The roster for the NWHL 2017 All-Star Game is complete and, unlike last year, actually features teams other than Boston! (We’re kidding. Mostly. Moving on…) Captains Amanda Kessel and Kelley Steadman took turns building their rosters, with Kelli Stack going to #TeamKessel and Brianna Decker to #TeamSteady in the first round.
Kessel’s strategy going into the draft was apparent and could be summarized with a few letters: USNT. While Steadman branched out and drafted Bolden and McLaughlin in early rounds, Kessel chose U.S. national team player after U.S. national team player after U.S. national team player until there were none left.
Perhaps there should have been more room for non-national team players. Rookie Miye D’Oench has had a great season for the Riveters with some timely goals. With new players this season, some veterans failed to crack the roster this year. The speedy Devon Skeats and skilled Janine Weber were both left off this year. Still, the roster has produced teams that look to be evenly matched on paper for the normal 5v5 play.
However, All-Star games are never remembered for their “normal” hockey play, but instead for the skills portion. Last year, we saw Amanda Pelkey emerge from an equipment bag, Megan Bozek set the record for Hardest Shot (and lay down the gauntlet for Zdeno Chara and Shea Weber), and Kaleigh Fratkin shoot in a chicken head.
This year, fans are hoping for more of the same excitement. With the lineup we have, here’s our wish list of participants in the skills competition.
Megan Bozek - Duh- she’s the reigning champ at 88 mph
Meghan Duggan - Sent Munchkins flying off the net last year
Blake Bolden -Complimented by Bozek
Kaleigh Fratkin - Needs to use a different animal costume
Harrison Browne - Wants to shoot against former teammate Brittany Ott
Zoe Hickel and Hilary Knight - teamwork makes the dream work for these roommates
Kelly Babstock - Has quite a few spin-o-ramas in her arsenal
Emily Pfalzer - Bring back No. 1 fan Molly from last year
Brittany Ott vs. Brianne McLaughlin - Rematch of last year; who gets pied?
Amanda Kessel - Those wrist shots though
Dana Trivigno - Goals on goals
Kelley Steadman - Left 12.9 seconds on the clock last year
Haley Skarupa - Keen affinity for scoring goals
Think we left someone off the list? Comment and tell us how you think the skills contest roster should look.