Wednesday, 10 June 2015

New York Riveters to pick first in the inaugural NWHL Draft

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 be last.

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 agents.

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

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