By Mark Staffieri, CWHL
As the five teams of the Canadian Women?۪s Hockey League gear up for the 2012-13 season, each franchise promises a new level of excitement with the rich talent available. Canadian national team members comprise four of the first five overall selections.
Mississauga, Ontario: July 17, 2012 – With the first selection in the 2012 CHWL Draft, the Alberta franchise selected Mercyhurst Lakers goaltender Hillary Pattenden. During the 2011-12 NCAA season, she broke Jessie Vetter?۪s career mark for most wins by a goaltender. The talented Pattenden bolsters the lineup of the second year franchise as it attempts to qualify for a postseason berth. "Superb goalie, with solid experience and great success between the pipes" stated Alberta general manager Chantal Champagne.
This is the third draft in the history of the CWHL. In the inaugural draft of 2010, Tessa Bonhomme was selected first overall by Toronto, while Meghan Agosta was the first overall selection (going to the Montreal Stars) in the 2011 edition. Both players captured gold medals at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. The second to fifth overall selections in this year?۪s draft included: (Toronto), (Boston), (Brampton), and (Montreal).
Second pick overall Rebecca Johnston joins a rebuilding Toronto Furies squad. The CWHL?۪s only American franchise, the Boston Blades have added United States national team member Hilary Knight. The finalist in the 2012 Clarkson Cup, Brampton has acquired Haley Irwin, who joins fellow national team members Gillian Apps, Jayna Hefford and Cherie Piper. The two-time defending Clarkson Cup champion Montreal Stars have added McGill Martlets goaltender (and multiple Winter Games medalist) Charline Labonte.
As every franchise has made significant upgrades to their rosters, fans can expect to see an even greater quality of hockey. The outcome of the draft promises that the upcoming season is definitely a go and great hockey shall be available come October.