
Penn State women's hockey has added goalie Jenna Brenneman from the two-time defending NCAA champions Clarkson for the 2018-2019 women’s ice hockey season and is eligible to compete immediately.

U Sports

U Sports wins could be boost for Colarossi, Voyageurs | Sudbury Star
”I have been getting calls from players, saying, ‘I saw that you were the coach for the U Sports All-Star team,’ interested in Laurentian.”

European club hockey

Women’s Hockey Update: August 20th, 2018 | CONWAY’S RUSSIAN HOCKEY BLOG
Time -- indeed, well past time -- for an update on what has been happening in Russian women’s hockey this month!

WOMENS LEAGUES: competition format for 18/19 confirmed – English Ice Hockey Association
The Women’s League Management Committee of the EIHA are pleased to confirm the format of Women’s League play for the 18/19 season.