On Jan. 9 the NWHL revealed the full rosters and teams for the 2020 All-Star Game which will take place in Boston at Warrior Ice Arena, home of the Boston Pride during the weekend of Feb. 8-9. The 5th annual weekend with the best of the best in the league on display was announced back on Dec. 20 when the NWHL also revealed who the two captains would be.
The NWHL’s Great Eight
Commissioner Dani Rylan selected Boston’s Jillian Dempsey and Madison Packer from the Metropolitan Riveters as the captains in addition to revealing that the other six players who have been a part of the league since its inception – Corinne Buie of the Buffalo Beauts, Kaleigh Fratkin of the Pride, Kiira Dosdall-Arena of the Riveters, and Shannon Doyle, Elena Orlando, and Jordan Brickner of the Connecticut Whale – will also be a part of All-Star Weekend.
“This is our way of celebrating eight women who have earned the adulation of fans and respect of their peers for their outstanding play and efforts for our league since day one,” said Rylan.
The All-Star Skills Challenge will take place on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 8:00 p.m. and events will include the Fastest Skater and Hardest Shot. The 2020 NWHL All-Star Game will feature two 25-minute periods of 4-on-4 play and will take place on Sunday, Feb. 9 at 2:30 p.m.
After 15,389 online votes that saw every single player in the league receive at least one vote, the NWHL revealed on Jan. 8 the three players that had received the most votes in the All-Star Fan Vote would be shipping up to Boston as well: Riveters defender Rebecca Morse, Pride defender Lexi Bender, and Minnesota Whitecaps forward Audra Richards. Last season Richards was one of two players (Emily Fluke) who won a fan vote to make the 2019 NWHL All-Star Game.
“I am extremely honored to be selected by the fans,” said Richards after learning she was voted in for a second consecutive season. “That you to all of our fans for making this league possible, without you we wouldn’t be where we are today! Also, congrats to Lexi and Rebecca, see you both in Boston!”
The next day the remaining 21 players (who were chosen by the league office, GMs and here coaches of the five teams) were revealed as Packer and Dempsey made their selections over Twitter. Each entertaining selection came with a witty caption or fun-loving jab at their peers. In total eight members of the Pride will participate in the All-Star Weekend, seven from the Whitecaps, six each from the Beauts and Riveters, and five from the Whale.
A total of 12, first-year players were selected and 20 of the 32 players selected will be making their All-Star Game debuts. Dempsey and Packer currently rank first and second in league history in points and goals. Fratkin is tops among all defenders in league history in points and assists. Amanda Leveille is the league’s all-time leader in wins and is one of three players (Harrison Browne, Buie) to have won the Isobel Cup twice.
This season Dempsey leads the league in points (29) and assists (17) and is four points away from setting a new single-season record. Buffalo’s Taylor Accursi leads the league in goals (15) which ties an NWHL single-season high. Her teammate Marie-Jo Pelletier has already set a record for most power-play points in one season (11). Boston’s Lexie Laing leads all rookies in points (22) and Metropolitan’s Kendall Cornine leads all rookies in goals (12).
(All-Star selections in parentheses)
Goaltenders: Mariah Fujimagari, Buffalo (1), Lovisa Selander, Boston (1)
Defenders: Lexi Bender, Boston (3), Jordan Brickner, Connecticut (2), Kiira Dosdall-Arena, Metropolitan (1). Shannon Doyle, Connecticut (2), Rebecca Morse, Metropolitan (1), Marie-Jo Pelletier, Buffalo (1)
Forwards: Taylor Accursi, Buffalo (1), McKenna Brand, Boston (1), Jonna Curtis, Minnesota (2), Jillian Dempsey, Boston (3), Lexie Laing, Boston (1), Nicole Schammel, Minnesota (1), Allie Thunstrom, Minnesota (2), Emma Vlasic, Connecticut (1)
(All-Star selections in parentheses)
Goaltenders: Amanda Leveille, Minnesota (3), Sam Walther, Metropolitan (1)
Defenders: Sydney Baldwin, Minnesota (1), Amanda Boulier, Minnesota (3), Lenka Curmova, Buffalo (1), Kaleigh Fratkin, Boston (3), Elena Orlando, Connecticut (1)
Forwards: Corinne Buie, Buffalo (3), Kendall Cornine, Metropolitan (1), Grace Klienbach, Connecticut (1), Kate Leary, Metropolitan (1), Madison Packer, Metropolitan (4), Mary Parker, Boston (1), Christina Putigna, Boston (1), Audra Richards, Minnesota (2), Brooke Stacey, Buffalo (1)
Dan Rice is in his 9th year of reporting for THW & has covered NJ Devils home games for 15+ years at various websites. He began his journey working for legendary broadcaster/writer Stan Fischler from 2002-04 & completed an internship at the ECHL; he also has been writing features for the NWHL (nwhl.zone) website since 2016.