After a lengthy delay, the PHF finally handed out their awards for Season 7 and each recipient was a winner for the first time.
MVP: Kennedy Marchment of the Connecticut Whale
Kennedy Marchment’s first year in the PHF was certainly one to remember as she led all players in points (33), assists (20), plus/minus (+29), and points-per-game (1.7), and she was second in goals (13) and game-winning goals (4). Her presence on the Whale this past season was a game-changer and gave Connecticut an alpha player that could go head-to-head with anyone in the league.
TAYLOR GIRARD! FROM KENNEDY MARCHMENT!— Connecticut Whale (@CTWhaleHockey) March 20, 2022
CTW 1 | TOR 0 pic.twitter.com/oBlBEH3IVO
Marchment was held off the scoresheet only two times during the season - Nov. 6 and Jan. 16 - (weirdly) both vs. the Riveters. She had a ten-game point streak as well as an eight-game point streak to end the season and in ten of the Whale’s 20 games, she had at least two points - highlighted by her four-assist performance in the season finale that locked up the top-seed for Connecticut and the scoring title for herself.
Previous winners: Mikyla Grant-Mentis (2021), Allie Thunstrom & Jillian Dempsey (2020), Maddie Elia (2019), Alexa Gruschow (2018), Brianna Decker (2017), Brianna Decker (2016).
Goaltender of the Year: Elaine Chuli of the Toronto Six
Elaine Chuli was nearly unbeatable and impenetrable throughout the season and her 16-1-0 record is one of the most impressive performances that we’ve ever seen in the eight-year history of the league. She led all netminders in minutes played - falling 11 minutes and 15 seconds shy of 1,000, and wins, and finished third in save percentage (.931), second in GAA (1.82), third in shots faced (434), second in shutouts (2), and third in total saves (404).
Others may have had better numbers, but no one was as important to their team’s success as Chuli, and until the final weekend of the regular season in Connecticut she had a perfect record.
Previous winners: Amanda Leveille (2021), Lovisa Selander (2020), Shannon Szabados (2019), Amanda Leveille (2018), Katie Fitzgerald (2017), Brittany Ott (2016).
Defender of the Year: Dominique Kremer of the Buffalo Beauts
Dominique Kremer was arguably Buffalo’s best player this past season and finished tied for the team lead in goals (6), and tied for second in points (11). This was after she went pointless in six games as a rookie in Season 6 in Lake Placid.
Dominique Kremer with a world-class backhand goal in front of her home crowd in Buffalo! Set up by Beauts captain Taylor Accursi. pic.twitter.com/A7yDyh3qbq— Mike Murphy (@DigDeepBSB) January 29, 2022
Kremer really took the reigns as the Beauts’ blue line leader and was able to edge out Toronto defender Lindsay Eastwood in the closest vote among all of the award winners. She was also recently the first player to re-sign for Season 8 (and 9), which shows her value to the franchise going forward.
Previous winners: Kaleigh Fratkin (2021), Kaleigh Fratkin (2020), Blake Bolden (2019), Courtney Burke (2018), Megan Bozek (2017), Gigi Marvin (2016).
Newcomer of the Year: Taylor Girard of the Connecticut Whale
Taylor Girard was lights out in her first season as a pro after being chosen first overall in the 2021 Draft by Connecticut. The former Quinnipiac star finished tied for third in points (24), sixth in goals (11), tied for fifth in assists (13), tied for second in game-winning goals (4), second in plus/minus (+26), and tied for sixth in shots on goal (83).
Like Marchment, Girard was a matchup nightmare for opponents of the Whale last season and she finished the season on a seven-game point streak. Girard also had eight multi-point games, highlighted by her first career hat trick (Dec. 5 vs. Minnesota). With a year of experience under her belt, she could be a contender for MVP next season.
Previous winners: Mikyla Grant-Mentis (2021), Kate Leary (2020), Jonna Curtis (2019), Hayley Scamurra (2018).
Denna Laing/Perseverance Award: Elena Orlando of the Buffalo Beauts
In her first season with Buffalo after five seasons with Connecticut and one in New York, Elena Orlando takes home the award which goes to the player who exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to her sport.
Orlando, who is one of the last remaining NWHL OGs, lives and works in Connecticut, and commuted to and from Buffalo for practices and games all season long; she didn’t miss a game and midway through the season surpassed the 100-career games played mark, finishing with 109 total.
Her contributions and dedication to the sport are among the best of the best in the PHF.
Previous winners: Saroya Tinker (2021), Jillian Dempsey (2019), Jillian Dempsey (2018), Ashley Johnston (2017), Denna Laing (2016).
PHF Foundation Award Winners
This award is given to a player on each team and it recognizes “those who actively apply the core values of hockey to their community and help grow and improve hockey culture.” Principal Financial Group will be giving $10,000 to each player’s charity.
Boston: Jenna Rheault, Kid Adventures: recognizes the larger opportunity to connect with youth programs and schools to spread the idea of dreaming big, believing in yourself, and unapologetically chasing your dreams
Buffalo: Grace Kleinbach, ‘Kids 4 Kids’ campaign: started by her colleague Brianne Krysiak, in memory of her newborn son Gordon Krysiak, with proceeds to the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware.
Connecticut: Shannon Turner, Active Minds: help end the stigma around mental health. Turner also donates money based on how many blocks she has each season
Metropolitan: Madison Packer, Kyle Pavone Foundation: named in memory of her childhood friend who passed away in 2018 to an accidental overdose, the Foundation provides awareness and education to those suffering from addiction and their families
Minnesota: Allie Thunstrom, DinoMights: an organization that uses hockey as an incentive to provide tutoring, mentorship, and community service in diverse neighborhoods across the Twin Cities.
Toronto: Saroya Tinker, ‘Saroya Strong’ and Black Girl Hockey Club: Tinker changes the face of hockey as a role model with her own mentorship program and raising funds to support BGHC
Fan’s 3-Stars of the Season
- Mikyla Grant-Mentis of the Toronto Six
- Cassidy Vinkle of the Buffalo Beauts
- Taylor Wenczkowski of the Boston Pride