Twenty-one players who have proudly worn the red and white on international ice, including three Olympic gold medallists and eight world champions, were selected this month in the third annual draft for the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, which features much of the top female talent from across the continent.
In total, nine National Women’s Team, 20 National Women’s Under-22/Development Team and 10 National Women’s Under-18 Team alumnae were named to the professional female league’s five teams, which consist of Alberta, Boston, Brampton, Montréal and Toronto. These 21 players accounted for almost a third of all players selected, and four of five first round picks at the 2012 CWHL Draft.
Goaltender Hillary Pattenden (Surrey, B.C.), who played for Canada’s National Women’s Under-22 Team against Sweden at a 2009 selection camp in Calgary, Alta., and also played for Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team against the United States in a 2007 three-game series in Ottawa, Ont., was selected first-overall by Alberta.
Alberta general manager Chantal Champagne described Pattenden to the CWHL as a "superb goalie, with solid experience and great success between the pipes." Pattenden smashed NCAA division 1 records while backing up Mercyhurst University during her post-secondary hockey career.
Forward Rebecca Johnston (Sudbury, Ont.), who most recently won a gold medal with Canada’s National Women’s Team at the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Burlington, Vt., and also won a gold medal on home ice at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C., was selected second overall and No. 1 by Toronto. Two of her teammates both in Burlington and Vancouver, forward Haley Irwin (Thunder Bay, Ont.) and netminder Charline Labonté (Boisbriand, Que.), were selected third and fifth overall, and No. 1 by Brampton and Montréal, respectively.
Fellow National Women’s Team alumnae selected to the CWHL for the 2012-13 season are forward Bailey Bram (Ste. Anne, Man.), netminder Geneviève Lacasse (Kingston, Ont.), defenceman Jocelyne Larocque (Winnipeg, Man.), forward Natalie Spooner (Scarborough, Ont.), forward Jennifer Wakefield (Pickering, Ont.) and defenceman Tara Watchorn (Newcastle, Ont.).
Canada’s National Women’s Team alumnae have been selected first-overall every season since the CWHL started its official draft, including Toronto blueliner Tessa Bonhomme (Sudbury, Ont.) in the inaugural 2010 draft and Montréal forward Meghan Agosta (Ruthven, Ont.) in last year’s draft. Agosta and Bonhomme are also 2010 Olympic Winter Games gold medallists, and helped lead Canada to its first world championship win in five years this past April in Vermont.
Canada’s National Women’s Team alumnae selected in the 2012 CWHL Draft:
Canada’s National Women’s Under-22 Team alumnae selected in the 2012 CWHL Draft:
Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team alumnae selected in the 2012 CWHL Draft:
About the CWHL:
The Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising the profile of women’s hockey, while providing a place for the best female hockey players in North America to train and compete. The league offers fans an international-grade showcase for the most talented female hockey players. Affordably priced, all CWHL games feature finesse, skill and speed, and players are accessible to fans.
The CWHL is entering its fourth season as the premier women’s hockey league in the world. Since its inception in 2007, the CWHL has supported all teams in their season of home and away games, as well as charity and exhibition game within various communities. Each season has culminated in an exciting playoff tournament in which the top teams face off for the Clarkson Cup. The CWHL is a player-driven, centrally funded league, which means team receive equal access to financial support.
Please visit www.CWHL.ca for more information on the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.