Because it’s ridiculously hard to name just 25 players under 25, we’ve included five honorable mentions this year. Here are the first two.
HM: KATIE FITZGERALD; Metro Riveters
Joining the [then] New York Riveters in the 2016–17 season, Fitzgerald stood out from the start: she was selected for the All-Star team and was NWHL Goaltender of the Year. In the 2017–18 season she went 12-3-0, made the All-Star team again, and started for Team NWHL against Team USA just ahead of the PyeongChang Olympics.
In the postseason, she shut out the Connecticut Whale in the semifinal game — and repeated the feat against Buffalo in the final to help the Metropolitan Riveters win their first Isobel Cup. Fitzgerald, unsurprisingly, was named playoff MVP.
After the NWHL season ended, she was invited to participate in the US Women’s National Team Goaltending Camp in Blaine, Minn.
Fitzgerald will return to the NWHL for the 2018-19 season, aiming to help the Metropolitan Riveters defend their Isobel Cup title. And who knows — maybe Team USA will have reason to give her another look.
Is this ranking too high or low?
No, this makes sense. Fitzgerald is a sharp, quick goaltender, and her game has improved from season to season — but there are so many excellent young goalies in women’s hockey right now, some of whom have earned medals in international competitions. (You’ll read about some of them over the next couple of weeks.)
HM: ALEXIE GUAY; Stanstead College (high school)
At 17, Alexie Guay is our youngest player on this list. She’s still in high school at Stanstead College, a prep school in Quebec. Most recently, she won bronze at U18 Worlds with Team Canada. In the bronze medal game, she had a goal and two assists. She finished the tournament with seven points in six games, the highest of any defender.
She is currently on the U18 team for the three game series against the US. In the first game on Aug. 16, she netted the team’s only goal. She one of two assistant captains.
Expect Guay’s to continue to excel at a high level. At Standstead, she played under former Canadian Olympian Sarah Vaillancourt. With Vaillancourt’s coaching, Guay’s play will only improve. Guay has already committed to Boston College for 2019-20. She’ll join fellow Canadian Daryl Watts to play under US Olympian Katie King Crowley.
Is this ranking too high or too low?
For right now, I think this ranking is just right. But expect to see her climb these charts as she gains more experience and exposure.