2016 NWHL DRAFT INFO
With the number two overall pick in the 2016 NWHL draft, the Buffalo Beauts selected Lee Stecklein of the Minnesota Golden Gophers. She and her teammate, Dani Cameranesi, went second and third overall. They’re not the first Gophers to be selected in a NWHL draft: 2015 saw Hannah Brandt, Milica McMillen, Amanda Leveille, and Maryanne Menefee get drafted into the league, although Brandt decided to play for the Minnesota Whitecaps instead this season instead.
Stecklein has racked up many accomplishments over the past few years. As a junior with the Gophers last season, she had 30 points (8G, 22A) and a +50 rating. That year, she was named to the Second Team All-American, All-USCHO Second Team, and the All-WCHA First Team. She also has played in a Four Nations Cup with the US National Team and was the youngest member of the 2014 US Olympic Team.
Throughout her career, Stecklein garnered a reputation for being a defensemen with a powerful shot. She also has a knack for setting up good plays: when she and Brandt were teammates, Stecklein nearly always had an assist on Brandt’s goals.
Now Minnesota’s captain, Stecklein has her eyes set on her fourth NCAA championship this year in her final season with the Gophers. So far, she and her teammates are off to a good start: in 22 games played (she missed three games while winning gold with Team USA in the Four Nations Cup), she’s racked up 14 points (2G, 12A). Those two goals came in a single series agaimst Boston University in December. Stecklein also helped her team win an extra WCHA point when she scored the winning goal in a shootout against North Dakota.
“It would mean a lot [to be named to the next Olympic team]. It is definitely my dream and goal to go to the next Olympics.” Stecklein dreams big and plans on playing hockey long after college, as evident in this statement given to Gopher Sports earlier this season.
“It’ll be interesting to see how this new league develops, and what I end up choosing.” Stecklein expressed interest in the newly formed NWHL in a late 2015 interview with Excelle Sports when asked if she wanted to play professional hockey after college.
Born April 23rd, 1994. 6’0”, defender, left shot. Top-pairing defender. Plays lots of minutes every game. Has a strong shot and is known to be able to find the back of the net from the blue line. Good in shootout situations.