In March, the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) made headlines by announcing they would be the first professional league to pay women for playing hockey. Last week, they took the next step by signing their first free agent, Janine Weber, to a paid contract. On Saturday in Boston they embark on the league’s inaugural draft.
Here’s three things you need to know going into the event:
1) This is an amateur draft and it’s free.
The women available to be drafted must have completed their junior season at an accredited four year university. A total of 20 players will be selected in the five-round, four-team draft process. The draft order was announced earlier by league commissioner Dani Rylan, and is as such: New York Riveters, Connecticut Whale, Boston Pride, and Buffalo Beauts.
Those who are drafted are expected to return to school to finish their senior year. Once their college career is complete, they can then negotiate a contract with the team that drafted them or opt-out in order to try free agency. Her amateur status with the NCAA will not impacted, just like the guys.
The NWHL does not charge a fee for the prospects to enter the draft. The Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) charges prospects $150 (CDN) in order to register.
Those not taken in the draft can come back to the NWHL after they complete their senior year of college, and participate in free agency. Free agency is how the teams will fill out their roster this season and incorporate the draftees the following season.
2) Meet likely No. 1 pick Alex Carpenter.
Carpenter is a forward from Boston College. She won the the Patty Kazmir Award in 2015 given to the top Division I women’s hockey player. Beyond her success at college, Carpenter was also an Olympian.
Here’s here two-time Olympian AJ Mleczko Griswold’s scouting report on Alex from the Mock Draft Top 10:
“… [Carpenter] is the most dominant forward in college hockey. She is a fun player to watch, as she is shifty, sneaky, and incredibly smart on and off the puck. Her year away from the NCAA training with Team USA for their silver medal run in Sochi helped her add speed and strength to her game. Daughter of the “Can’t Miss Kid” Bobby Carpenter, she has drawn comparisons to her famous father, while starting to make a name that is all her own.”
3) GET INVOLVED in the historic day!
The draft commences at 12 pm ET. More draft specifics can found on the league website. There are several different social media platforms you can connect with the NWHL on.
At the end of the draft, all four GMs from the teams will be doing a live Q & A session on Periscope. Follow the NWHL’s Twitter account and use #NWHLDraftQA.