The NWHL just announced its award winners from the 2021 campaign in a special presentation of NWHL Open Ice on Twitch.
MVP | Mikyla Grant-Mentis of the Toronto Six
Mikyla Grant-Mentis earns the nod as this year’s MVP after piling up a total of 11 points in seven games, six of which were goals. She’s the first Black player to be named MVP of a professional women’s hockey league in North America.
Grant-Mentis shared the scoring lead in Lake Placid (9 points) with Kaleigh Fratkin but played in one fewer game than the veteran defender. She led her team in goals, shots on goal (28), plus/minus (+8), and led all Six forwards in blocked shots. She was also second on Toronto in assists (4). In the playoffs, she had two primary points in Toronto’s semifinal loss to the Pride, including a goal.
In other words, Grant-Mentis did it all for the Six. She established herself as a star at the professional level and is quickly becoming the face of the NWHL’s franchise in Toronto.
Goaltender of the Year: Amanda Leveille of the Minnesota Whitecaps
Leveille is now the first goaltender to earn Goaltender of the Year honors twice in her NWHL career. She won her first Goaltender of the Year award in 2018 as a member of the Buffalo Beauts but has been one of the league’s very best since establishing herself as a starter in her second year in the league.
The Canadian netminder was the Whitecaps’ MVP in Lake Placid. She posted a .936 save percentage along with a 3-1-0 record against a workload of 38.86 SA60. In the postseason, she had a .946 Sv% and helped guide the Whitecaps to the Isobel Cup Final where they fell to the Pride.
Leveille is the NWHL’s all-time leader in wins (43), saves (1,744), and shares the all-time lead in regular season shutouts (5) with Brittany Ott.
Defender of the Year: Kaleigh Fratkin of the Boston Pride
No surprises here. Isobel Cup Champion Kaleigh Fratkin becomes the first blueliner to be named the NWHL’s Defender of the Year twice. She was also named the league’s top defender last year.
Fratkin had nine assists in Lake Placid to share the scoring lead in scoring with Grant-Mentis. She also blocked 15 shots, took four penalties, had a +14 plus/minus rating, and scored seven of her nine points at even strength.
The Canadian blueliner picked up two more points in two playoff games, both of which came on the power play. Her last point of the season proved to be the primary assist on the game-winning goal of the 2021 Isobel Cup Final.
Newcomer of the Year | Mikyla Grant-Mentis of the Toronto Six
Grant-Mentis is bringing home two awards in her first full season of NWHL hockey. In addition to claiming the MVP award, she was also named the Newcomer of the Year, making her the first Black player to earn the honor in the history of the NWHL.
Grant-Mentis stood out on a team filled with newcomers and true rookies. A natural center, she flourished playing on the wing despite a rotating cast of linemates due to the outbreak of COVID in Lake Placid.
Denna Laing Award | Saroya Tinker of the Metropolitan Riveters
Formerly the Perseverance Award, the Denna Laing Award is awarded to the player who most exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to her sport. It is named after Denna Laing, who won the league’s first Perseverance Award and played with the Boston Pride in the 2015-16 season before being suffering a serious injury.
Riveters rookie defender Saroya Tinker is just the fourth player to win the Denna Laing Award. In addition to the impact she made on the ice as a shutdown defender, Tinker used her platform to speak out against racism and social injustice in the United States and Canada. She also raised money for the Black Girl Hockey Club’s scholarship fund and embraced her role as someone that young players can look up to.
In addition to the End Racism patches worn & the social justice t-shirts I will be rocking every game, I will also be raising money to support Black Girl Hockey Club & its scholarship fund over the course of the @NWHL Bubble!— Saroya Tinker (@saroyatinker71) January 23, 2021
Elevate. Educate. Empowerhttps://t.co/wdMkziY4Yj
NWHL Foundation Award Winners
- Boston: Mallory Souliotis
- Buffalo: Carly Jackson
- Connecticut: Grace Kleinbach
- Metropolitan: Saroya Tinker
- Minnesota: Amanda Leveille
- Toronto: Mikyla Grant-Mentis
Fans’ 3 Stars of the Season
- Mallory Souliotis of the Boston Pride
- Carly Jackson of the Buffalo Beauts
- Mikyla Grant-Mentis of the Toronto Six