At a Q&A on Periscope after the first NWHL draft on June 20th, General Manager Hayley Moore of the Boston Pride said that the team “wanted to deepen our roster on all levels” and “spread our picks across the board, rather than focusing on a single position.” The Boston Pride had third pick at the 2015 NWHL Draft, but that was third pick of an amazing crop of stellar athletes. In the five rounds of the draft, they chose three forwards, a goaltender, and one defender, four of whom are already based in Boston as rising seniors on NCAA teams. This year’s draft picks will join the Pride for the 2016-2017 season after they finish their undergraduate degrees.
First pick (3rd overall): Kendall Coyne (@KendallCoyne), 23, is a forward and #77 on the Northeastern Huskies whose hometown is Palos Heights, IL. As a member of Team USA, Coyne is an Olympic silver medalist, three times an International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Champion, and twice a IIHF Under 18 (U18) World Champion. In her NCAA career, she’s scored 165 points over three seasons; this year alone, she was a Patty Kazmaier Top-Ten Finalist and a Women’s Hockey East Association (WHEA) First Team All-Star. With that kind of play at the international and college levels, it’s easy to see what makes her such a valuable prospect to the NWHL and first choice for the Pride.
Second pick (7th overall): Emerance Maschmeyer (@emerance_m), 20, is a goaltender and #38 on the Harvard Crimson who hails from Bruderheim, AB. Before she even started at Harvard, she led Team Canada to gold with a shutout in the final game in the 2012 IIHF World Women’s U18 Championships. This spring, she served as alternate to veteran Genevieve Lacasse on the silver-winning team at the 2015 IIHF Women’s World Championships. With a .941 save percentage over her NCAA career, Maschmeyer is a powerful presence in the net, and she’s gotten the recognition to show for it as 2013 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, 2014 ECAC Goaltender of the Year, and numerous other awards and nominations. She’ll be a huge asset for the Pride next year.
Third pick (11th overall): Lexi Bender (@bendy0), 21, is a defender and #21 on the Boston College Eagles from Snohomish, WA. Bender represented Team USA on the 2014 U.S. Women’s Under-22 Select Team in a three-game exhibition series against Canada last summer and has had an impressive career on high school and college teams, playing for Shattuck-Saint Mary’s before she joined the Eagles, where she racked up six goals and 23 assists this year. GM Moore singled out Bender for praise after the draft, saying, “There were very many talented defensemen, but Bender was a staple on the Boston College blue line last season and she was an integral part of their success. She’s got great size and strength, which we’re welcoming in Boston.” I couldn’t agree more.
Fourth pick (15th overall): Miye D’Oench (@me_yay_doench), 21, is a forward and #19 on the Harvard Crimson from New York, NY. D’Oench won silver for Team USA alongside future Pride teammates Coyne on the 2012 IIHF U18 team and the U22 team last summer alongside Bender. At Harvard, D’Oench has lead the Crimson offensively: for 2013-2014, she held first place for both goals (18) and points (39), and this season, with 19 goals, she was the highest goal scorer again, though second on the team with 33 points. Prior to Harvard, she captained her club team the New Jersey Rockets U19 for two seasons. Leadership experience and goal production will be great strengths for D’Oench on the Pride.
Fifth pick (19th overall): Shannon MacAulay (@shanmac04), 21, is a forward and #4 on the Clarkson Golden Knights who calls Mt. Herbert, PEI home. Representing Team Canada, she’s played alongside Maschmeyer and against the rest of her future teammates drafted today, winning gold on Canada’s 2012 IIHF U18 team and playing in an exhibition series with the 2014 U22 team against the United States. At Clarkson, she led the team in power play goals this year and was second on the team with 33 points; she was also a 2015 ECAC Hockey Third-Team All-League All-Star and nominated for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. MacAulay will be an excellent addition to the Pride next year.
As I said in my post in about the Boston Blades and the future of US Women’s Hockey last month, the NCAA is teeming with women with backgrounds as impressive as the NWHL’s 2015 draft picks. The players who will join the Pride next year are only the very tip of the iceberg, and NWHL GM Dani Rylan concurs, saying in the post-draft Q&A that, “The Draft Class was so deep that it was really that every selection was a first-round pick. We could have gone ten rounds.” Indeed.
While Coyne, Macschmeyer, Bender, D’Oench, and MacAulay won’t join the Pride until they conclude their undergraduate and NCAA careers in 2016, the Pride are beginning to sign free agents for the NWHL’s inaugural season as well. The first free agent to sign with the Boston Pride is Amanda Pelkey (@pelkey21), 22, a forward and a recent graduate of the University of Vermont, where she was #21 on the Vermont Catamounts. Read about Pelkey and her signing on the NWHL website.