Hello and welcome to The Ice Garden’s (mock) draft for our (fictional) professional league: The To Be Named League Of The Ice Garden.
While the NHL sites were busy with their own mock draft based on an apparently real draft, we at The Ice Garden were bored (and left out). So we created our own fictional professional women’s hockey league solely to hold our own draft (and also have some fun). The draft - and all of the preparation - was held on our team Slack, portions of which have been transcribed for your reading pleasure. Think of it like those “behind the scenes” videos men’s hockey has, but in text form.
There are six teams, each managed by a different writer at TIG. The Commissioner (Michelle Jay) picked herself, Mike Murphy, Meredith Foster, Hannah Bevis, Eleni Demestihas, and Casey Bryant as general managers. They were tasked with coming up with a team name and city. The only parameters were the team must by based in North America because even though this is a fictional league, the Commissioner didn’t want to deal with extensive travel.
The player pool was defined as any active professional player or any player who would be eligible to play professional hockey in the fall. If the player is playing on an NCAA or USports team they are not eligible.
Hannah Bevis: I’m salty about not being able to draft Kelley Steadman
Michelle Jay: RETIRED NO COUNT
Hannah: I’D WASTE A PICK ON HER ANYWAY
Eleni Demestihas: my ideal goonsquad; drafting meghan duggan, gillian apps, angela ruggiero, et al
Hannah: ...wait, so even if players have played at the national level, if they’re still in college we can’t pick them?
The draft order was pick by The Commissioner drawing everyone’s names out of a (Calgary Inferno) hat. Due to a scheduling issue, Hannah was unable to make most of the actual draft and was put on “auto draft” by submitting her list to The Commissioner’s Assistant.
The draft was six rounds, snake format.
Hannah Bevis, general manager of the Chicago Comets: Brianna Decker
Meredith Foster: The lights go down. The smoke machine turns on, as colored strobes filter across the stage. A mashup of “I Will Survive” and “Born This Way” plays, as the lights go up and a lone figure walks across the stage in glittering sequence.
With the second overall pick, the Disco Fever are proud to select Jenni Hiirikoski.
Michelle: Disco Fever. I’m dying
Meredith: Disco, Wisconsin is a real place
Michelle: Oh shut up
Mike: I’m dying bc Jenni Hiirikoski was my top-ranked player. I even ordered Chinese to eat during this like I do for my fantasy hockey drafts. I am sharing dumplings w/everyone but Mere
Michelle: Oh I’m up.
Michelle Jay: With the third overall pick, the Dinosaur Dinos pick Marie-Philip Poulin.
Mike: I’ve heard of her
Casey: Let’s do this
Casey Bryant: The Walla Walla Wombats organization would like to cordially thank the Ice Garden Premier Women’s Hockey League and ambassador Slackbot for their hospitality. We hope this draft ushers in a new era of passionate fans streaming to the Babe Didrikson Commemorative Community Multipurpose Recreational Civic Center Facility and Steakhouse in downtown Walla Walla. Remember, kids eat free on Wombat Wednesdays.
With the fourth overall pick, the Walla Walla Wombats select Michelle Karvinen.
Meredith: WE LOVE WALLA WALLA WASHINGTON
Eleni: thought that said kids eat free Wombat. concerning
Casey: That’s our special
Mike Murphy: Thank you, commissioner. With the fifth pick of the draft, the Milwaukee Grey Wolves are proud to select defender Megan Keller. Megan, you are now one with the pack.
Eleni: The Manitoba Mustangs are proud to select Mélodie Daoust with our first-round selection.
Surprising nobody, with our second-round pick the Manitoba Mustangs select Kacey Bellamy.
Mike: With the 7th overall pick of the draft, the Milwaukee Grey Wolves are proud to select University of Wisconsin alumna Hilary Knight, who will all but guarantee that we sell out our home games. Hilary, you are now one with the pack.
Michelle: Eleni you literally just picked my next two picks
Eleni: hell. yeah.
Michelle: and there’s my next pick [Knight] jfc
Eleni: i cant believe she fell that low tbh
Casey: The Walla Walla Wombats select Shannon Szabados
Michelle: The Dinosaur Dinos would first like to announce a re-naming. We recently secured a sponsorship with Taco Bell. We are now the Dinosaur Tacos.
With the 8th pick, the Tacos pick Meghan Duggan.
Eleni: IM GONNA KILL YOUUUUUU
Michelle: YOU PICKED 2 OF MY PICKS ALREADY
Meredith: Once again, the lights go down. This time, a video screen descends, and this video begins. The same figure (or is it different? There’s been a costume change, no one can tell) sashays to the microphone, leaving glitter in their wake.
The Disco Fever are proud to welcome Noora Räty.
Boys, girls, and babes, due to the sleek sexy reptilian nature of this draft, the Disco Fever haven’t selected a song for this pick, as we were too busy planning a key party and looking into swinging with the neighbors. On our way to Studio 54 we select the Swiss Sensation, the absolute revelation...Lara Stalder.
Michelle: The Tacos pick Annie Pankowski, who will have to put down the National Trophy at some point to pick up a stick (and a taco) again
Casey: The Walla Walla Washington Wombats will welcome scoring machine and powerplay sniper Emma Nordin.
Michelle: ohhhhhh what a pick
Mike: The Milwaukee Grey Wolves proudly welcome Loren Gabel to the pack.
Eleni: The Manitoba Mustangs are proud to select Hayley Scamurra.
The Manitoba Mustangs are also proud to select Laura Fortino.
Mike: The Milwaukee Grey Wolves are proud to welcome Kendall Coyne Schofield to the pack. Why she was still available is a mystery to us, but fu*k it, we’ll take her.
Casey: The Walla Walla Wombats select CWHL defender of the year Erin Ambrose.
Mike: Nice pick, Casey! Casey is killing it.
Eleni: he is tbh
Meredith: That’s a quality sleeper, Casey.
Eleni: but i refuse to say that im afraid of wombats
Michelle: Casey’s just a team of sleepers
Casey: It’s a narcoleptic wombat, our mascot
Michelle: I’ve lost track of what pick this but the Tacos are selecting Emerance Maschmeyer.
Meredith: The Disco Fever have opted for a special guest GM this round. Ladies, gentlemen, and party people of other genders, please welcome the ghost of Donna Summer!
*Miss Summer floats out, phantasmal and resplendent* “The Disco Fever welcome Susanna Tapani.” *she bows to the adoring crowd and floats off*
Hannah: With their fourth and fifth picks, the Chicago Crushers would like to select Blake Bolden and Genevieve Lacasse.
Meredith: The Disco Fever, prior to their next pick, would like to invite the other GMs to the afterparty. Chicken fingers, beer, and adult party favors will be provided.
Before that, though, we select defender Pernilla Forsgren.
Mike: So. Do we give Meredith a tea set or something if she goes the whole draft without a single NA player? maybe a plaque
Meredith: only if i can fill it with your tears.
Michelle: With their next pick, the Tacos take Gigi Marvin.
Casey: Rounding out their defensive pair, the Walla Walla Wombats select Sidney Morin.
Mike: The Milwaukee Grey Wolves are very proud to select Finnish national team star defender Ronja Savolainen. We feel confident that Ronja will be an ideal d-partner with Megan Keller on our top pair.
Eleni: The Manitoba Mustangs are proud to select our third and final forward, Katerina Mrázová. And, finally, completing our draft, the Manitoba Mustangs are proud to welcome Katie Burt.
Mike: The Milwaukee Grey Wolves are proud to welcome home University of Wisconsin alumna Ann-Renee Desbiens. Ann-Renee, you are now one with the pack.
Casey: With their final pick, the Walla Walla Wombats select forward Rebecca Johnston.
Mike: Casey, great pick
Michelle: I just realized I have 1 G and 4 F….
Hannah: Michelle want to make a trade. Itll be totally fair I promise. Future considerations for Gigi Marvin
Michelle: I’ll trade you Decker for Duggan
Hannah: in your dreams Michelle
Michelle: The Tacos will take Emily Pfalzer with their final pick of the night!
Meredith: The Fever select Michela Cava as our final forward.
Meredith: We accept and relish in your shocked silence.
Mike: holys**t. somehow
Eleni: is- that’s a Canadian
Mike: she stayed on brand
Hannah: With the final pick of the draft, the Chicago Crushers select Lee Stecklein.
The Milwaukee Grey Wolves | General Manager: Mike Murphy
Heading into the draft, I had three guidelines in mind for building my roster. First and foremost, I wanted elite players who were in their prime or who had unlimited potential that have proven themselves in major international tournaments. Secondly, I wanted popular, marketable players to provide the club with as much financial stability as possible. Finally, I wanted to focus on players with ties to the Midwest, specifically Wisconsin.
Because each team was only drafting six players, it made sense for me to wait until the last round to pick a goalie. Defense and the center position were my top priorities. Before the draft began, I had Jenni Hiirikoski as the player I coveted the most, followed by Brianna Decker, Megan Keller, Hilary Knight, and Marie-Philip Poulin.
With the 5th overall pick in the draft I was content to take Keller as the foundation of my blue line. At 7th overall, I couldn’t believe that Badgers alumna Hilary Knight was still available. I can see the Chobani and Red Bull ads on the boards in Milwaukee already.
By the time the 17th pick rolled around, Lara Stalder and Annie Pankowski — both big targets of mine — were gone. I decided to go with 2019 Patty Kaz winner Loren Gabel who had an outstanding performance at the 2019 Worlds. At 20th overall, I didn’t hesitate to take superstar and Team USA captain Kendall Coyne Schofield. Knight and Coyne Schofield? Cha-ching.
With my last two picks I took Finland’s Ronja Savolainen and, for my goaltender, Badgers alumna Anne-Renee Desbiens. It was admittedly difficult to pick between Savolainen and Emily Pfalzer, but I went with size and youth. Desbiens was my fourth-ranked goalie heading into the draft, so I was stoked to have her as my last pick. If she had been selected already, it would have been Alex Rigsby or Nana Fujimoto between the pipes for the Milwaukee Grey Wolves.
The Walla Walla Wombats | General Manager: Casey Bryant
The Walla Walla Wombats are quite happy with their selections. We got our top ranked forward, our top goalie, and a cast devoted to putting the puck in the net. We forsook the temptation to reach for marquee names, instead seeking to assemble a cohesive unit with raw, unadulterated scoring ability. And the numbers don’t lie.
Karvinen is a marvel to watch with the puck, perhaps the most talented forward in the world. Nordin is as pure a sniper and lethal a powerplay weapon as there is having notched 14 such goals last season in the SDHL. Johnston has an incredible pedigree, having experienced success at the collegiate, professional and international level. Morin is a former WCHA defensive player of the year with terrific offensive ability. CWHL defender of the year Ambrose can hold down the fort beside her. Plus (for my money) the best goalie in the world Shannon Szabados between the pipes? Something tells me the puce-and-black will not be a team with which one would like to trifle.
The Manitoba Mustangs | General Manager: Eleni Demestihas
I came into the draft with very little strategy, trusting my gut, the way I do literally everything in my life. An erstwhile horse girl, I needed a name that would allow me to use a horse logo. Winnipeg would be a great place for a hockey team, so: the Manitoba Mustangs. I had a list but it wasn’t very organized. Mostly I had two things in mind: I needed to get my hands on a good center, and ‘defense wins championships’. That meant I was going to do my best to target the best defenders I could think of—ideally ones who could play both sides of the puck reliably.
I didn’t want to take D first because I had a feeling that after Hiirikoski the drop off was going to be enough for me to pick who I wanted and be happy with it (and I was right about that). Instead I went for a center first and chose Daoust, who is flexible enough to succeed on a wing as well and is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated players on the Canadian national team. Then I took Kacey, who I considered to be the best defender available (after Meredith took Jenni). I was extremely relieved that Mike took Keller instead, but not really surprised because 1) he knew I would kill him and 2) Keller is more his style anyway. Because I took Daoust knowing she could play at center or wing, I chose another forward with the ability to do the same and a monstrous forecheck that would create space for Daoust to do her thing: Hayley Scamurra.
I nabbed Fortino to round out my D pair knowing that she and Bellamy could take turns jumping into the cycle and patrolling the blue line and be equally useful in both areas. She’s easily the best Canadian defender I can think of, so I was excited she fell to me. Mrázová I felt was a sleeper who would work really well with Daoust and Scamurra, so that was an easy choice (and someone I had on the back burner, assuming people would forget). Goalie wise I had a lot of great options but knowing I had the ridiculous D pair I did, I felt comfortable taking a rookie with a lot of promise late in the draft instead of using an earlier pick for someone like Szabados.
Dinos Tacos | General Manager: Michelle Jay
Despite being the Commissioner, I had very very very little strategy going into it. This is proven by the fact that I forgot to draft a defender until the final round.
While some of the other general managers picked as if they were creating a solid starting line up, where as I followed my heart, picking players I love watching play (and love to photograph). Poulin is obviously a Hall of Famer and having watched her play since our time at BU, I had to have her on the Tacos.
I figured if I had Captain Canada I needed Captain America too so I grabbed Duggan early, especially after my other top players went quick. Maybe I drafted her a bit too high as she hasn’t played since winning gold in PyeongChang but oh well. Marvin is another I love to watch, that fire and drive inside her is infectious. All in all, I’m very happy with my team. We’ll probably be the Crunch Tacos, to be honest.
The Disco Fever | General Manager: Meredith Foster
My draft strategy was the same as my team creation: amuse myself and create something neat along the way.
I’ve never done anything like this before; I figured having a different knowledge base than my colleagues would help to an extent, and it did. I wanted players who know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, make those around them better, and who will create a solid foundation for the future. Jenni Hiirikoski was a natural first pick.
Beyond that, the most research I did was on locations. Humor in a name only goes so far and constant repetition will kill any joke stone dead, so it had to be memorable, punchy, and rife with marketing potential. Bianca Jagger arriving on a white horse to drop the puck, anyone?
Comets Crushers | General Manager: Hannah Bevis
My original team name was the Chicago Comets - I’m from the Chicago area (ish) so naturally based my team there, and because I’m a sucker for alliteration, I picked Comets for the mascot. I originally thought I would try to draft Kendall Coyne - she’s fast, the Chicago connection, it’s perfect - but uh, my draft list got away from me a bit and Mike Murphy ended up taking her. (CURSE YOU, MIKE)
However, in a happy twist of events, I ended up with Brianna Decker and BOTH Lamoureux twins. I was on a plane for the first half of my draft, and sent a pre-approved list to Michelle, who was autodrafting for me. I landed in time to live draft the second half of my roster, and decided to rename my now extremely tough team to the Chicago Crushers.
That played a role in my pick for my first defender, Blake Bolden, known crusher of pucks. I managed to snag Lacasse as a late goalie pick and went with Lee Stecklein for my other defense pick. Honestly, I’m stoked about this team. I’m still salty I didn’t get any Finnish players on my team (THANKS, MEREDITH) but overall, a pretty good draft in my eyes.