If some of the top players in women’s hockey were Pokemon...
I choose you!
On July 17, All About the Jersey — one of our sibling SB Nation Hockey Blogs — finally brought together hockey analytics and Pokemon. CJ Turturo, inspired by a tweet from Corey Sznajder, used similarity scores to determine which Pokemon best represented members of the New Jersey Devils.
The Ice Garden group saw this and got inspired to do Pokemon equivalents for some of women’s hockey most popular and most talented players.
Like CJ, we are sticking with the original 151 Pokemon because we’re purists. Unlike CJ, we are only sometimes considering stats when we draw our comparisons between players and pocket monsters. Why? Well, we don’t really have a lot of tools and data to play with in women’s hockey. But we weren’t going to let that hold us back from having some fun this offseason.
Emily Pfalzer | Diglett
Diglett is the shortest Generation 1 Pokemon, standing at just eight inches tall. So, much like Pfalzer, they are quite smol.
Pfalzer is one of those rare defenders who can surprise the opposition when she goes on the attack. She loves to drift into the offensive zone, especially on the power play, and create a target for her cycling teammates to find around the net — it’s almost like she suddenly pops up after using the move “dig” or something.
Admittedly, Diglett has a very low defense stat, which Pfalzer most certainly wouldn’t have if we had a way to boil down her defensive proficiency to a single number. But, to be fair, when you think of ground-type Pokemon you tend to think of defensive creatures.
Alina Müller | Ash’s Pikachu
Okay, so this one is kinda specific.
Pikachu has a solid balance in its normal attack and special attack stats, but is ultimately all about speed. So, the popular mouse fits Müller’s electrifying play like a glove. Much like Ash’s Pikachu, it sometimes looks like she is trying to do it all by herself when she’s playing for the Swiss national team.
To be clear, that doesn’t mean that Müller is a puck hog, because she isn’t. It means that she’s the sort of player who could find a way to defeat a rock-type like Onyx despite the fact that her lightning-based attacks literally doing nothing to it. Logic be damned, why can’t she dangle through four or five players on her own and score a goal?
19 year old Alina Muller scores her tournament leading 7th goal, collecting her 10th point in Switzerland's Quarter Final match up against the OAR #Olympics pic.twitter.com/shho2OE4lN— Alyssa (@alyssastweeting) February 17, 2018
Also, just like Ash’s Pikachu, Müller has the potential to one day develop into something bigger and better. However, we already love her for who she is.
Kendall Coyne Schofield | Jolteon
Everyone knows that Coyne Schofield is as fast as they come and most of us know that she’s tiny. The 5-foot-2 speedster almost certainly has the best wheels in women’s hockey, which brings to mind the lightning-quick Jolteon.
The only Generation 1 Pokemon with a higher speed than the Pokemon you get when you smush a lightning stone against an Eevee’s adorable face is Electrode. But, c’mon, let’s be real here. No one likes Electrode. Remember how they would disguise themselves as items in the power plant? What a bunch of a-holes.
Furthermore, Coyne Schofield is a Jolteon because they are elite in regards to their base attack stats. Anyone who has watched Team USA’s captain play knows that she is almost impossible to stop or slow down when she’s on the attack. She’s even harder to stop when she’s spraying ice shavings — her own version of Jolteon’s Sand Attack — at the defenders who are hopelessly pursuing her.
Megan Bozek | Blastoise
Bozek is a defense-first player who plays like she has a cannon for a shot — so, yeah, she’s pretty much Blastoise.
The double-barreled turtle is the closet thing to a tank we have in Pokemon’s Generation 1. Blastoise uses moves like Hydro Pump, Blizzard, Surf, and Body Slam to devastate the opposing Pokemon while being able to shrug off counter-attacks. Likewise, Bozek is capable of wreaking havoc in both the offensive and defensive zones with her almost peerless combination of strength and skill.
Meghan Duggan | Dragonite
Like the epic dragon-type Pokemon, Duggan is a near-legendary player who is widely respected by her peers. An imposing, relentless player on the ice, Duggan is an absolute delight off of it — ever notice how friendly Dragonite’s face looks? What a charmer. I bet Dragonite was that kid who brought other kids small presents on its birthday... and then used Hyper Beam on the local bully.
Duggan has played a huge role in growing the women’s game and creating greater equity for members of the United States women’s national team. A natural leader, she is a player that everyone should want on their team; just like Dragonite is a Pokemon that everyone wants on their squad when they square-off against the Elite Four.
Anna Shokhina | Hitmonlee
In Generation 1, fighting-type Pokemon flew under the radar to some extent. There were just nine fighting-type in Red and Blue compared to 33 poison-type and 32 water-type.
Despite what she’s accomplished in the ZhHL with HK Tornado and on the Russian women’s national team, Shokhina has also flown under the radar. Going by the numbers, she is among the best young players in the game even though she and Team Russia have struggled on the international stage as of late.
Like Hitmonlee, Shokhina is all about going on the attack. Also, y’know, she uh — well, she has a history of kicking people. So, there’s that.
Marie-Philip Poulin | Alakazam
Seriously, is there another player who makes us question whether or not there might actually be a Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as much as Poulin does? Poulin’s stickhandling and precision passing are responsible for some of the nastiest burns we’ve ever seen in hockey rinks.
As brilliant as she is, Poulin has struggled with injuries a little bit as of late. Her peerless skill and injury history make her a good fit for the mighty Alakazam.
Alakazam is one of the most powerful Pokemon from Generation 1 and is arguably one of the best of all-time. However, the spoon-bending Psychic-type has just 55 HP, which stands in stark contrast to its 135 Special Attack and Special Defense and 120 Speed. With that being said, when Alakazam is on the battlefield, it has the chops to wipe out half a dozen Pokemon by itself. You better know what you’re getting into when you face off against Poulin or the mustachioed psychic master from Generation 1.
Shannon Szabados | Tentacruel
There are few Pokemon who can be as frustrating to face as the toxic Tentacruel. Like a goalie who just refuses to allow a puck to get past her, the human-sized Tentacruel excels in the Special Defense stat (120) and has explosive reflexes. Oh, and did you know that the jellyfish learns the move Barrier at level 35 and can be taught the TM Reflect? I don’t know about you, but those sound like perfect moves for a Pokemon goaltender to me.
Szabados is so good that sometimes it appears like she has extra limbs when she stands between the pipes — it’s almost as if her signature dark curls act like Tentacruel’s 80 tentacles. Much like her Pokemon counterpart, Szabados is also capable of pulling off an epic stare down when facing a breakaway, penalty shot, or shootout attempt.
Kelly Babstock | Tauros
One of the most valuable and exciting facets of Babstock’s game is her physicality on and off the puck. Like Tauros, Babstock isn’t someone you want to mess with. A Tauros is only satisfied when it’s rampaging and takes glee in knocking over its opponents — or if there are no opponents, in knocking over trees.
Both Tauros and Babstock have incredible stamina, making them valuable members of any team. Among the listed abilities of a Tauros is the ability to “Anger or Intimidate,” and anyone who watched a Beauts vs. Riveters game last season can tell you that among Babstock’s many talents is the talent of convincing her opponents to make silly mistakes that may even land them in the penalty box.
Kacey Bellamy | Rhdyon
A Rhydon’s hide is so thick that it’s notoriously difficult to defeat, and legend has it that the rhinoceros / dinosaur hybrid Pokemon can withstand lava and cannonball blasts. Given the number of shots Kacey Bellamy blocks on average in a season or tournament, it makes sense that a Pokemon well known for its strength and high DEF stats would be a good match for her. Beyond that, the Rhydon, while often overlooked as somewhat ordinary, has the highest base Attack stat (130) of Generation I Pokemon with base Defense stats over 100, tied with Kingler. Bellamy, often similarly underrated, drives the offense with great tape-to-tape passes, even if it’s not what she’s known for.
Bonus: The Rhydon was the first Pokemon ever coded into a Pokemon game. On the 2019 Worlds roster, Bellamy was the most senior player on the team.
Hilary Knight | Mewtwo
Of all the Generation I Pokemon, nobody has a higher Special Attack stat than Mewtwo. Though his personality may make him polarizing, nobody is going to argue that Mewtwo isn’t the coolest Pokemon in the original set.
Knight is widely regarded as one of the best players in the world, and her stickhandling abilities are insane. Mewtwo is known for his telekenetic abilities; at times it feels like Knight controls the puck with her mind as well as her stick.
Mewtwo is no slouch in other areas either: his high HP, Attack and Speed make him feel like a cheat code. When Knight is really on her game, she can feel similarly unstoppable. Mewtwo’s abilities to Unnerve and Pressure translate well to Knight’s strengths on the ice—all you need for proof is the 2017 World Championships game-winner to prove it. (Pretty good example of why Coyne makes a good Jolteon, too.)