Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Legend of CWHL Draft grows with historic first round at 2013 edition

In the aftermath of the fourth annual CWHL Draft, the legend of the event continues to grow. While said draft lacked the significant star power of the 2012 edition, a historic first-round shaped its legacy.

While the Alberta Hockey Club became the first franchise in draft history to have the first pick overall in successive years, their selection would help create history not just one, but twice.

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Hailing from Baddeck, Nova Scotia, Jessica Wong spent the last four seasons as an integral component of the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. From helping Canada’s Under-22/Development Team grab the gold medal at the Meco Cup to scoring one of the most famous goals in women’s hockey (a triple overtime winner against Cornell in the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four title game), her presence helps make Alberta a postseason contender.

Alberta’s selection of Wong makes her the first visible minority chosen with the first-pick overall in draft history. Having played on both offense and defense with the Bulldogs, Wong’s versatility and team-first approach (she served as captain in her final year with the Bulldogs) makes her a highly coveted player.

Wong’s teammate from the Bulldogs, Katie Wilson was the second overall selection in the 2013 CWHL Draft. Selected by the Toronto Furies, Wilson is part of a youth movement on their impressive blueline.

With Wilson following Wong on the draft chart, it marks the first time that two players from the same team were selected first and second overall in the CWHL Draft. Having played together on the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four championship team, both are hoping to make their Clarkson Cup dreams come true. 

Jess Jones, who spent the 2012-13 season with the Belarusian hockey club Pantera Minsk in the European league was selected third overall. Having played her NCAA hockey for the famed Mercyhurst Lakers program, it marked the third consecutive draft that a Lakers player was selected among the top five. Perhaps more

Selecting fourth overall, the Montreal Stars went back to a familiar face. A member of the inaugural Clarkson Cup championship team in 2009, Lauriane Rougeau returns to the fold. Since her Clarkson Cup win, Rougeau spent four glorious seasons with the Cornell Big Red in the ultra-competitive ECAC hockey conference. A multiple All-America selection and former member of the Canadian national women's team, she will be essential in the Stars hopes to return to the Clarkson Cup finals in 2014.

Having also formerly competed with her respective national team, Blake Bolden becomes the first American-born player selected in the 2013 CWHL Draft. She would also achieve history in this year's edition of said draft. Bolden is the first-ever African-American selected in the first round. Including Wong, it marks the first time that two visible minorities were selected in the first round.  

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