When fans file through the doors of Warrior Ice Arena in Boston for next month’s 2020 NWHL All-Star Game, they’ll be getting a healthy dose of the hometown Pride.
In all, eight members of the league-leading and undefeated Boston squad were selected to the NWHL’s all-star rosters, including all the Pride powerhouse trio of McKenna Brand, Lexie Laing and NWHL all-time leading scorer Jillian Dempsey, the latter captaining one of the two all-star squads. Opposing Dempsey as the other all-star captain is Metropolitan Riveters veteran Madison Packer, the second-highest scorer in league history. Joining the Pride’s trio and Packer will be five other Riveters standouts, as well as seven members of the Minnesota Whitecaps, six members of the Buffalo Beauts and five members of the Connecticut Whale.
Of those who will participate in the festivities, eight players who were original NWHLers, players in the league since Year One, including Dempsey, Packer, Corinne Buie, Jordan Brickner, Shannon Doyle, Elena Orlando, Kaleigh Fratkin and Kiira Dosdall-Arena. Meanwhile, three players – the Pride’s Lexi Bender, Riveters’ Rebecca Morse and Whitecaps’ Audra Richards – were selected by fan vote. The NWHL office made the final 21 all-star selections.
It’s not the selections but rather the composition of the rosters and the way Dempsey and Packer built their clubs that should offer the most intrigue come all-star weekend, however. In a pick-by-pick draft, the two all-star captains made their choices. Some of the selections were notable in that they kept familiar faces together – Dempsey picked Brand and Laing, as well as teammates Bender and Selander – but others will allow friends to become rivals, if only for a fun-loving weekend that showcases the women’s circuit.
Among those teammates who will go head to head are Dempsey and Brand against linemate Christina Putigna, Packer against longtime teammate Dosdall-Arena and Whitecaps keeper Leveille will get the chance to shutdown Minnesota leading scorers Thunstrom and Schammel.
As far as potential snubs are concerned, those who should have made the cut and did not are few and far between, but the Pride’s Emily Fluke and Beauts’ Iveta Klimasova are two of the more surprising omissions. Fluke, a late addition in Boston, has been among the Pride’s top scorers since her arrival and possesses one of the best per-game production rates in the NWHL, while Klimasova has been among Buffalo’s top scorers this season, her 14 points ahead of all but three of her Beauts teammates.
The NWHL’s all-star weekend kicks off Feb. 8 with the Skills Challenge, and wraps up with a two-period 4-on-4 event Feb. 9. Both the skills competition and all-star game will be broadcast on the NWHL’s Twitch channel.
See below for the complete rosters:
McKenna Brand, Boston Pride
Jonna Curtis, Minnesota Whitecaps
Jillian Dempsey, Boston Pride
Lexi Laing, Boston Pride
Nicole Schammel, Minnesota Whitecaps
Allie Thunstrom, Minnesota Whitecaps
Emma Vlasic, Connecticut Whale
Taylor Accursi, Buffalo Beauts
Marie-Jo Pelletier, Buffalo Beauts
Lexi Bender, Boston Pride
Shannon Doyle, Connecticut Whale
Rebecca Morse, Metropolitan Riveters
Jordan Brickner, Connecticut Whale
Kiira Dosdall-Arena, Metropolitan Riveters
Mariah Fujimagari, Buffalo Beauts
Lovisa Selander, Boston Pride
Corinne Buie, Buffalo Beauts
Kendall Cornine, Metropolitan Riveters
Grace Klienbach, Connecticut Whale
Kate Leary, Metropolitan Riveters
Madison Packer, Metropolitan Riveters
Mary Parker, Boston Pride
Christina Putigna, Boston Pride
Audra Richards, Minnesota Whitecaps
Brooke Stacey, Buffalo Beauts
Sydney Baldwin, Minnesota Whitecaps
Amanda Boulier, Minnesota Whitecaps
Lenka Čurmová, Buffalo Beauts
Kaleigh Fratkin, Boston Pride
Elena Orlando, Connecticut Whale
Amanda Leveille, Minnesota Whitecaps
Sam Walther, Metropolitan Riveters
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