Sunday, 13 December 2015

NWHL secures first corporate sponsorship with Dunkin Donuts

As momentum continues to build for the NWHL, the announcement of its first corporate sponsor sends a strong message that the future continues to be a bright one. Canton, Massachusetts-based Dunkin Donuts gains such a unique distinction, adding to its proud support of sport in New England, which has also seen its logo at Boston Red Sox home games and press conferences.

With Dunkin Donuts becoming the official iced, hot and frozen coffee of the NWHL, there is no question that many of its players must feel an emotional connection to the brand. For many members of Boston Pride and players in other markets that were raised in Massachusetts, their parents likely sipped Dunkin Donuts coffee while sitting in the stands at their junior hockey games.

In a press conference held at the TD Garden, home to the NHL’s Boston Bruins and NBA’s Boston Celtics, league commissioner and founder Dani Rylan flashed a proud smile, while garbed in a Connecticut Whale jersey. Joining her were a jubilant Brianna Decker and Gigi Marvin from the Boston Pride, who would later take to the Garden Ice for a youth clinic with three Boston-area teams.

Also on hand was one of the most famous women’s hockey players from Massachusetts. Having served as Team USA’s captain at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, Danvers-raised Meghan Duggan was donned in her Buffalo Beauts jersey. Coincidentally, she was holding a cup of coffee at the press conference, having signed a personal services contract with Dunkin Donuts.

One of the most unique aspects of the press conference was the fact that all jerseys now have Dunkin Donuts patches on them, signifying the importance of their sponsorship. Tom Manchester, the VP of Field Marketing was photographed in a New York Riveters jersey, ensuring that all four of the league’s jerseys were featured at the press conference.

Considering that Rylan also serves as the general manager for the Riveters, it may have come to a surprise as some fans to see her wearing the Whale jersey. Perhaps Manchester should have donned the Whale jersey instead, although there is no question that the Whale colors complement Rylan.  

The presence of such a leading national brand as Dunkin Donuts is an important one for the league, representing more than just a key milestone. Quite possibly, Dunkin can also serve as a vehicle for merchandising and/or promotion. Taking into account that Tim Horton’s issued NHL hockey cards in 2015, it would be a remarkable feat if Dunkin could distribute NWHL women’s hockey cards, helping contribute to a strong connection for NWHL fans.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Many new faces part of CWHL's second All-Star Game

With the recent announcement that the second CWHL All-Star Game shall be held once again at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, it will be a much different game compared to the inaugural edition. Missing from this game will be two of the CWHL co-founders, Sami Jo Small and Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux.

Both competed in the first CWHL All-Star Game, and were the top picks overall in the CWHL All-Star Frozen Fantasy Draft. Small recently gave birth to a baby girl while Breton-Lebreux had made the transition to coaching. As a side note, co-founder Jennifer Botterill was part of the broadcast team for Sportsnet, who aired the game.

As the puck drop is scheduled to take place on January 23, 2016, meaning that no All-Star Game was held during the calendar year of 2015, a total of 34 players were named. Les Canadiennes de Montreal lead the way with nine players named. Following close behind are the Calgary Inferno with eight and seven from the Brampton Thunder. The host franchise Toronto Furies see six players involved while the last-place Boston Blades bring four to the All-Star Game.

In comparison to the inaugural game, which saw six goaltenders participate, including at least one from each team, the second game shall feature only four goaltenders between the pipes. Each goaltender is a repeat player from last year’s All-Star Game, headlined by Charline Labonte of Les Canadiennes de Montreal, who was also the captain for Team Red.

Joining her are Delayne Brian of the Calgary Inferno (the recipient of the 2014 CWHL Goaltender of the Year), Christina Kessler of the Toronto Furies (credited with the first loss in CWHL All-Star Game history) and Boston Blades backstop Genevieve Lacasse. Brampton’s goaltender Erica Howe, who won the inaugural All-Star Game was not named.

Instead, Brampton sends four blueliners to the second All-Star Game. Brampton captain Jocelyne Larocque leads a group that includes Courtney Birchard (who was selected for the first All-Star Game but could not play), Laura Fortino and Sarah Edney, the first overall pick in the 2015 CWHL Draft.

Les Canadiennes de Montreal sends three blueliners (Cathy Chartrand, Julie Chu and Lauriane Rougeau) to the event, while Boston Blades captain Tara Watchorn is joined by Dru Burns, one of six blueliners making her debut at the All-Star Game. Of the two Furies members that round out the defense, it represents an exciting new chapter in All-Star Game history.

Hailing from Hokkaido, Furies blueliner Sena Suzuki (who appeared at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games) is not only the first player of Japanese heritage to be named to an All-Star Game, she is also the first international player to participate. Of note, there was not one European player or any other international competitor that participated in the inaugural edition of the event.

The biggest change will be at the forward position. Of the 18 players participating, including Jessica Campbell, who was the captain for Team White at the inaugural game, 11 are making their All-Star Game debuts. Among said 11, six are part of the CWHL’s rookie class, including Boston’s Kristina Brown, the only Blades forward named, Montreal’s Katia Clement-Heydra, Emily Fulton, the Furies first-round pick in 2015, Brianne Jenner, a fellow first-round pick who is also Calgary’s captain along with Calgary teammates Jillian Saulnier and Elana Lovell, who was the CWHL’s leading scorer at the time of the announcement. 

Other forwards making their All-Star Game debut include members of Les Canadiennes Kim Deschenes and Marie-Philip Poulin, the first-ever winner of the CWHL’s Rookie of the Year Award. Candice Styles, one of three Brampton forwards at the event is joined by Furies forward Kelly Terry and living legend Hayley Wickenheiser from the Calgary Inferno (who played at the ACC back in 2000 with Team Canada), adding another notable chapter to her remarkable hockey legacy. 

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Buffalo Beauts gain first win in franchise history

After starting their inaugural season with five losses, the Buffalo Beauts have bounced back with their first win in franchise history. Momentum was definitely poised to change after experiences two straight one-goal losses.
Considering that both losses came against the Connecticut Whale, the NWHL’s only undefeated team, it sent a powerful message that the Beauts could not be taken for granted. Of note, their second one-goal loss to the Whale may have served as the team’s turning point.

Facing a 5-1 deficit after the first period, the Whale scored early in the second for a 6-1 advantage. Undeterred, the Beauts scored five unanswered goals to tie the game and force a shootout, the first in NWHL history.
Closing the month of November with a road match against the New York Riveters, fresh off a two-game win streak, it was the Beauts’ turn to place their names in the win column.

Although the Beauts outshoot the Riveters by an 8-6 margin, it was defined by a defensive stalemate that saw neither team score. At the 6:35 mark in the first, Meghan Fardelmann was called for tripping, providing the Beauts with the first power play opportunity of the game. Despite their best efforts, the Riveters nullified the advantage.
While both teams each enjoyed power play opportunities in the second, the first goal of the game was scored at even strength. Madison Packer scored at the 14:32 mark, with Celeste Brown earning the assist, for the early lead.

Heading into the third period, the Beauts would pepper the Riveters with 16 shots and the results showed on the scoreboard. At the 8:15 mark, Devon Skeats would provide the Beauts with their first goal, snapping Nana Fujimoto’s bid for the first shutout in Riveters history.
Less than four minutes after scoring, Skeats would add her second goal of the game, as Shelby Bram earned the assist. As the goal would eventually stand as the game-winner, it placed Skeats in rarified air, as she became the first player in Beauts history to score a game-winning goal.

The combination of Skeats and Bram would result in the second time both combined to make Beauts franchise history. On November 15, Skeats became the first Canadian to score a goal in Beauts history. Coincidentally, Bram would also earn the assist on the goal.
Before the period would expire, Hailey Browne would score another historic goal. With just seven seconds remaining, the Maine Black Bears alum would make her mark by scoring the first-ever empty net goal in Beauts history.

For her efforts, Skeats was recognized as the First Star of the Game. Brianne McLaughlin, who recently earned a gold medal with Team USA at the Four Nations Cup, earned the first goatlending win in Beauts history. Making 27 saves in the 3-1 final, Second Star honors were bestowed upon McLaughlin. Third star recognition went to Madison Packer, who scored the Riveters only goal. As a side note, goaltender Jenny Scrivens (who appeared in the first season of W Network’s series Hockey Wives) made her NWHL debut, replacing Fujimoto in the third period. Logging 4:32 of ice time, Scrivens made four saves.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

New York Riveters capture first win in franchise history

With the Riveters hosting Military Appreciation Night, their first win in franchise history could not have come on a better day. Competing on home ice at Brooklyn’s Aviator Sports and Events Center, the red, white and blue emerged with a hard fought 3-2 win against the visiting Boston Pride.

Goaltender Nana Fujimoto, also a member of the Japanese national women’s team logged 42 saves for the historic win. For her efforts, she was recognized as the First Star of the Game. On the other end of the ice, Pride goaltender (and Cornell Big Red alum) Lauren Slebodnick was making her NWHL debut. Coincidentally, she also made 42 saves.

Pride superstar Hilary Knight opened the scoring at the 3:51 mark of the first period with a phenomenal backhand shot against Fujimoto. It would not take long for the Riveters to rebuff as Madison Packer tied the score. Only 13 seconds after Packer’s goal, Beth Hanrahan broke the deadlock, scoring her first career NWHL goal, providing the Riveters with their first lead of the game.

After a scoreless second period that saw the Pride outshoot the Riveters by a 17-10 margin, the Pride would tie the score in the third period on a power play. Knight and Corinne Buie would each earn their second points of the game, logging assists on Brianna Decker’s goal.

Once again, the power play would prove to be a key factor in the third period. As the Riveters peppered Slebodnick with 22 shots in the third, their efforts would eventually pay dividends.

With 2:28 remaining, Bray Ketchum would score on Slebodnick for the game winning tally. Considering that it was also her first career NWHL goal, said goal came in glorious fashion.

Earning the assist was Brooke Ammerman, who scored the first goal in Riveters history back on opening day. Ketchum would be recognized as the Second Star of the Game, while Knight, who also went a perfect 5-for-5 on faceoffs, earned Third Star of the Game honors.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Connecticut Whale win three in a row with third different goaltender

For the third consecutive game, the Connecticut Whale have opted to utilize a different goaltender between the pipes. Starting with Jaimie Leonoff in their inaugural game, followed by Chelsea Laden in the second match, Nicole Stock earned the start for the club. Once again, the result was victory as the Whale remain one of two undefeated teams in NWHL play.

The chance to stand between the pipes for the Whale brings Stock’s career full circle. During her juinior hockey career, she led the Connecticut Polar Bears to a national title. Competing for the NCAA’s Brown Bears under the tutelage of head coach Digit Murphy from 2005-09, Stock appeared in 91 games, registering over 3000 career saves and a .921 save percentage.

Among her highlights at Brown, she set a program record with 66 saves in one game against Mercyhurst in late January 2008. As a freshman, she earned a shutout win against Dartmouth, eliminating them from the postseason. Prior to signing with the Whale, Stock was a coach at Choate Rosemary Hall, where she was also a four-year letter winner during her academic years.
Competing on the road against the New York Riveters at Brooklyn’s Aviator Sport and Recreation Center, Stock did not allow one goal after one period of play as she was looking for the chance to become the first goalie in league history to log a shutout.

The Whale would help her cause as Alyssa Wohlfeiler capitalized on a power play opportunity. With Lyudmila Belyakova, the first European player to log a point in CWHL play, serving a hooking penalty, the Whale jumped out to a 1-0 advantage.

Power plays remained a theme in the second period as the Riveters tied the game on a 5-3 opportunity with Kelli Stack (called for tripping) and Sam Faber (serving a hooking call) in the penalty box. Meghan Fardelmann set up blueliner Ashley Johnston’s first career goal with the Riveters, breaking Stock’s shutout bid.
Throughout the second period, the Whale struggled to assemble an offensive attack as the Riveters outshot them by an 8-3 margin. With the Brooklyn fans showing strong support, the opportunity for an upset seemed possible, as the Riveters were hoping to establish a grip on third place in the Founders Division.

In the third period, the Whale regrouped and quickly regained the lead. Gabie Figueroa was called for high sticking at 17:58, allowing the Whale their first power play of the period. Kaleigh Fratkin, the first Canadian signed to an NWHL contract, took advantage, scoring 23 seconds into the power play.

Less than a minute later, Fratkin would be called for cross checking, resulting in the Riveters gaining a power play opportunity. Despite their best efforts, the Riveters could not solve Stock as the Whale preserved their 2-1 lead. 

For the remainder of the third, Riveters goaltender Nana Fujimoto played valiantly as she worked tirelessly to keep her team in the game. Unfortunately, the Riveters struggled on offense, as the Brooklyn fans were eager to see their team score.

With just 51 seconds remaining in the game, a goal was scored, but it would belong to the visiting team. Kelly Babstock, the first Canadian to score an NWHL goal, added to the Whale’s lead, placing the game out of reach for the Riveters. Prevailing by a 3-1 tally, Stock made 23 saves on 24 shots in her NWHL debut, while Fujimoto 17 saves on 20 shots, registering her third straight loss

Outshooting the home team by a 10-7 margin in the third, the Whale maintained their first place tie with the Boston Pride, while the Riveters shall have to wait for their first win in franchise history. Kaleigh Fratkin would emerge with the First Star of the Game nod, while teammate Nicole Stock garnered the game’s Second Star. Riveters blueliner Ashley Johnston gained the Third Star of the Game for her offensive performance.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Remarkable social media campaign signifies proud collaborative effort among NWHL players

In the week that led towards the NWHL’s opening day, a social media campaign represented one of the most ingenious yet heart-warming events for 2015 in women’s ice hockey. Featured on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, players posted photos from their earliest hockey playing experiences, dating back to their childhood. An additional aspect was the caption that all players used in their respective posts and tweets…

#tbt to when playing professional hockey was just a dream! #HistoryBegins October 11
Of note, the campaign made such a positive impression that it received coverage from Sports Illustrated’s web site. Not only did the coverage from such an important and respected news outlet add a major league feeling to the NWHL, it represented a greater accomplishment.

From their earliest years as players to blooming into world-class talent, a distinct feature is a mutual and lifelong of the game among players and fans alike. The photographs revealed a human side to the players, resulting in a connection with fans in a way that was profound.
Not only did the players work together in an admirable collaborative effort, revealing a proud, unified front on their part, an emotional investment in a bold new era for the game. Simultaneously, it showed that they came from the same humble beginnings as other hockey aficionados.

Adding to the impact of said campaign was the fact that league founder and Commissioner Dani Rylan also participated, displaying more than just leadership, but support for the player’s hopes and dreams. Taking into account the excitement and high energy that defined opening day, especially the capacity crowd in Chelsea Piers, the campaign represented an emotional milestone that added to the league’s momentum

Upcoming women's hockey season a crossroads for future of Boston

Although it is very hard to gauge the relationship between the established CWHL and the upstart NWHL, one key point of observation that shall occur during the 2015-16 women’s ice hockey season shall be the viability of Boston as a market for pro hockey. While there is enough talent in women’s ice hockey to have two leagues, such leagues must learn to co-exist or the result shall become one in which there is no true winner, just one standing among the ruins.

Over the last three seasons, the Boston Blades established themselves as a CWHL powerhouse, appearing in three straight Clarkson Cup title games, capturing two. Fast forward to the summer of 2015, and a mass exodus of talent from the Blades to the NWHL’s Boston Pride has altered the women’s hockey landscape.
Compounded by the loss of Hilary Knight (the first American-born player to win the CWHL MVP award) to the Pride, any postseason aspirations for the Blades may have vanished. Despite the presence of Sochi gold medalists Genevieve Lacasse and Tara Watchorn, the Blades sixth season may turn out to be the losingest in franchise history. Taking into account that Blades head coach Digit Murphy and general manager Aronda Brown did not have their contracts renewed, the future of the Blades is very much in doubt, as the biggest victory for this patchwork roster may be sticking it out amidst such turbulence.

Of note, the Boston Pride cannot approach such a situation with arrogance, as it may cause its own downfall. During their heyday, the Blades struggled to attract more than 500 fans to home games. While the NWHL has proven to be more aggressive with its marketing, it should not be surprised if the Pride attracts similar attendance figures. Despite the cost of women’s hockey tickets being so much more economical than men’s major league sports, the biggest competitive factor for women’s sport is not defined by economics but the history of men’s leagues and the powerful grip it holds in popular culture.
With due deference to the CWHL, their commitment to ice hockey in the United States is admirable, but it may have reached its expiry. Should the NWHL manage to build on its success, plans to expand to the Midwest are imminent. Another factor that did not help the CWHL was the fact that it never supplied the Blades with an American rival. Over the years, the league could have welcomed the Minnesota Whitecaps into its ranks and failed to do so.

Despite its plans at rebranding and changing its name and logo, perhaps the best approach for the CWHL is to truly be a Canadian league and relocate the Blades to Winnipeg or another Prairie market, providing the Calgary Inferno with a sorely needed rival. Considering the rising prominence of Manitoba as a hub for developing talent for Canada’s national team, a team in Winnipeg would prevent players from relocating to Calgary. Taking into account that the Manitoba Maple Leafs had begun to establish roots until the WWHL folded, they could have also been absorbed into the CWHL.
For now, the matter at hand is the potential fallout from Boston becoming the first major American market to have two women’s professional hockey teams. For several decades, Boston had two major league baseball franchises, the Braves and the Red Sox. After years of losing money and enduring a smaller fan base, the Braves had no alternative but to relocate to Milwaukee.
Such a scenario is a likely outcome between the Blades and the Pride. It may be fact that the Blades were the first team in the market this century, but the reality is that they may have been usurped. The CWHL may wish to be stoic and ride the storm as there is no guarantee regarding the future success of the NWHL, but a strong opening day indicates that such future need not be in doubt.

Unfortunately, the establishment of two women’s hockey teams in Boston may have generated some tension. From roster turnovers to coaching changes, Boston becomes part of a controversial chapter in women’s ice hockey as the city becomes a battle ground for 2015-16. Although men’s hockey endured its own battles over numerous markets in generations past, the handling of Boston will certainly determine the short term future of professional women’s hockey. 

Friday, 11 September 2015

Marie-Philip Poulin poised to become Montreal Stars next franchise player

Obtained by the Montreal Stars with the third pick overall in the 2015 CWHL Draft, Marie-Philip Poulin becomes the newest face of the franchise. On a team with no shortage of world-class stars, headlined by the likes of Julie Chu, Charline Labonte and Caroline Ouellette, Poulin holds the potential to bring a new dimension of popularity to the franchise.
Having already established herself as a household name, Poulin was immortalized after scoring the gold medal clinching goal in women’s ice hockey at two consecutive Winter Games (2010, 2014). Such heroics in Canadian hockey place her in the same stratosphere as other legendary goal scorers for Canada, including Paul Henderson, Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby. With her addition to the Stars, it should only help expand the media coverage that the club is receiving.

Poulin’s presence alone may not reveal the full impact of her potential contributions. She is a superstar who may shape the public’s view of the Stars for the remainder of the decade, reminding fans and players alike of the hopes and dreams for better and brighter days ahead.

For a Stars franchise hungry for its first Clarkson Cup since 2012, it would only be fitting if Poulin scored the Cup clinching goal in 2016, a feat that would only add to her legend. In 2013 and 2015, the Stars were defeated by rival Boston in the title game, only fuelling their desire to return to the top of the CWHL. Poulin’s arrival shall help the club’s confidence heading into this season.
Part of a draft class that features McGill Martlets alumnae, including 2014 Brodrick Trophy winner Katia Clement-Heydra and Leslie Oles, along with former St. Lawrence scoring sensation Karell Emard there shall be no shortage of talent on offense. Of note, Oles and Poulin share a unique bond in CWHL hockey history in Montreal.

From the outset, neither can be classified as rookies. Despite their draft status, both competed during the CWHL’s inaugural season of 2007-08. In addition, Poulin made history as the recipient of the league’s first-ever Rookie of the Year Award, leading all rookies in scoring. Both were also recognized as members of the CWHL’s All-Rookie Team. As a side note, both were also part of the Stars’ Clarkson Cup winning roster in 2009, ushering in a new era of hockey.

Members of the Stars from 2007-10, Oles and Poulin return to the Stars after a five-year absence. During this time, Oles pursued her education at McGill University, while playing for legendary hockey coach Peter Smith. During that same five-year span, Poulin spent one season centralized with Hockey Canada, in preparation for Sochi, while the remaining seasons were spent assembling the greatest four-year career in the history of the Boston Terriers women’s hockey program, culminating in All-America status.

As Montreal hockey fans eagerly await the return of Poulin, accompanied by the promise of greater glories to come, her status as one of the world’s finest players is enhanced by the maturity and competitiveness gained with the Terriers. Poised to follow in Caroline Ouellette’s legacy as the greatest French-Canadian player in the world, both are already French-Canadian icons for women in sport, transcendent figures which helped raise awareness of women’s hockey in Quebec. With a growing celebrity status, the impact of Poulin with the Stars shall only help encourage more young women in the province to lace their skates and emulate her world-class success.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Memorable week at CBHA Nationals adds to event's growing impact

Home to the prominent Ottawa Vanier Women’s Ball Hockey League (OVWBHL), the hockey mad city of Ottawa played host to the 2015 Canadian Ball Hockey Association (CBHA) nationals. Hosting six women’s teams, including three from Ontario, at the Jim Durrell Recreation Complex, the quest for gold featured an exceptionally strong amount of talent.

From the outset, the OVWBHL featured two of its teams in the Nationals, including the Vanier Mooseheads, who captured the 2014 championship. Their top players were goaltender Nathalie Girouard and forward Elysia Desmier, who both played for Canada in a gold medal effort at the 2015 ISBHF Worlds.
Joining them were OVWBHL rivals, the Ottawa Rebels, featuring several Team Canada alumnae, including Fannie Desforges and Jessica O’Grady. Of note, both were also members of the 2014 Mooseheads, with O’Grady scoring the gold-medal winning goal. The presence of such talented players ensured that the promise of high quality ball hockey defined the event.

The British Columbia Benders, Newfoundland United and Team Manitoba were provincial all-star teams, each featured players that contributed to Team Canada’s gold medal victory at the 2015 ISBHF World Championships. The Benders featured Melanie Jue and Silvia Traversa, competing in her tenth nationals. Chantal Larocque and Jessie McCann donned the blue and gold colors of Team Manitoba.
A remarkable quartet of Newfoundland-raised talent, Kristen Cooze, April Drake, Amanda Kean and Dawn Tulk, were not only members of Team Canada, but represented some of the finest young talent that Canada has to offer in women’s ball hockey.

Team Canada’s head coach, Diane Brown was also on-hand at the CBHA Nationals. Serving as the bench boss for the Toronto Shamrocks, one of her star players was Lexie Hoffmeyer, who not only played for Team Canada in 2015, but has her name engraved on the Clarkson Cup. Hoffmeyer would enjoy the opportunity to add to her remarkable list of hockey accomplishments as she helped the Shamrocks to their second championship in four years.
Despite the dream of many local hockey fans, hoping to see the Mooseheads and Rebels compete against each other in the gold medal game, the two were part of the competition for the bronze medal. The Rebels managed a first place finish in the preliminaries but a heartbreaking loss to Newfoundland United in the elimination round derailed their championship ambitions. As a side note, Newfoundland United would advance to the gold medal game with a losing record.

The Shamrocks avenged the loss they suffered to the Mooseheads in the gold medal game at the 2014 CBHA Nationals. With three-time Team Canada member (and former Harvard Crimson player) Jenny Brine scoring the game’s only two goals, the Shamrocks prevented the Mooseheads from a second straight trip to the gold medal game.
Having also played against each other in the OVWBHL playoffs, the Rebels and the Mooseheads renewed rivalries in the bronze medal game. Although it was not the color of medal that either team was hoping for, there was a heightened sense of intensity as neither team wanted to emerge empty handed.

Chelsea Grills, a former player and coach at the NCAA level, scored in the first period, providing the Rebels with the only goal that they needed to win the game. Despite some superlative goaltending by Mooseheads backstop Nathalie Girouard, the strong level of defensive play on both ends of the court prevented her team from tying the score, allowing the Rebels a podium finish.
For one of the Rebels’ players, the bronze medal victory was enhanced by another special milestone. Isabelle Aube, one of two former players with the CWHL’s now defunct Ottawa Lady Senators competing with the Rebels (the other being Erika Pouliot), was rooting for her husband. Competing in the men’s Masters Division with the Ottawa Blues, Aube’s husband was part of a gold medal triumph, as his team qualified for the Men’s Masters World Championships in June 2016.

While Newfoundland United’s memorable run culminated with a silver medal, the strong performance of its players has shown that a great future lay ahead. Goaltender Ayla Frank has established herself as one to watch when the next ISBHF World Championships are held in 2017. Nullifying several Shamrocks power play efforts in the gold medal game, her heroics were a key factor in an overtime of the Rebels in elimination round play.
Along with 2015 Team Canada members such as Kristen Cooze, a 2014 CBHA Nationals All-Star selection, rising star April Drake, who scored Newfoundland’s only goal in the gold medal game, plus Amanda Kean and Dawn Tulk, the future for Newfoundland United is one that should include a CBHA national championship in the very near future. Taking into account that Newfoundland’s men’s team also enjoyed a podium finish, the province is establishing itself as one of the premier regions for elite ball hockey.

While the gold medal game culminated with an overtime finish, the high quality of hockey only added to a legendary finish. With Jenny Brine scoring the gold-medal clinching goal, while the Shamrocks were short-handed no less, it only added to her legendary status as one of the greatest ball hockey players in Canadian history, having played for the national team on three separate occasions.

The Toronto Shamrocks walked away with more than just a national championship. While Jenny Brine added to her ball hockey legacy with a pair of game winning goals in elimination round play, the future for Team Canada may have been on display as well.

Despite being injured, Julie Allen (the recipient of the Top Forward Award at the 2014 CBHA Nationals) began the tournament on a top line with CWHL teammate Carolyne Prevost and Jamie Lee Rattray, the recipient of the 2014 Patty Kazmaier Award. Adding a CBHA national title to her promising ball hockey career, Allen’s strong playmaking skills have definitely placed her on the national team’s radar. 
Making their debuts with the Shamrocks at the CBHA Nationals, Prevost and Rattray were nothing short of electrifying. Rattray brought significant experience as she won the 2014 CBHA Nationals MVP Award as a member of the Mooseheads. Taking into account Rattray’s schedule with the national women’s ice hockey team (winning a silver medal at the 2015 IIHF Women’s Worlds), she was unable to compete for Team Canada at the 2015 ISBHF Worlds. Should she be available for 2017, it would certainly assure Canada of gold.

One of the most remarkable multi-sport talents in women’s hockey, Prevost is another talented member of the Shamrocks that should land a spot with Team Canada in 2017. From provincial championships in taekwondo and soccer as a teenager, to Cross Fit competitions in her 20’s, Prevost’s athletic gifts shine in hockey. Adding a CBHA crown to an NCAA Frozen Four title and a Clarkson Cup, she is one of the most underrated superstars in women’s sport in Canada.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Hockey couple Sami Jo Small and Billy Bridges participates in Para Pan Am Torch Relay

Prior to the opening ceremonies of the 2015 Para Pan Am Games, ice sledge hockey superstar Billy Bridges was recognized for his inspiring legacy as an elite disabled athlete by having the opportunity to participate in the Para Pan Am Torch Relay. Adding to the magic of this milestone was the fact that his spouse, CWHL co-founder and Triple Gold Club for Women member Sami Jo Small joined him.

Of note, they had the opportunity to be part of a historic torch relay. Two separate Para Pan Am flames were lit on August 3, the first day of the torch relay. Flames were lit in Canada’s capital of Ottawa, along with iconic Niagara Falls. The five day journey, the largest ever for a Para Pan Am Games, consisted of 250 torchbearers and 700 kilometers on the road, culminating in the two flames unifying in Toronto.

Bridges and Small had the privilege of unifying both flames at David Pecaut Square near Toronto’s City Hall. In addition, legendary Paralympic athlete Rick Hansen, immortalized for his Man in Motion tour, was also on-hand for the ceremony.  From there, the unified flame travelled to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and then, the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto.

The chance to participate together is an extension of their commitment to participating together in sporting endeavors, while supporting each other. When Bridges captured a bronze medal in ice sledge hockey at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games, Small was proudly in attendance. The two have also participated as instructors in ice hockey clinics, including a memorable event in Iceland, working with The Women of Winter founder Deirdre Norman, expanding the game to another corner of the globe.

Having made Toronto their adopted home, the city has held special meaning for both. Bridges juggles being a world-class athlete while studying at the University of Toronto. Small not only captured her first Clarkson Cup championship as a member of the Toronto Furies, she had the opportunity to compete in the inaugural CWHL All-Star Game held in Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. Perhaps one day, both shall deservedly gain induction into Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame.

Their mutual participation in the Para Pan Am torch relay was not only a fitting tribute to their accomplishments, but an extension of their remarkable service as athletic ambassadors. One of the great power couples in hockey, along with Canadian sport, the heartwarming journey of Bridges and Small signifies how sport can help the disabled build self-esteem and confidence, while providing inspiration to people of all backgrounds.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Cydney Roesler named captain for upcoming Quinnipiac Bobcats season

Named the thirteenth captain in the history of the Quinnipiac Bobcats program in NCAA Division 1 play, Cydney Roesler is part of a proud Hockey Canada connection among the program’s leadership. Having competed with the Canadian Under-18 team in a gold medal effort at the 2012 IIHF Under-18 worlds, she is joined by interim head coach Cassandra Turner. Of note, Turner was the head coach for Canada’s Under-18 squad during the 2014-15 campaign, culminating in a silver medal at the 2015 IIHF U18 Women’s Worlds.  

During the 2014-15 Bobcats season, Roesler and Shiann Darkangelo (who has graduated to the NWHL) both served as alternate captains. Helping contribute to the club’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament this past season (along with a program-best 26 wins), her strong leadership makes her the perfect choice to have the honor of captaincy bestowed upon her.  As a side note, she becomes the first blueliner to serve as captain since Regan Boulton in 2012-13, which was Roesler’s freshman season.

While Roesler provides a solid presence on the blueline, highlighted by tying for the team lead with 52 blocked shots, she has been able to supply an offensive flair. A pair of multi-point performances against Penn State (October 11) and Union (January 2) were part of a career season for Roesler. Not only did she log at least one point in 11 different games, she registered a career-high seven goals. Perhaps more impressive was the fact that she showed a very strong style of disciplined play by logging only four penalty minutes, down by 24 minutes compared to her junior campaign. By season’s end, she was recognized by the Bobcats with the Best Defensive Player Award.

Shelby Bram extends proud family hockey legacy by signing with Buffalo Beauts

As the youngest member of the Bram hockey family, 22-year old forward Shelby Bram has carved a proud legacy that complements the achievements of her seven brothers and sisters, along with father and influential coach Bill. Having recently signed with the NWHL’s Buffalo Beauts franchise, she is part of a growing trend of strong Canadian talent joining the incipient league.

Of note, she is one of several accomplished Canadian forwards joining the Beauts growing roster, including the likes of CIS stars such as Dana Skeats from Wilfrid Laurier, along with UBC’s Tatiana Rafter (who signed on the same day as Bram).

Following in the footsteps of her older sister Bailey, she spent the last four seasons playing with the prestigious Mercyhurst Lakers program in Erie, Pennsylvania. Of note, the two sisters were teammates during the 2011-12 Mercyhurst Lakers season.

Majoring in exercise science, Shelby played in more than 100 consecutive games with the program.
Among some of her impressive credentials includes the fact that she was recognized as an All-CHA First Team member in 2013, complemented by a pair of honors in 2014. Of note, she was named to the CHA All-Tournament Team, while earning the 2014 CHA Best Defensive Forward honor.
With Buffalo a stone’s throw away from Erie, it comes as no surprise that Shelby has opted to stay in the region to continue her hockey career. Having compiled 109 points during her Lakers career (she logged a career high 35 points in 2013-14), the product of Ste. Anne, Manitoba also brings experience with Canada’s U18 and U22/Development programs.

Considering that the Lakers have competed against programs from New York State in CHA conference play (along with NCAA play), hockey fans in the state are already familiar with her swift skating and strong playmaking abilities. Although her senior season saw a dip in her productivity, logging only 22 points, she did manage a pair of power play goals and short-handed goals, along with one game winning tally.

In her final 10 NCAA games, she managed 11 points, including a remarkable pair of multi-point performances. On her senior night (a February 14 tilt with Penn State), she compiled three points, including the game-winning tally. In addition, a four-point playoff performance against Lindenwood resulted in a series sweep.

Taking into account that Bailey Bram is a member of the CWHL’s Calgary Inferno franchise, the thought of the two sisters playing together once more was cause for optimistic speculation. Although Shelby’s decision to suit up with the Beauts prevents Western Canadian hockey fans from such a great opportunity, the consolation is the fact that she shall contribute to a great and exciting new chapter in women’s hockey.

Beth Hanrahan joins fellow Providence alum Janine Weber on the New York Riveters

Heading into the inaugural season of the New York Riveters, another proud member of the Providence Friars has opted to sign with the club. Having competed in 140 games with the Friars, Beth Hanrahan joins fellow alum Janine Weber, the first player ever signed to an NWHL contract.

Logging 75 points in her NCAA career, Hanrahan’s perseverance and work ethic exemplified a leadership that should translate well to NWHL play. Graduating with a degree in Health Policy Management and Sociology, she was the recipient of the 2015 Hockey East Sportsmanship Award, along with Hockey East All-Academic honors, she was also bestowed the honor of Team MVP in 2014.  
Should she manage to establish on-ice chemistry with fellow Friar alum Janine Weber, the possibility of an Isobel Cup is a strong one. During their one season in Providence together (2013-14), the two combined for 31 points, including two game-winning tallies. Of note, Weber’s game-winning goal clinched the prestigious Mayor’s Cup for the Friars.

During Hanrahan’s senior season with the Friars, Weber would go on to become the first European to score a Clarkson Cup clinching goal, helping the Boston Blades defeat their archrivals, the Montreal Stars. Coincidentally, Hanrahan and the Friars competed in a preseason game against the Stars, enduring a 4-1 loss.

With Hanrahan on the Riveters roster, there shall be no shortage of leadership. Named the team captain for her senior season, it resulted in her finest season offensively. Statistically, Hanrahan experienced a six-point improvement, registering 26 points, leading the team in scoring. In her sophomore and junior seasons, she logged consecutive 20-point efforts. Her finest performance came in a November 9 contest against the Connecticut Huskies, as she logged three assists.

Graduating as one of the Friars’ all-time leaders in games played with 143, she certainly brings high endurance to the ice. Having also won a New York State Championship in 2010 with the National Sports Academy, she is an ideal fit for the debut of professional women’s hockey in the state.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Women's hockey alums bring home silver in baseball at Pan Am Games

As the host country for the 2015 Pan Am Games, Canada was hoping to capture the first-ever gold medal in women’s baseball. Of all the feel-good stories that the Games produced, no other sport enjoyed as remarkable a connection to women’s hockey as baseball.
From York Lions hockey alum Samantha Magalas serving on the coaching staff, she was joined by five former women’s hockey players on the roster. Autumn Mills, who played for Dan Church at York University as a forward brought experience to Canada’s team as a third baseman.
Heading into the Pan Am Games, Mills was named to the roster as a pitcher, a decision that would pay remarkable dividends. Statistically, Mills provided the best all-around pitching performance. Mills faced 50 batters and appeared in 13 innings, tops amongst all hurlers in Pan Am Games play. In addition, Mills was one of five pitchers with a 1.000 fielding percentage. Along with US hurler Stacy Piagno, they were the only pitchers to enjoy a 2-0 mark.
Having won national hockey championships at the CIS level, along with the former Esso Women’s Nationals, Ashley Stephenson was an invaluable leader for Canada. Along with former Laurier Golden Hawks hockey player Katie Psota, the two were the only Canadian players to have played in every IBAF World Cup of Baseball.
Competing at third base for Canada, Stephenson’s field percentage of .833 ranked fourth among all third basemen at the Games. Ranking second on Canada with a .369 batting average, Stephenson also ranked third with a .455 on-base percentage. As a side note, she ranked second on the team behind second baseman Nicole Luchanski in hits and runs scored.
During Canada’s first game of preliminary round play, a 13-1 win against Cuba, Stephenson went 2-5 with a run scored. Amanda Asay, a former player at the NCAA and CIS level served as the designated hitter. Going 1-3 with an RBI, earning two walks, she was not the only women’s hockey alum to see playing time. Mills would be inserted as a pinch runner, scoring a run.
While Asay and Stephenson each managed one hit in the second game of the preliminaries, prevailing 9-3 against Venezuela, with Stephenson scoring twice, Psota was named the starting pitcher for Canada.
Both Asay and Stephenson endured struggles in the following game. Emerging with a narrow 3-2 win against Puerto Rico, both went hitless, although Stephenson managed one RBI. While Stephenson managed a 2-3 performance with 1 run scored in the fourth and final game of the preliminary round, the result was a loss against the United States.
Despite said loss, Canada qualified for the medal round. Competing against Venezuela, the losing team would be awarded the bronze medal while the victor earned the opportunity to avenge their preliminary round loss to the United States for the first-ever gold medal in women’s baseball at the Pan Am Games.
Once again, Mills shone on the pitching mound for Canada. Throwing a complete game against Venezuela, she was helped by Stephenson, who logged two hits, while scoring a run. Asay would go 1-3, logging an RBI in the victory against Venezuela.
Against the United States, such success was not duplicated. With the US enjoying a 4-0 lead after just one inning of play, it set the tone for the remainder of the game.
Making an appearance as a pinch hitter in the game was Daniella Matteucci, who helped Clarkson University capture the 2014 NCAA Women’s Frozen Four. As a side note, her only other appearance in the Pan Am Games was in a pinch running role during preliminary round play.

Asay managed one single and Stephenson went 0-3, while Psota struck out in the final inning of play. Despite the heartbreak of the loss, four women’s hockey heroes earned the opportunity to play in the historic gold medal. Taking into account their role as pioneers in both women’s hockey and women’s baseball, the silver medal signifies a legacy that future generations of Canadian women will hope to emulate, while providing a solid foundation for women’s baseball to build upon.

Player Position Avg Games At-Bats Runs Hits 2B 3B RBI SLG % OB% SO BB
Asay, Amanda 1B/DH 0.222 6 18 2 4 0 0 4 0.222 0.391 2 4
Matteucci, Daniella PR 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 0 0
Mills, Autumn Pitcher 0 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Psota, Katherine Pitcher 0 4 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.333 1 1
Stephenson, Ashley Third Base 0.369 6 19 5 7 0 0 1 0.369 0.455 1 0


Player Throws Wins Losses Saves Games ERA Hits Runs Earned Runs Walks Strikeouts
Asay, Amanda Right 0 0 1 2 1.50 5 1 1 0 0
Mills, Autumn Right 2 0 0 2 0.54 8 3 1 0 6
Psota, Katherine Right 0 0 0 1 6.01 4 2 2 1 2
Denotes team leader

Friday, 17 July 2015

Amanda Mazzotta a perfect fit for Quinnipiac Bobcats coaching staff

As the Quinnipiac Bobcats women’s ice hockey program comes off their greatest season yet (26-9-3), a key addition to the coaching staff indicates that an even better season may loom on the horizon. Former ECAC goaltending great Amanda Mazzotta joins the staff, ready to bring her acumen to a team determined to build on the momentum of qualifying for the 2015 NCAA tournament.

Since graduating from Cornell University, where she set an NCAA championship game record for most saves in one game, Mazzotta has maintained an exceptionally busy schedule. Raised in London, Ontario, she returned home, eager to share her knowledge with a new generation of future stars hoping to emulate her own success.

While she pursued a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology at the University of Western Ontario, it represented an opportunity to gain coaching experience. Handling numerous duties, with an emphasis on video sessions and goalie coaching (a task she also handled with Team Ontario Red in 2013), there is no question that her influence yielded positive results.

Although she spent only one season with the Western Mustangs, that season involved working with goaltender Kelly Campbell. After that one season with Mazzotta, it was not a coincidence that her statistics improved, culminating with the CIS National Championship in 2015.

Her tutelage will prove crucial for goaltender Sydney Rossman . Heading into her junior season, she will inherit the starting job from Chelsea Laden. Recognized as the top goaltender at the 2013 Nutmeg Classic, the former Minnetonka High School star also won the 2013 Let’s Play Hockey Senior Goalie of the Year Award in Minnesota.

In addition to her work with the Western Mustangs, Mazzotta was also involved with the London Devilettes program at the Bantam AA and PWHL levels. Having played for the Devilettes in her teens, it was a remarkable opportunity for her to give back to the program. The fact that the Bantam AA team captured a gold medal represented a great milestone in Mazzotta’s coaching career.

The most recent season represented a significant breakthrough as Mazzotta earned two significant coaching opportunities. Of note, she served on the staff of head coach Cassandra Turner (who is also part of Quinnipiac’s coaching staff) with the Canadian Under-18 National Women’s Team. From working at an August 2014 goaltender camp hosted by Hockey Canada, to being part of the staff that went to the IIHF U18 Women’s Worlds, it led into another great position.

With U18 national team colleague Cherie Piper serving as the general manager of Ontario’s women’s hockey entry at the 2015 Canada Winter Games, Mazzotta was named to head coach Bradi Cochrane’s staff. As several members from the Canadian U18 national team were also suiting up for Team Ontario, Mazzotta’s presence was certainly a welcome one, as the squad qualified for the medal round. 

Heading into this season, Mazzotta also has the privilege of being part of Hockey Canada’s U22/National Development Team staff. Such an appointment is testament to her ability to succeed at elite levels while demonstrating a positive attitude. Having also earned a Bachelor of Education from Cornell, along with a specialization in coaching as part of the Master’s Degree that she earned from the University of Western Ontario, she is an articulate and likeable personality who understands the occasional pressures of the game.

Having competed at elite levels of hockey herself (including the inaugural IIHF U18 Women’s Worlds in 2008), Mazzotta is very familiar with more than just succeeding, but the expectations of the game and the occasional self-imposed pressure to succeed. That familiarity not only makes her an ideal fit for a program on the rise such as Quinnipiac, it allows the young players someone that they can look up to as a big sister and a role model.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Ashley Stephenson leads group of women's hockey veterans into 2015 Pan Am Games

As the Canadian national women’s baseball team looks to capture gold medal at the 2015 Pan Am Games, a proud women’s hockey connection adds to an unforgettable group of characters. As this is the first-ever women’s baseball tournament contested in a major multi-national sporting event, the women’s hockey connection is testament to the potential of women in sport and their ability to excel in multiple arenas of competition.

Having played with the national team since the inaugural Women’s World Cup of Baseball in 2004, Ashley Stephenson comprises a group of five remarkable women with roots in women’s hockey. A versatile infielder who is able to play at both shortstop and third base positions, Stephenson’s strong leadership skills can be traced back to a proud hockey career that involved five remarkable seasons with the nationally prominent Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks program.

Suiting up for the Golden Hawks, her greatest legacy included the 2005 CIS National Championship. Honored as the event’s Most Valuable Player, she would graduate as a CIS First-Team All-Canadian. During 2005, she was also recognized as the recipient of the Canadian National Women’s Baseball Team Most Valuable Player Award. Following her spectacular CIS career, she went on to a seven-year pro hockey career in both the NWHL and the succeeding CWHL.

Stephenson would enjoy two seasons with the Brampton Thunder, before claiming the 2008 edition of the Esso Women’s National Championships with the Mississauga Warriors. That championship game featured three Golden Hawks alums, as Stephenson played with Cheryl Pounder. Opposing goaltender Cindy Eadie was not only a Golden Hawks alum, but she also played softball with Canada at the 2004 Athens Summer Games.

Once again, her success on the ice would be complemented by an accomplishment on the diamond. In 2008, Stephenson not only earned her second Team MVP award with the national baseball team, she earned a spot on the tournament All-Star Team following the 2008 IBAF Women’s World Cup of Baseball.

Part of the final CWHL season in Burlington Barracudas history, Stephenson contributed to a pair of significant moments in franchise history. Joined by several other Barracudas teammates, she participated in the first-ever women’s hockey tournament that Hockey Helps the Homeless hosted. In addition, the last goal of her CWHL career was a game-winning tally against the Toronto Furies. Of note, it would prove to be the final game that Burlington would win.

Fellow Golden Hawks alum Kate Psota also boasts a proud hockey legacy. Having won five consecutive OUA conference crowns, she would help the Golden Hawks capture the bronze medal at the 2010 CIS Nationals. Although Psota never played in the CWHL, two of her teammates from that 2010 squad would go on to play for the Brampton Thunder; Amanda Ironside and Liz Knox, the winner of the 2010 Brodrick Trophy.

Also a charter member of the Canadian national women’s baseball team, Psota has enjoyed an exceptional career on the diamond. Heading into the 2015 Pan Am Games, Psota and Stephenson are the only charter members still competing. Having also played in Australia, Psota has blossomed into a world-class athlete whose team-first approach has resulted in a prominent two-sport career.

In one of the most important games in Canadian women’s baseball history, Psota would log four RBI’s while Stephenson had two as Canada enjoyed its first-ever no-hitter in Women’s World Cup play. Occurring at the 2014 IBAF Women’s World Cup, the no-hitter was thrown by Heidi Northcott and Cindy Evaarada.

With proud connections to the York Lions women’s ice hockey program, Samantha Magalas and Autumn Mills comprise another pair of empowering women with success in multiple sports. A high school sporting legend in Burlington, Magalas spent three seasons on the York Lions women’s ice hockey team. During her athletic career with the Lions, she would make national news as the first-ever female athlete in North America to compete on a men’s baseball team at the university level.

Competing with Psota and Stephenson at the inaugural IBAF Women’s World Cup in 2004, Magalas carved a remarkable legacy during the nascent years of the national women’s team. In World Cup play, she would capture a silver medal and two bronze medals, while earning multiple national championships with Team Ontario.

Although she hung up her competitive cleats in 2009, she is still involved as a first base coach on Andre Lacroix’s coaching staff. Not only does her coaching tenure represent an important step forward with regards to women breaking through as coaches in the female game, it also means that she will have the chance to add to her legacy at the Pan Am Games.

One of the greatest hockey humanitarians to suit up for the York, Autumn Mills brings a heart of gold to the diamond. Having won the OUA’s version of the Marion Hilliard Award upon graduation, she was equally successful in the classroom, earning All-Academic Honors on multiple occasions.

Competing at third base for the Canadian national team, Mills’ greatest legacy with the Lions hockey program was helping them snap a five-year streak of missing the playoffs. Continuously improving on her season point totals, she was a remarkable leader who played alongside the likes of Kelsey Webster, who would represent York in women’s ice hockey at the Winter Universiade.

Having joined the women’s national baseball team at the tender age of 16, Mills is definitely one of the team’s youthful veterans. Of note, fellow York alum Magalas, plus Stephenson are instructors at the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Academy.

Among the five women of Canada’s baseball roster who have competed on the ice, Daniella Matteucci has enjoyed an NCAA Frozen Four championship. Having won the title with the Clarkson Golden Knights program, the victory resulted in making history twice. Not only was it Clarkson University’s first-ever national championship in any varsity sport, it represented the first time that a conference not in the WCHA won the prestigious tournament.

Currently an outfielder and bullpen catcher with the Canadian team, Matteucci also competed on an all-boys team while attending Athol Murray College of Notre Dame. Although Matteucci was also a member of its nationally prominent women’s hockey team, she would make national news when she threw a no-hitter against an all-boys team.

Recently, one of her former coaches mirrored her two sport glory. Mira Trebilcock, who played hockey and soccer at the NCAA Division III level, balanced her current coaching duties with Notre Dame by joining the Regina Riot of the Western Women’s Canadian Football League. In the aftermath of her first season of WWCFL play, Trebilcock played in every game for the Riot, contributing to the club capturing their first-ever league championship. 

Possessing experience at the CIS and NCAA levels is first baseman and pitcher Amanda Asay. Having once played for Digit Murphy at Brown University, Asay was a two-sport star at Brown, also playing on the softball team. Upon graduation from Brown, she would join the UBC Thunderbirds for two seasons. Currently pursuing a PhD in Forestry from UBC, Asay contributed two solid seasons with the Thunderbirds. 

Whether it is on the ice or on the diamond, Stephenson and her teammates exemplify both class and dedication. Gracious with fans and proud to be part of an empowering generation that have brought women’s baseball into the sporting conversation, they are champions before the Games even begin.

Photo credits: Mark Staffieri
Description: (Top right) Psota earning the start in an exhibition match against the semi-pro Ottawa Expos
(Middle left): With number 12 donning the back of Ashley Stephenson's jersey, her impact in Canadian baseball is akin to another Canadian legend who wore #12, Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Roberto Alomar
(Bottom left): Autumn Mills featured on the scoreboard at Ottawa Stadium