2016 NWHL Draft prospect profile: Kelsey Koelzer

No. 1 pick currently anchors rising Princeton Tigers


The first overall pick in 2016 by New York, Koelzer is the second Princeton player to be drafted by the NWHL (goaltender Kimberly Newell was the No. 17 pick in 2015, also by New York). Koelzer is believed to be the first ever African-American female player drafted by a top-tier American professional hockey league (Sarah Nurse was also selected in 2016, after Koelzer).


In 2015-16, Koelzer was a first-team All-American selection and Patty Kaz Top 10 finalist. She was the 2016 ECAC Best Defender of the Year and led the nation in goals by a defender (17). Koelzer was named Ivy League Player of the Year, first-team all-ECAC and first-team All-Ivy. She finished the season with 33 points (1.00 points per game) and +25.

Koelzer was a member of the United States U-22 roster during the USA/Canada series. Invitee to USA Hockey Women’s National Festival (Aug. 2016).

In 2013-14, Koelzer was a second-team All-ECAC selection. She finished the year with 26 points, second on Princeton in scoring. In 2013-14, she tallied six goals and four assists in 31 games, playing as both a forward and a defender.

2016-2017 NEWS

Leads the nation in points for a defender (19) though she is off her blistering 2014-15 pace, scoring only five goals in 22 games. Her assists-heavy 0.86 points per game is more in line with her 2014-15 season when she finished with eight goals and 18 assists in 31 games (0.84 ppg). Much of this can be attributed to the power play; Koelzer has scored only one goal on the power play this year after netting eight in 2015-16. Her penalty minutes (26) are up this year and she is on pace for a career high. ECAC preseason team selection. Hat trick versus RPI on December 2, 2016.


  • “I’ve been playing hockey since I was 4 years old and I still have the same love for the game than I did when I first started.” Koelzer, discussing her draft selection with USA Hockey Magazine.
  • “I really do take pride in the fact that I could be a mentor and a model for other young girls, to see it really is possible if you put the work in no matter your situation or where you’re from.” Koelzer, speaking to the New York Times about serving as a role model for young minority hockey players. /


Born June 16, 1995. 5’9”, 170-lbs defender. Right-hand shot. Top-pairing defender. Can play wing in addition to defender. Able to bring puck up from the back. Netted eight goals on power play in 2015-16; also plays penalty kill.