As the NWHL Draft approaches, signifying the first step towards the inaugural puck drop, NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan announced the order of selection. Utilizing a lottery format, the New York Riveters earned the right to select first overall. Having also signed Erika Lawler, a member of the 2010 US Winter Games team as a free agent, it builds strong momentum for the Big Apple’s first-ever pro women’s hockey franchise.
Following the Riveters shall be the Connecticut Whale, the first
professional female hockey team in the state, whose name pays homage to the
former Hartford Whalers of the NHL. Picking third overall shall be the Boston
Pride, while the Buffalo Beauts, New York State’s other entry in the NWHL shall
Taking place on June 20, the Draft shall take place in Boston
with all general managers in attendance. Of note, picks shall be announced on
Twitter (@NWHL). Players that have finished their junior season of NCAA hockey
(or any other four-year accredited collegiate program such as Canadian
Interuniversity Sport) are eligible.
Upon the completion of their collegiate player, a drafted player
that does not sign with their team shall be appointed free agent status. As a
side note, players that completed their senior seasons are considered free
Among the class of junior players eligible for the draft, the
likes of 2015 Patty Kazmaier Award winner Alex Carpenter and two-time NCAA
Frozen Four champion Hannah Brandt are the favorites to go first and second
overall. Other players that could be selected in the first round include Haley
Skarupa, a teammate of Carpenter at Boston College, and blueliner Lee
Stecklein, who competed for the US at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.
In addition, teams have the opportunity to continue to build
their rosters with an international camp, scheduled to be held for all team
from July 23-27 in Boston. Considering that all draft picks will likely return
for their senior season of NCAA hockey, the ability to determine the success of
this draft shall not be truly determined until the autumn of 2016. As the
league also has ambitions to eventually expand into Chicago and Minnesota, the
2016 edition of the NWHL Draft may be even more intriguing.
A list of prospects can be found at: NWHL.co/players/draft-prospects