Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Alexandra Carpenter ready to take a bite out of the Big Apple

With the first pick overall in the inaugural NWHL Draft, the New York Riveters selected more than just a franchise player in Alexandra Carpenter, but a player that the entire league can be built around. It marked a draft that saw the New York Riveters emerge with the best class of talent in a draft filled with a remarkable group of prospects that would be the envy of leagues throughout the rest of the world.

Having won the 2015 Patty Kazmaier Award, it was part of a magical NCAA season that not only saw Carpenter break some of her own Hockey East scoring records, it culminated with a trip to the Frozen Four. Complementing such a season was the fact that this second-generation hockey star was the captain of the US national team at the 2014 Four Nations Cup, while winning the gold medal with the US at the 2015 IIHF Women’s Worlds in Malmo, Sweden.

Of note, Carpenter was not the only member of the Boston College Eagles program selected by the Riveters. Joining Carpenter among the Riveters draft class were the likes of Haley Skarupa and Dana Trivigno. Not only have they played together with the Eagles, but all three have been teammates on the US National Team. Other Riveters picks included Canadian hockey players Erin Ambrose (the first Canadian-born blueliner selected in NWHL Draft history) and goaltender Kimberly Newell from Princeton.

Adding to the anticipation of Carpenter’s arrival is the fact that fellow prodigy Hannah Brandt was selected by the Connecticut Whale. Both teammates on a US team that captured the gold medal at the 2015 IIHF Women’s Worlds, the two have the chance to create a flagship rivalry that may define the league for years to come, while building interest in the game.

Perhaps the most significant aspect concerning Carpenter’s selection by the Riveters is the fact that her franchise player status can help build a fan base for the Riveters in their market. For a sports market like New York, which loves its world-class superstars, it could not have asked for a better player than Carpenter.

Taking into account that this is the first time that New York has ever enjoyed a professional women’s ice hockey team, the Riveters would not have enjoyed the same mystique among fans without her presence there. Considering that its home games shall be contested in Brooklyn, where the New York Islanders shall begin playing this autumn, the borough is poised to embrace both clubs as part of a hockey renaissance.

Of note, the borough has also welcome NBA basketball. The addition of the Riveters presents Brooklyn’s female sports fans with a team of their own, adding relevance to the borough’s importance as a sporting hot spot.

Although she will be expected to deliver an Isobel Cup upon her arrival, as New York measures its success in terms of championships, she will definitely establish herself as an ambassador for the sport. With the largest media market in the United States based in New York, Carpenter has the potential to establish herself as a media darling and possible celebrity.

Considering that the Riveters also signed Janine Weber, the first European player to score a Clarkson Cup winning goal, the chance for the two to play together may create the same sporting magic that Pele and Franz Beckenbauer created when they played soccer for the New York Cosmos in the 1970s, turning soccer from a novelty sport into an obsession. It is the same potential that Weber and Carpenter bring to Brooklyn, as women’s ice hockey may be transformed into an essential component of New York’s sporting conversation. For a sporting market with high expectations, if Carpenter can lead the Riveters to the Isobel Cup, she will go from superstar status to sporting legend.

No comments:

Post a Comment