Hilary Knight, Other Olympians leave CWHL for NWHL

We’re hearing that Hilary Knight, Kacey Bellamy, Brianna Decker, and Gigi Marvin are going to the NWHL’s Boston Pride, and that Meghan Duggan will be going to the Buffalo Beauts.

Knight, Bellamy, Decker, Duggan and Marvin are all formerly of the CWHL’s Boston Blades. All of them played on the 2014 US Olympic team that won silver, and Duggan captained the team.

Hilary Knight finished out the 2014/2015 season for the Blades with 22 points, 6th in the overall league, in 13 games. She had 8 goals, 14 assists, and finished out the year a +23. She had 7 points in the 2015 Clarkson Cup tournament, where she won her second Clarkson Cup. A former Wisconsin Badger, Knight has won two Olympic silver medals playing for the US in 2014 and 2010.

Kacey Bellamy also has won two Olympic silver medals, playing with Knight in the 2010 and 2014 Olympics. She put up 11 points in 18 games last season for the Blades as a defense, also winning two Clarkson Cups with the Blades in 2013 and 2015.

Brianna Decker won the 2015 Rookie of the Year award in her season with the Boston Blades, putting up 32 points in 12 games. She first put on a Blades jersey in mid-January, and went to town, becoming the second overall points leader in the league. She won the 2014 Olympic silver medal with the US, and the 2012 Patty Kazmaier while playing for the University of Wisconsin.

Gigi Marvin also played for the Blades, putting up 5 points in 15 games as a defense in the 2012/2013 season. She has one Clarkson Cup with the Blades.   She also has two Olympic silver medals, having played in the 2010 and 2014 Olympics for the US. A former Minnesota Golden Gopher, she’s a big, mobile defender, with an emphasis on puck possession.

Meghan Duggan finished the 2014/2015 season for the Blades with 6 points in 7 games. Another former Badger, she won the 2011 Patty Kazmaier Award. She has two Olympic silver medals, playing for the US in 2010 and 2014.  She also started coaching for Clarkson University in 2014.



The Boston Pride: Draft Recap, Signing Amanda Pelkey

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.

Boston Pride Summer Training Camp Report

Players on the ice at the Boston Pride Training Camp
Players at the Boston Pride Training Camp, photographed by Erin Bartuska

The Boston Pride’s Training Camp was held this weekend at Ristuccia Memorial Arena in Wilmington, MA. For the regular season, the Pride will be playing at Allied Veterans Memorial Rink in Everett. I went on Saturday morning to check out the players in attendance. While the stands were far from full, I definitely had company, including others snapping photos of the action on the ice.

The roster available at the door was full of familiar names and even more CWHL players than I expected. A breakdown:

Blades: Exactly half of the 30 players on the roster are from the Boston Blades, 14 of them current or former players, one (Brooke Fernandez, most recently of the ZSC Lions of the Swiss Women’s Hockey League) drafted by the Blades in the 15th round of the 2014 CWHL draft.

Olympians: Two-time Olympians Kelli Stack and Kacey Bellamy ( who was present but not skating).

US natives who’ve been playing abroad: Brooke Fernandez, Chelsea Furlani of Bolzano Eagles in the Elite Women’s Hockey League, and Cherie Hendrickson, a former Blades player who most recently played for the Moscow Region Tornado of the Russian Women’s Hockey League.

Team USA: In addition to Stack and Bellamy, the roster features several other players who’ve represented the US at the national level, including Emily Field, Amanda Pelkey, and Marissa Gedman.

All of the players present have played at the collegiate level, most of them for ECAC Hockey or Hockey East schools. All but Kierstin Visser are US natives.

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Boston Pride (NWHL) Summer Training Camp from Erin Bartuska on Vimeo.