Once upon a time, the Metropolitan Riveters and Buffalo Beauts once captured the hearts of tri-state area fans. The inaugural PWHL season is right around the corner. Rosters are set and hockey fans may be looking for a new professional women's hockey team to root for. PWHL New York looks to continue the legacy of professional women's hockey in the state of New York.
Rosters Are Ready
The draft and free agency provided a plethora of talent to choose from. The general managers had a difficult decision regarding narrowing down all that talent and finding the right pieces for emerging team identities. General Manager Pascal Daoust assembled a well-rounded team from top to bottom.
The roster below is broken up by position and each player's term.
* indicates they were drafted
- Jill Saulnier: 1 year*
- Madison Packer: 1 year
- Savannah Norcross: 1 year
- Chloé Aurard: 2 years*
- Alexandra Labelle: 1 year*
- Paetyn Levis: 1 year*
- Jessie Eldridge: 2 years*
- Emma Woods: 1 year*
- Kayla Vespa: 1 year*
- Élizabeth Giguère: 1 year*
- Jade Downie-Landry: 1 year*
- Abby Roque: 3 years
- Alex Carpenter: 3 years
- Johanna Fällman: 1 year
- Taylor Baker: 1 year
- Jaime Bourbonnais: 3 years*
- Olivia Zafuto: 1 year*
- Brooke Hobson: 1 year*
- Ella Shelton: 3 years*
- Micah Zandee-Hart: 3 years
- Corinne Schroeder: 1 year*
- Lindsey Post: 1 year
- Abigail Levy: 1 year*
Fifteen of the twenty-three rostered players were originally drafted by PWHL New York. Ella Shelton was drafted fourth overall.
Johanna Fällman, Lindsey Post, Madison Packer, Taylor Baker, and Savannah Norcross were all camp invites. While Abby Roque, Alex Carpenter, and, Micah Zandee-Hart all signed during free agency.
Meet The Coaches
The players will be led by a group of coaches who have a variety of coaching experience that spans nearly 3 decades.
Head coach Howie Draper has coached at the University of Alberta since 1997. He has been the only coach in Pandas' history. His 667 wins make him the winningest coach in USports history. He has also coached on the international stage, most recently with Team Canada's U-18 squad. Draper won gold at the 2022 World Under-18 Championship.
Laura Brennan brings playing and coaching experience to her role as an assistant coach with PWHL New York. She'll be a mentor for PWHL's outstanding trio of goaltenders. Brennan played at Quinnipiac University and played for the NWHL/PHF Connecticut Whale. After her playing career came to an end, she found herself behind the Whale’s bench.
Another former Whale joins a new pod! Colton Orr will be serving as an assistant coach. He spent five seasons behind the bench for the Whale and helped change the fortunes of that franchise before the PHF's dissolution. Before his coaching career, Orr played in the NHL as a tough-as-nails winger and spent part of his career with the New York Rangers.
Assistant Coach Mike Sommer was an assistant coach with the British Columbia Thunderbirds for nine seasons.
Goalie & video coach Gordon Woodhall played college hockey at the University of Manitoba. Most recently he was a goalie consultant for Canada’s U-18 Women’s national team.
The Ones That Didn’t Stay
PHF alum, Kelly Babstock was waived and signed with Switzerland's Lugano Ladies Hockey Club. Other camp cuts include Bailey Larson, Christine Deaudelin, Kassidy Suavé, Kendall Cornine, and, Megan Eady. Hayley Lunny did not report to camp.
Alexa Gruschow, Carley Olivier, and Claire Thompson all signed as reserves for New York.
Strength Is On Their Side
New York can rest easy knowing they have two strong goaltenders in Abigail Levy and Corinne Schroeder. Both played in Boston; Levy with Boston College and Schroeder with Boston University.
Schroeder has proven that she can be a star at the professional level. The goalie spent the 2022-23 season with the PHF’s Boston Pride. It wasn’t just her 19-1-0 record with seven shutouts that got her named Goaltender of the Year. Schroder posted a .955 SV% with a 1.67 GAA.
This will be Levy’s first year in the pros. The 6-foot-1 goaltender finished her NCAA career with a .931 save percentage and is currently one of Team USA's netminders. She won gold at the 2023 Worlds with USA but did not see any playing time.
General manager Daoust had a “defense first” approach when building this roster. He first signed Micah Zandee-Hart and then drafted defenders Ella Shelton, Jaime Bourbonnais, and, Brooke Hobson.
There is a massive amount of scoring power in the PWHL and you aren’t going to win games if you can’t stop pucks. By assembling a strong 1-4 you are giving your goaltenders a bit more security.
New York has that depth. You need to have four lines that can score if you want to survive. The projected top six looks like this:
Élizabeth Giguère - Alex Carpenter - Chloé Aurard
Paetyn Levis - Abby Roque - Jessie Eldridge
The third-line center will likely be Jade Downie-Landry who spent the 2022-23 season with the PHF’s Montréal Force. Downie-Landry had 23 points ( 10 G ) in 24 games.
Who Earns The Starting Job?
New York signed goaltenders Abigail Levy, Corinne Schroeder, and Lindsey Post. Levy and Schroeder will more than likely be battling it out for that starting role. Will it be a tandem or will one earn that starting goalie title?
Levy played at Boston College after transferring from Minnesota State University. With the Eagles, she set new program records with her .940 save percentage and 31.96 saves per game. She had a career-high.947 SV% in her 2022-23 campaign as a graduate student.
Her 50-save performance against Harvard in the Beanpot was not enough to take home the championship but it does speak to her ability to stay with it in high-pressure situations.
Schroeder is coming off a PHF Goalie of the Year campaign. The former Boston Pride goaltender was selected third overall in the PWHL Draft. She has only played one year in professional hockey and looks to replicate her 2022-23 performance.
“Real Rookie” Watch
With no previous professional experience, Chloé Aurard comes from Northeastern University where she played alongside teammate Brooke Hobson. She graduated after the 2022-23 season where she finished fourth in program scoring. Aurard earned 204 points in 167 games.
Aurard has also represented France in international competitions since 2013.
I believe it will be Team USA's Alex Carpenter. Carpenter has proven herself as an integral part of Team USA and can transfer those skills to the PWHL. Giguère - Carpenter - Aurard will be an elite line. Each player on that line possesses elite traits and Carpenter will end up leading the team in scoring because she drives offense everywhere she has played and with everyone she has played with.
- Boston: This feels like the most top-to-bottom roster. Most players could walk any defender to the net any day of the week. The goaltending and defense work hand in hand. Boston has that locked down. Not to mention their goal-scoring. The longer I look at the roster, the more intimidated I become.
- New York: New York and Boston could probably go toe to toe in every department. Again, completely well-rounded.
- Montréal: Marie-Philip Poulin, enough said. In addition to Captain Canada, former Boston Pride captain, Jillian Dempsey will surely make herself right at home. Their defense and goaltending will test their opponent’s resiliency and skill.
- Ottawa: The star power alone in Ottawa is enough to put people in the seats. Those fans will be delighted to watch the product in front of them. Rachel McQuigge recently signed with Ottawa. The goaltending talent in the PWHL is mind blowing and fans are in for a treat. Mikyla Grant-Mentis, Brianne Jenner, Fanni Garát-Gasparics, and, Daryl Watts will have fans in the stands and their living room on their feet.
- Toronto: This is an incredibly premature prediction but I need to see the on-ice product. It looks like a good team on paper but I do feel like the other teams have an upper hand here.
- Minnesota: Someone has to be last. It does not feel as if their roster is as complete as their competition. I think Amanda Leveille will be a pivotal part of their success in net. Maddie Rooney has not played much over these last two years. Leveille has stayed consistent and has earned a look at starter.
Let the Games Begin
New York will be splitting their time between Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport, CT, and UBS Arena on Long Island.
They will start the season on the road in Toronto on New Year's Day. This will be the first-ever game in PWHL history. The puck is set to drop at 12:30 PM ET.
New York will host Toronto at Total Mortgage Arena for their home opener on January 5 at 7:00 PM.