CWHL Frozen Fantasy Draft: Picking All Stars
Marie-Philip Poulin Selected With First Overall Pick for Second Straight Year
Les Canadiennes players were highly prized additions to all-star teams at the Canadian Women’s Hockey League Frozen Fantasy Draft, held Friday in downtown Toronto.
Montreal’s top line of Marie-Philip Poulin, Caroline Ouellette and Ann-Sophie Bettez were all selected to be in the starting lineups for either Team White, captained by Furies defender Carlee Campbell, or Team Blue, led by the duo of Natalie Spooner and Meaghan Mikkelson.
“It is such a great honour, especially with those great players in that room,” said Poulin following the draft, selected with Campbell’s first overall selection. “It’s going to be very exciting tomorrow.”
When asked about her first selection, Campbell sarcastically said, “It was really hard. She is younger than me, but I look up to her. Playing against her has really shown me how talented she really is.”
This marks the second straight year in which Poulin was chosen with the opening selection. The reigning league MVP was in hot demand, as Spooner and Mikkelson tried to lure her away from Team White.
The former Amazing Race Canada finalists offered up Brampton netminder Erica Howe and Inferno captain Brianne Jenner in return for Poulin, but the trade offer was quickly squashed by Campbell and the Team white coaching staff.
“We wanted to have the first ever CWHL All-Star draft trade,” said Mikkelson. “It didn’t happen but we tried.”
“I was relieved,” said Poulin. “I am pretty happy on the white team. We have a great squad.”
It did not take long for another member of Les Canadiennes to hear her name called. Ann-Sophie Bettez was picked second overall by Mikkelson and Spooner.
Bettez has been earning high praise around the league for her strong play this season. She is second in league scoring with 35 points in 22 games, only one point back of Poulin.
“I’m really looking forward to playing with Bettez,” said Spooner. “She is so fast. It will be really nice to follow her up the ice and try to catch up with her.”
Ouellette was chosen in the fourth round, joining Poulin on Team White. Campbell praised the veteran’s net-front presence as a determining factor in her decision.
Team White’s starting lineup was rounded out by Canadian national team member Rebecca Johnston, Brampton defender Laura Fortino and Toronto Furies goaltender Christina Kessler.
Team Blue will send out Brampton defender Courtney Birchard, Jenner, and rising Inferno keeper Emerance Maschmeyer to start the game.
The remaining selections were chosen at random through the use of mini hockey sticks.
Canadiennes rookie defender Cassandra Poudrier and veteran rearguard Cathy Chartrand were placed on Team Blue, joining forces with Bettez.
Team White added three more Montreal players to the two existing members. Canadiennes starting goaltender Charline Labonte, youngster Sarah Lefort and American defender Julie Chu made their way onto the star-studded roster of Team White.
Chu was the only all-star not getting her game on as she was held back in Montreal, guiding the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team to a 3-2 win over the Carleton Ravens. Ouellette, who acts as an assistant coach on Chu’s staff, made sure to collect her jersey and pose for the customary photo in her absence. Chu will be in Toronto Saturday for the game.
With the draft festivities now behind them, the players were eager to hit the ice.
“The amount of talent that is on the ice will make it easier for me to assist on plays,” said Campbell. “I am just looking forward to just be a part of all the talent that is there along with me.”
“All the girls are here this weekend because they are passionate about the game,” said Poulin. “There will be a lot skills and heart on display. That is what the women’s game is all about.”
The third annual CWHL All-Star Game will go down on Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m from Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. The game will be broadcast at 3:30 PM on Rogers Sportsnet.
Team White: Captain-Carlee Campbell (TOR)
Forwards: Marie-Philip Poulin (MTL), Rebecca Johnston (CGY), Caroline Ouellette (MTL), Sarah Lefort (MTL), Jess Jones (BMP), Jillian Saulnier (CGY), Meghan Grieves (BOS), Laura Stacey (BMP), Rebecca Vint (BMP)
Defense: Laura Fortino (BMP), Jocelyne Larocque (BMP), Renata Fast (TOR), Erin Ambrose (TOR), Julie Chu (MTL)
Goaltenders: Christina Kessler (TOR), Charline Labonte (MTL)
Coaches: Tessa Bonhomme & Becky Kellar
Team Blue: Co-Captains- Natalie Spoone (TOR), Meaghan Mikkelson (CGY)
Forwards: Ann-Sophie Bettez (MTL), Brianne Jenner (CGY), Jamie Lee Rattray (BMP), Kayla Tutino (BOS), Kelly Terry (TOR), Haley Irwin (CGY), Jenelle Kohanchuk (TOR), Michela Cava (TOR)
Defense: Courtney Birchard (BMP), Tara Watchorn (BOS), Cassandra Poudrier (MTL), Katelyn Gosling (CGY), Cathy Chartrand (MTL)
Goaltenders: Erica Howe (BMP), Emerance Maschmeyer (CGY)
Coaches: Lisa-Marie Breton-Lebreux & Cheryl Pounder
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