The third annual NWHL Awards were announced today on Twitter. For the first time in the league’s history a Rookie of the Year was announced and we saw a new woman earn the title of MVP. Let’s take a look at the players who earned honors for their accomplishments both on and off the ice this year.
NWHL Foundation Awards
Boston Pride - Lexi Bender
Buffalo Beauts - Jacquie Greco
Connecticut Whale- Rachael Ade
Metropolitan Riveters - Michelle Picard
Deputy Commissioner Hayley Moore: “The NWHL is built upon living out your dreams and inspiring the next generations to dream even bigger. Lexi, Jacquie, Rachael & Shelly are exemplary models of this. We’re proud of their service & know their communities appreciate their impact.”— NWHL (@NWHL) March 20, 2018
Denna Laing Award
Boston Pride captain and center Jillian Dempsey won this year’s Denna Laing Award as the player who best exemplifies Denna’s qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to her sport, as chosen by the NWHLPA.
“I’ve been teammates with Jill for 15 years, so I may be biased but she lives and loves hockey more than anyone I know,” Denna Laing shared in the league’s press release. “Her dedication to the game and her teammates is unparalleled. I couldn’t be happier she’s receiving this award.”
NWHL Fans’ 3 Stars of the Year
Sophia Agostinelli - Connecticut Whale
Harrison Browne - Metropolitan Riveters
Hayley Scamurra - Buffalo Beauts
We did it!! Thank you to everyone who voted for me. Being named one of the fans three stars means the absolute world to me. The @NWHL fans truly are amazing. Congrats to @Sofia_Angelina and @HScamurra proud to stand beside you. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ https://t.co/DTt4CNzmah— Harrison Browne (@Hbrowne24) March 20, 2018
Rookie of the Year
Hayley Scamurra of the Buffalo Beauts is the winner of the NWHL’s inaugural Rookie of the Year Award. Scamurra shared the Beauts’ scoring lead (14 points) with veteran Kourtney Kunichika and fellow rookie forward Maddie Elia. An All-Star Game standout, Scamurra was a force for the Beauts all year long. She finished her rookie campaign with eight points in the final five games of the 2017-18 regular season.
Defender of the Year
Two-time All-Star Courtney Burke took home this year’s NWHL Defender of the Year Award. Burke set an NWHL single season record with 19 points in 16 games this year with the Metropolitan Riveters. Ten of Burke’s 19 points came on the power play and eight of her 17 assists were primary.
Chad Wiseman: “Courtney is a national team-caliber defender and very deserving of this award. She’s so smart. Her lateral movement is phenomenal and she always has her head up. Courtney has played a major role in our success and I’m proud to work with her.” #NWHLAwards pic.twitter.com/iscWULkwpo— NWHL (@NWHL) March 20, 2018
Goaltender of the Year
Buffalo Beauts’ All-Star netminder Amanda Leveille took home the NWHL Goaltender of the Year Award. She joins Brittany Ott and Katie Fitzgerald as the only goaltenders to receive the award in the league’s three-year history. No goalie played more minutes, faced more shots, or made more saves than Leveille. She and Fitzgerald shared the league lead in wins (12) in the regular season.
“What a tremendous honor!” Leveille shared in the league’s press release. “I’m a firm believer that a goaltender’s success is a reflection of the team in front of them. I can’t thank my coaches and my teammates enough for helping me to achieve this prestigious award.”
Three Riveters and Amanda Leveille were chosen by the NWHLPA as the finalists for 2018 NWHL MVP. Second-year center Alexa Gruschow, the league’s leading point scorer, took home the NWHL’s most coveted individual award this year, becoming just the second player in the league’s history to do so. Brianna Decker earned MVP honors in 2016 and 2017.
Chad Wiseman: “Alexa has worked so hard to become a complete player. Her compete level is unmatched. She is skilled and relentless, as you see in her PK work. Alexa is of our league’s greatest players and is worthy of being the MVP this season.” #NWHLAwards pic.twitter.com/I934GtI7T7— NWHL (@NWHL) March 20, 2018
“I want to thank the PA for granting me this remarkable award which I accept with gratification,” the league’s leading scorer shared. “It is truly an honor to be considered in this competitive category amongst such admirable talent. I find it very humbling and incredibly inspiring to receive tremendous support and encouragement from everyone involved with this growing league.
“I owe it to my teammates, coaches, family, friends, and the NWHL for helping me find success in my game and highlighting my contributions,” Gruschow continued. “I can say with pure confidence that this has been my favorite season of hockey thus far, and I take great pride in being named the NWHL’s MVP.”