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PWHPA Player Roundup: September 12

We took a look at the seven new players committing to play in the PWHPA’s second season.

Michelle Jay

More than 100 players across North America — and a handful beyond — have announced their commitment to play with the PWHPA for the 2020-21 season. While the reality of the season is still uncertain, we’re here to take a look at the new faces launching their professional careers or making the transition to the PWHPA in a belated edition of our biweekly PWHPA Player Roundup.

Just a reminder, you can keep up with player announcements in real time with our 2020-21 PWHPA Player Tracker.

Alexandra Rempe, forward, Brown Univ.

Alexandra Rempe has had a bit of a rocky collegiate career, from a season-ending injury nineteen games into her freshman year, to the conclusion of her playing days after her sophomore season. In just shy of 50 games for Brown, Rempe totaled 16 points off of five goals and 11 assists, and was awarded the Alison Rolandelli Best Teammate Award after playing in all 29 games during her second season with the program. Following her two years behind the Brown Bears’ bench as a student assistant coach, the Calgary native is ready to launch her professional career with the PWHPA.

Katrina Hawkins, forward, Chatham Univ. (NCAA D-III)

Forward Katrina Hawkins is a talented two-sport athlete, splitting her time in college between playing for Chatham’s women’s hockey team and in their softball program. Over her tenure with the hockey team, Hawkins posted 22 goals and 22 assists for a total of 44 career points. She’s been honored several times with selections to Team British Columbia’s selection camps prior, and will join former Cougars teammate Megan Buchanan in the PWHPA next season.

Jessica Strack, goaltender, Franklin Pierce Univ.

Over the course of her four years with Franklin Pierce, Jessica Strack has mostly slotted into the backup role for the Ravens, starting only 13 games for the Ravens. Her best year between the pipes came in her third season — the team’s final year competing as a Division III program — when she posted a .917 SV% and a 1.60 GAA over six starts. That being said, Strack fared pretty well during Franklin Pierce’s transition to a Division I program, and put up solid numbers despite playing against markedly different opponents.

Kayla Vespa, forward, St. Lawrence Univ.

After three relatively quiet seasons with St. Lawrence, forward Kayla Vespa experienced a breakout year as a senior. With 13 goals and 20 assists good for 33 total points, she led the team in both categories this season as well. While the Saints’ season came to an end in the first round of the conference tournament, Vespa tallied the team’s final goal of the season in a desperate attempt to mount a comeback against Cornell.

Maggie Knott, forward, Mercyhurst Univ.

Forward Maggie Knott will join Lakers teammate and fellow Canadian national Sam Isbell in the ranks of the PWHPA next season. Over four years and 142 games at Mercyhurst, Knott tallied just shy of 100 points (96), with a personal best and team high 29 points her sophomore year. She was named to the all-CHA second team twice over the course of her collegiate career, and was a CHA all-rookie selection as a freshman.

Alexandra Labelle, forward, Univ. of Montréal (U SPORTS)

After five seasons with the University of Montréal Carabins, Alexandra Labelle will be stepping onto the ice as a professional hockey player for the first time this season. Over the course of her collegiate career, Labelle earned all-RSEQ first and second team honors, and finished in the Carabins’ top three in scoring in each of her seasons. Prior to the start of her collegiate hockey career, she was named to Canada’s squad for the 2014 U18 Women’s World Championship, where she took home silver alongside some familiar faces in the PWHPA: Victoria Bach, Rebecca Leslie, and Sarah Potomak, to name a few.

Amy Menke, forward, KRS Vanke Rays (ZhHL)

Amy Menke’s career has taken her all over the world, but she’ll return to her roots in North America as she suits up for the PWHPA next season. After an accomplished four years at the University of North Dakota, Menke split the 2017-2018 season between the then-independent Minnesota Whitecaps and the SDHL’s Djurgårdens IF. She stuck with the Whitecaps for their first season in the NWHL, and tallied ten points over 15 games, before heading overseas to win a championship with the KRS Vanke Rays in their first season in the ZhHL.

Whitecaps Amy Menke scored in the first period over Buffalo goalkeeper Nicole Hensley at Tria Rink Sunday March 17, 2019 in St. Paul MN.] The Minnesota Whitecaps played the Buffalo Beauts in the NWHL Championship Game at Tria Rink. Jerry Holt • Jerry Photo By Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Samantha Cogan, forward, Univ. of Wisconsin

Sam Cogan, though quietly underrated, has quite the trophy case to her name: a gold and silver U18 Women’s World Championship medal from her time competing with Team Canada’s junior roster, and, after accumulating 107 points during her four years with the University of Wisconsin, she was apart of the championship squad that brought a national title home to Madison. Cogan will join Badgers teammates Annie Pankowski and Kristen Campbell, as well as Canadian junior teammates Ryleigh Houston and Sarah Potomak, in the PWHPA next season.

Dana DeMartino, goaltender, Metropolitan Riveters

Dana DeMartino spent her 2019-20 season in the backup role for the Riveters, starting two games and relieving Sam Walther in three more contests. She faced a little over 100 shots over all five games (106), and finished the season with a .877 SV% and a GAA of 3.56. Credit ought to be given where credit is due, though — much of DeMartino’s playing time came against offensively dominant teams like the Boston Pride and the Minnesota Whitecaps, so, when coupled with a struggling Riveters’ defense, it’s not surprising that DeMartino had her work cut out for her. That being said, she’ll continue her professional career with the PWHPA next season in what we can only guess will be a much smaller role.

A handful of players have opted to return to the PWHPA as well, including:

  • Brooke Beazer, participated in one showcase
  • Erica Howe, participated in four showcases
  • Haley Skarupa, participated in three showcases
  • Shannon Stewart, participated in three showcases
  • Alessandra Bianchi, participated in two showcases