Last week, the Connecticut Whale joined three other teams in history, by taking part in the first ever NWHL entry draft. They took an interesting approach to the draft, taking three defence out of their five picks, and not a single goalie, and followed up an excellent draft by signing three free agents in the same week.
Junior Entry Draft
Round 1, 2nd overall: Hannah Brandt, Forward
Hannah Brandt plays for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, and is a force to be reckoned with whenever she is on the ice. In 122 games with the Gophers, she has tallied 221 points, giving her a points per game of 1.8 so far in her college career. It will be no shock to anyone that she has been named the WCHA (Western Collegiate Hockey Association) player of the year for the past two seasons. In her freshman year, she was named the WCHA rookie of the year, and in 2015, she was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2015 NCAA tournament. She is also a two-time Patty Kazmaier top-three finalist. The Patty Kaz is given to the best Division I women’s college hockey player in the country.
Round 2, 6th overall: Michelle Picard, Defence
Picard has a wealth of experience, not only from her time with the Harvard University Crimson. She has an Olympic silver medal with Team USA in Sochi (2014), 2 IIHF gold medals (2013, 2015) and a silver IIHF silver medal (2012). In 97 games with the Crimson, Picard has 41 points and a +/- rating of +86.
Round 3, 10th overall: Milica McMillan, Defence
In 111 games with the Gophers, Brandt’s teammate has 92 points, an outstanding number for a defensive player. In her freshman year, she was named to the NCAA All Tournament team. She followed this up in her sophomore year by being named the WHCA Defensive Player of the Week twice in the 2013-2014 season, tied for ninth all time for points by a Gopher defensive player, and was named to the AHCA/CCM Second Team All-America and All-WCHA First Team. In her junior season, she was named to the All-WHCA Second Team.
Round 4, 14th overall, Maryanne Meneffee, Forward
Meneffe was the third Gopher drafted by the Whale, tallying 122 points in 113 games over three seasons. In her Junior year, she was ranked twelfth in the NCAA in points per game, with 1.21, and led the team with a shooting percentage of just over 22%, before assisting on the National Championship game winning goal against Harvard, and being named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team.
Round 5, 18th overall, Cassandra Poudrier, Defence
The Whale rounded out their draft by taking Poudrier, an incredibly consistent defensive player for the Cornell University Big Red. In 93 games, she’s tallied 60 points, but isn’t afraid to get involved in her own end. She was the highest scoring Cornell Freshman in her first year on the team, and was named to the ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week. In her sophomore year, she was named ECAC Hockey Player of the Week (March 11, 2014), named on the 3rd Team All-ECAC Hockey Honors, and earned an Ivy League Honorable Mention. In her junior year, she was named to the ECAC All-Tournament Team.
In the week after the draft, the Whale balanced out their drafted skaters by signing two forwards and their first goalie to one year contracts.
Sam Faber played for the University of New Hampshire from 2005 to 2009, playing 143 games and tallying 189 points for the Wildcats. In her junior year she set an NCAA record for most game winning goals in a season, with 13.
Faber has also played on the international stage, taking home a gold medal in 2008 with the rest of Team USA in the IIHF World Championships.
Shiann Darkangelo is another Team USA alumni, playing with them in the 2014 Four Nations Tournament, taking home a silver medal. In 144 games with the Quinnipiac Bobcats, she has 113 points.
Chelsea Laden is another Bobcats alumni, graduating with a .923 save percentage, and a 1.56 GAA, adding an impressive 26 shutouts in 88 games with Quinnipiac. In her senior year, she gave the Bobcats a .930 save percentage, a 1.16 GAA, and 16 shutouts, absolutely earning her the Mandi Schwartz Student-Athlete of the Year award.