PWHL teams release final 23-player rosters ahead of Jan. 1 season opener

By admin Dec13,2023

All six teams in the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) have finalized their rosters as the league prepares to open its inaugural season on Jan. 1, when Toronto hosts New York at Mattamy Athletic Centre for the first PWHL game.

Each team will carry a roster of 23 players under contract and three reserve players this season.

The league previously planned to allow each team to carry two reserve players, but decided to increase the reserve player pool after teams gathered in Utica, N.Y., last week for a pre-season evaluation camp, which included league meetings and three pre-season games for each team.

“Among the camp takeaways was a commitment from the league to provide additional opportunities for players to be a part of the PWHL this season, leading to the decision to increase the number of roster reserves from two to three players per team, which is reflected across all final rosters,” the PWHL’s senior vice president of hockey operations, Jayna Hefford, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Free-agent camp invite Cami Kronish will be one of Boston’s three goaltenders this season. She’s pictured here in a pre-season game against Toronto. (Heather Pollock/PWHL)
Teams travelled to Utica with 27 players on their rosters, meaning each team had to make at least one cut before Monday’s deadline to submit their final rosters. All teams look poised to carry 13 forwards, seven defenders and three goaltenders this season, in addition to their three reserve players.

Reserve players will practice exclusively with their teams this season and can be signed to a short-term contract if they need to be called up in case of injury. The collective bargaining agreement also allows those players to be called up by a different team when required, but they don’t have to play against the team they regularly train with.

“There’s some intricacies of what we’re doing and how difficult it is when you don’t have a minor league system,” Hefford told CBC and Radio-Canada last week.

“So I think it’s going to be evolving to some extent but we’re also hopeful that we don’t have to dive too deep and we can keep people healthy throughout the season. But we do recognize it’s going to be something we’re going to have to figure out in extreme circumstances.”

The final rosters also mark the first time players have changed teams this season, with three players picked up during a three-day waiver window at the end of last week.

Toronto

Toronto’s 23-player roster includes six players who went undrafted and were initially invited to camp as free agent invites. They include goaltender Erica Howe, who started a game against Minnesota in Utica and who GM Gina Kingsbury identified as the team’s number two goaltender. 

A female hockey player in a white jersey battles for the puck in front of the opposing team's net net with a teammate and a player from the opposing team.
Players battle in front of Toroto goaltender Erica Howe in a PWHL pre-season contest between Toronto and Minnesota. (Heather Pollock/PWHL)

Carly Jackson, who won a championship with the now-defunct Premier Hockey Federation (PHF)’s Toronto Six last season, will be the team’s third goaltender, while national team goalie Kristen Campbell appears to be the starter going into the season.

Toronto’s reserve pool includes forward Victoria Bach, who looked great on a first line in Utica with Blayre Turnbull and Sarah Nurse. Bach won’t be available for the first month of the season while she finishes a degree, but Toronto coach Troy Ryan said fans will see a lot of her this season.

“We thought it would be nice to get her down here with us to at least start the season so we can see where she may fit as the year goes on,” Ryan said last week.

Toronto picked up one player off waivers prior to finalizing its roster: defender Maude Poulin-Labelle, who was drafted by Montreal in the 10th round.

Ottawa

Ottawa’s final roster includes seven players who went undrafted and were invited to camp.

Most notably, that list includes former PHF MVP Mikyla Grant-Mentis, who showed skill in pre-season action in Utica last week.

A female hockey player in a red jersey looks at the puck in front of the opposing team's net.
Forward Akane Shiga, pictured in a pre-season game against New York, has made PWHL Ottawa’s roster. (Heather Pollock/PWHL)

With Japanese national team star Akane Shiga and Fanni Garát-Gasparics, who is from Hungary and played in the PHF last season, both making the team, Ottawa’s roster will have six different countries represented. That’s more than any other team.

Montreal

Undrafted camp invites who turned a tryout into a contract include defenders Catherine Daoust and Brigitte Laganière, who played together last season with the PHF’s Montreal Force and logged a bit of time alongside each other in Utica.

Free agent Leah Lum also made the team and is listed as a forward, but played on defence in Utica and during training camp.

Montreal’s reserve list includes Olympic gold medallist Mélodie Daoust, who told Radio-Canada’s Christine Roger she will not be available to play with the team full time, with a job at Collège Bourget.

Minnesota

Minnesota GM Natalie Darwitz got an early crash course on the new league’s injury reserve system when forward Sydney Brodt was hurt in the team’s first pre-season game against Ottawa.

“I think any time you hear a player scream in that amount of pain, I think you don’t need a medical professional to tell you that it was serious,” Darwitz said last week.

The particulars of the league’s long-term injury system were being finalized last week, but players on long-term injury reserve won’t count toward a team’s roster limit.

A group of female hockey players in maroon jerseys celebrate on the ice. Bettez is shown on the nameplate of one jersey.
PWHL Montreal players celebrate on the ice during a game against Minnesota in Utica, N.Y., on Thursday. (Heather Pollock/PWHL)

“It won’t necessarily be a season-ending [injury] but it’ll be a threshold of probably 21 days or something like that,” Hefford said last week. “So if a player is expected to miss that amount of time or more, they could be placed on that and then you would be able to bring one of your reserve players up on a [standard player agreement].”

Minnesota had two other forwards injured last week, with forward Grace Zumwinkle going down with a shoulder injury in the corner and Susanna Tapani placed on concussion protocol after going into the net hard against Toronto. But neither appear on the long-term injury list, suggesting they might be back sooner rather than later. 

Darwitz mentioned forward Abby Boreen as a player who impressed her during camp, logging three points in three games and some time on a line with her old University of Minnesota linemate, Taylor Heise, after injury struck. But Boreen appears on the team’s reserve list as she balances hockey with her second year of pharmacy school.

Minnesota also picked up defender Mellissa Channell after she was placed on waivers by Toronto, the team that drafted her in the 10th round.

Boston

Six players turned tryouts into contracts in Boston, including 36-year-old Gigi Marvin, an Olympic gold medallist with Team USA who has made a successful return to pro hockey from retirement.

It will be the third professional Boston team Marvin has played for, after suiting up for the Boston Blades of the former Canadian Women’s Hockey League and the Boston Pride of the PHF.

Marvin said the idea for her comeback started at the hockey camp she runs every summer in her home state of Minnesota.

A female hockey player in a black jersey smiles on the ice.
Forward Gigi Marvin has made a successful return to professional hockey after making PWHL Boston’s roster. (Heather Pollock/PWHL)

“I just had that desire,” she said. “I love the game. I love playing. I’ll play any position.”

She had an assist on Boston defender Megan Keller’s goal on Tuesday in the team’s pre-season loss to Montreal.

Boston’s final roster also includes defender Sidney Morin, a ninth-round draft pick who was placed on waivers by Minnesota.

The team also lists defender Emma Buckles as a reserve player, even though Boston previously signed the 13th-round draft pick to a one-year contract.

New York

On Thursday evening, after his team won its third pre-season game in a row, New York GM Pascal Daoust wasn’t looking forward to the decision that awaited him.

“I can tell you for sure that this is the part that I hate the most in my job, to sit with those players, because they all deserve to play in that great league,” Daoust said about the process of making cuts.

Three female hockey players in white and teal jerseys celebrate on the ice.
PWHL New York forward Jessie Eldridge (55) celebrates a goal with her teammates. (Heather Pollock/PWHL)

His final roster includes five players who were originally invited to camp on tryouts, including speedy Savannah Norcross, who scored a goal in Thursday’s pre-season win over Toronto, and Madison Packer, the former captain of the PHF’s Metropolitan Riveters, who will add some veteran leadership to the squad.

New York was dealing with a couple injuries that kept players like Packer and defender Micah Zandee-Hart out of all three pre-season games, but doesn’t have anyone on long-term injury reserve.

Claire Thompson, a defender who won a gold medal with Canada at the 2022 Olympics, appears on the team’s reserve list. She couldn’t be a full-time player because she’s attending medical school.

Full PWHL final rosters:

BOSTON:

Forwards (13)
Brandt, Hannah (Drafted 5-27)
Darkangelo, Shiann (Drafted 12-70)
Gabel, Loren (Drafted 4-22)
Girard, Taylor (Drafted 9-51)
Knight, Hilary (Signed FA)
Kosta, Nicole (Camp Invite)
Marvin, Gigi (Camp Invite)
Müller, Alina (Drafted 1-3)
Pelkey, Amanda (Camp Invite)
Rattray, Jamie Lee (Drafted 3-15)
Schafzahl, Theresa (Drafted 7-39)
Shirley, Sophie (Drafted 11-63)
Wenczkowski, Taylor (Camp Invite)

Defenders (7)
Brown, Emily (Drafted 8-46)
DiGirolamo, Jessica (Drafted 6-34)
Fratkin, Kaleigh (Camp Invite)
Healey, Jess (Drafted 15-87)
Jaques, Sophie (Drafted 2-10)
Keller, Megan (Signed FA)
Morin, Sidney (Drafted 9-49 MIN)

Goaltenders (3)
Frankel, Aerin (Signed FA)
Kronish, Cami (Camp Invite)
Söderberg, Emma (Drafted 10-58)

Reserves (3)
Buckles, Emma (Drafted 13-75) D
Davis, Sammy (Camp Invite) F
Isbell, Samantha (Camp Invite) F

MINNESOTA:

Forwards (13)
Bryant, Brooke (Camp Invite)
Butorac, Claire (Camp Invite)
Cava, Michela (Drafted 12-72)
Coyne Schofield, Kendall (Signed FA)
DeGeorge, Clair (Drafted 6-36)
Fleming, Brittyn (Camp Invite)
Heise, Taylor (Drafted 1-1)
Křížová, Denisa (Drafted 8-48)
Kunin, Sophia (Drafted 10-60)
Pannek, Kelly (Signed FA)
Schepers, Liz (Drafted 13-73)
Tapani, Susanna (Drafted 5-25)
Zumwinkle, Grace (Drafted 3-13)

Defenders (7)
Buchbinder, Natalie (Drafted 7-37)
Channell, Mellissa (Drafted 10-59 TOR)
Cook, Abby (Camp Invite)
Flaherty, Maggie (Drafted 4-24)
Greco, Emma (Camp Invite)
Kremer, Dominique (Camp Invite)
Stecklein, Lee (Signed FA)

Goaltenders (3)
Hensley, Nicole (Drafted 2-12)
Leveille, Amanda (Drafted 11-61)
Rooney, Maddie (Camp Invite)

Reserves (3)
Bench, Lauren (Camp Invite) G
Boreen, Abigail (Camp Invite) F
Nightengale, Nikki (Camp Invite) D

LTIR (1)
Brodt, Sydney (Drafted 15-85) F

MONTREAL:

Forwards (13)
Bettez, Ann-Sophie (Drafted 14-79)
Bujold, Sarah (Camp Invite)
Dalton, Claire (Drafted 12-67)
David, Gabrielle (Drafted 9-54)
Dempsey, Jillian (Drafted 11-66)
Lefort, Sarah (Camp Invite)
Lum, Leah (Camp Invite)
Marchment, Kennedy (Drafted 6-31)
Murphy, Maureen (Drafted 3-18)
O’Neill, Kristin (Drafted 2-7)
Poulin, Marie-Philip (Signed FA)
Stacey, Laura (Signed FA)
Vanišová, Tereza (Drafted 7-42)

Defenders (7)
Ambrose, Erin (Drafted 1-6)
Bizal, Madison (Drafted 8-43)
Daoust, Catherine (Camp Invite)
Keopple, Mariah (Camp Invite)
Laganière, Brigitte (Camp Invite)
Lásková, Dominika (Drafted 4-19)
Tabin, Kati (Drafted 5-30)

Goaltenders (3)
Boissonnault, Marlène (Camp Invite)
Chuli, Elaine (Drafted 13-78)
Desbiens, Ann-Renée (Signed FA)

Reserves (3)
Daoust, Mélodie (Camp Invite) F
Dubois, Catherine (Camp Invite) F
Poznikoff, Alexandra (Camp Invite) F

NEW YORK:

Forwards (13)
Aurard, Chloé (Drafted 4-21)
Carpenter, Alex (Signed FA)
Downie-Landry, Jade (Drafted 9-52)
Eldridge, Jessie (Drafted 3-16)
Giguère, Elizabeth (Drafted 5-28)
Labelle, Alexandra (Drafted 15-88)
Levis, Paetyn (Drafted 10-57)
Norcross, Savannah (Camp Invite)
Packer, Madison (Camp Invite)
Roque, Abby (Signed FA)
Saulnier, Jill (Drafted 7-40)
Vespa, Kayla (Drafted 13-76)
Woods, Emma (Drafted 14-81)

Defenders (7)
Baker, Taylor (Camp Invite)
Bourbonnais, Jaime (Drafted 2-9)
Fällman, Johanna (Camp Invite)
Hobson, Brooke (Drafted 8-45)
Shelton, Ella (Drafted 1-4)
Zafuto, Olivia (Drafted 12-69)
Zandee-Hart, Micah (Signed FA)

Goaltenders (3)
Levy, Abbey (Drafted 11-64)
Post, Lindsey (Camp Invite)
Schroeder, Corinne (Drafted 6-33)

Reserves (3)
Gruschow, Alexa (Camp Invite) F
Olivier, Carley (Camp Invite) D
Thompson, Claire (Camp Invite) D

OTTAWA:

Forwards (13)
Adzija, Lexie (Drafted 11-65)
Clark, Emily (Signed FA)
Della Rovere, Kristin (Drafted 10-56)
Garát-Gasparics, Fanni (Camp Invite)
Gilmore, Becca (Camp Invite)
Grant-Mentis, Mikyla (Camp Invite)
Hughes, Gabrielle (Drafted 4-20)
Jenner, Brianne (Signed FA)
Mrázová, Kateřina (Drafted 8-44)
Scamurra, Hayley (Drafted 5-29)
Shiga, Akane (Camp Invite)
Snodgrass, Natalie (Camp Invite)
Watts, Daryl (Drafted 6-32)

Defenders (7)
Bell, Ashton (Drafted 2-8)
Boulier, Amanda (Drafted 13-77)
Boyd, Zoe (Drafted 9-53)
Harmon, Savannah (Drafted 1-5)
Howran, Victoria (Camp Invite)
Roese, Jincy (Drafted 3-17)
Tejralová, Aneta (Drafted 7-41)

Goaltenders (3)
Abstreiter, Sandra (Drafted 12-68)
Maschmeyer, Emerance (Signed FA)
McQuigge, Rachel (Camp Invite)

Reserves (3)
Davison, Taylor (Camp Invite) D
Demers, Rosalie (Camp Invite) F
Schneider, Malia (Camp Invite) F

TORONTO:

Forwards (13)
Cogan, Samantha (Camp Invite)
Compher, Jesse (Drafted 5-26)
Connors, Maggie (Drafted 11-62)
Howard, Brittany (Drafted 8-47)
Jones, Jess (Camp Invite)
Leslie, Rebecca (Drafted 12-71)
Maltais, Emma (Drafted 2-11)
Miller, Hannah (Drafted 13-74)
Nurse, Sarah (Signed FA)
Spooner, Natalie (Drafted 4-23)
Turnbull, Blayre (Signed FA)
Vasko, Alexa (Drafted 14-83)
Willoughby, Kaitlin (Camp Invite)

Defenders (7)
Fast, Renata (Signed FA)
Flanagan, Kali (Drafted 6-35)
Knowles, Olivia (Drafted 15-86)
Larocque, Jocelyne (Drafted 1-2)
Munroe, Allie (Drafted 9-50)
Poulin-Labelle, Maude (Drafted 10-55 MTL)
Rougeau, Lauriane (Camp Invite)

Goaltenders (3)
Campbell, Kristen (Drafted 3-14)
Howe, Erica (Camp Invite)
Jackson, Carly (Camp Invite)

Reserves (3)
Bach, Victoria (Drafted 7-38) F
Keenan, Emma (Camp Invite) D
Kondas, Jessica (Camp Invite) D

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