Here we are, the number one spot of our Top 25 Under 25 in women’s hockey. In this countdown we’ve highlighted some of the best young talent in the women’s game from all over the world. And now, at the number one spot, we turn our attention to 23-year-old Alex Carpenter, star of the United States Women’s national team.
Carpenter is already one of the best players in the world. It might not be long before she eclipses the likes of Marie Philip-Poulin, Brianna Decker and Hilary Knight and is considered the best player in women’s hockey. Yes, she’s that good.
Listing Carpenter’s past accomplishments can feel tedious. She had a dizzying 278 points in 150 NCAA games with the Boston College Eagles and was the first player ever drafted by an NWHL team. Carpenter was also the first Eagle and player from Hockey East to win the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Award in 2015, which she won as a junior. She also holds numerous records with the Eagles, including the most points in the program’s history and the most points in a season with the 88 she scored in her senior year.
And all of that is just the tip of the iceberg of Carpenter’s decorated NCAA career.
At the age of 19 Carpenter competed with the United States women’s national team in Sochi. Her four goals and one assist in five games helped USA claim silver. Carpenter began playing with the senior team at the World Championships during her freshman season at Boston College. Since then she’s been a staple for the red, white and blue in major tournaments across the globe.
The highlight of Carpenter’s international career, outside of her standout performance in Sochi, is likely her overtime goal in the gold medal game of the 2016 Women’s World Championship. It’s one of the most memorable goals in the history of one of the best rivalry in all of sports.
Look away, Canadian friends.
After breaking the hearts of Canadians and setting records in her senior season, Carpenter turned pro. The Boston Pride traded for her rights in the 2016 offseason to add another national team star to the fold. To the surprise of absolutely no one, Carpenter dominated the NWHL in her rookie season.
On a Pride team that started the season without superstar Hilary Knight, Carpenter wasted no time proving her worth. She finished the season with 29 points in 17 games and shared the league-lead with Brianna Decker in primary points. Needless to say, she also led all rookies and first-year players in scoring.
Carpenter wrapped up her 2016-17 season with a goal and a gold medal at the 2017 Women’s Worlds after a disappointing Isobel Cup Final loss at the hands of the Buffalo Beauts.
Carpenter is already a superstar and the scary thing is we may not have seen her at her best yet. A young veteran of the United States’ women’s national team, Carpenter is an elite center who excels at making the players around her better. She’s unselfish with the puck, but almost never passes up good shooting opportunities. Carpenter has proven at multiple levels that she is capable of being the go-to player for her team or being a gear in a greater machine.
She will be a fixture of the USWNT for years to come. After PyeongChang it looks like her professional career could continue overseas. Carpenter was selected by Kunlun Red Star in the 2017 CWHL Draft. If that’s the case, Carpenter will be one of a select few international stars who could be making a living wage by playing hockey. We’ll have to wait and see what happens post-Olympics.
Second Round 3/3: @KRedStarWIH Alex Carpenter, @VankeCWHL Elaine Chuli— CWHL (@TheCWHL) August 20, 2017
Is This Ranking too High or too Low?
The top spot on The Ice Garden’s Women’s Hockey Top 25 Under 25 is right where Carpenter belongs. She’s a generational talent who has collected accolades, awards and fans everywhere she’s played. At the age of 23 she’s won an Olympic medal and will almost certainly soon be claiming a second in PyeongChang.
Carpenter plays a balanced game, but we rarely notice her play away from the puck because she can take over the game when the puck is on her stick. She makes things happen every time she jumps over the boards and onto the ice. She overpowers the opposition on the power play and has a knack for scoring big goals. Carpenter does it all. And that’s why she is one of the most entertaining athletes to watch in all of sports.