On April 29, the NWHL held its final three rounds of the 2020 Draft. Each pick continued to be announced on Twitter by a special guest or celebrity. Rounds 1-2 were held the day prior, and were recapped by our Dan Rice.
For rounds 3-5, some of the more recognizable special guests – particularly in the eyes of the hockey community – included current Columbus Blue Jackets star Cam Atkinson, Olympic goaltender for Team Switzerland and General Manager of SC Bern Florence Schelling, former NHL goaltender and NHL Network broadcaster Kevin Weekes, and Tampa Bay Lightning defender Ryan McDonagh.
History was made across the board in more ways than one as the selections continued. Adrian College was the only NCAA Division III program to have multiple players selected in the draft. U Sports players were drafted for the first time in NWHL history. For the first time since 2016, more than one goaltender would be selected in the draft. The NWHL’s newest club in Toronto – still waiting to be named – made the first draft selections of its franchise history, including some of its native daughters.
All in all, this was the most exciting NWHL draft yet. This stems primarily from the amount of exposure it was given and because of the obvious support from the many friends of the league. THW summarizes each team’s selections and looks at the final 18 players selected in the 2020 NWHL Draft.
Taylor Wenczkowski (forward), University of New Hampshire – selected third round, 18th overall. A 5-foot-7 right-handed shot, Wenczkowski reached 20 points in each of her final three campaigns with the Wildcats. Her most impressive performance was her 20-goal output in 2018-19 – enough to rank first for UNH in goals and points (20-6-26) while playing in 36 games. Similarly, Wenczkowski led her club in penalty minutes (43) and tied for second in assists (14) this past 2019-20 season.
Taylor Turnquist (defender), Clarkson University – selected fourth round, 24th overall. A highly reliable defender in her own end, Turnquist is a 2-time NCAA champion from her time with Clarkson. Also capable of playing forward, she served as an assistant captain for the Knights during her senior 2019-20 season. Turnquist blocked 126 shots in her 158 NCAA games, and finished her collegiate career as a plus-58.
Meghara McManus (forward), University of New Hampshire – selected fifth round, 29th overall. McManus achieved double digits in points during all four of her seasons at New Hampshire. More importantly, she increased her seasonal goal totals from her freshman campaign up through her recently completed senior run – totals of 8, 11, 12 and 17 to be precise. McManus’ 17 goals and 27 points during 2019-20 led the Wildcats in both categories. She should see no difficulty in carrying her scoring prowess over to the professional level.
Paige Capistran (defender), Northeastern University – selected fifth round, 30th overall. The final player selected in the 2020 NWHL Draft, Capistran suited up for 145 career games with the Northeastern Huskies – the sixth most all-time in the program’s history. She was the recipient of the Hockey East Sportsmanship Award for the 2019-20 season. As team captain this past season, Capistran led the Huskies through their winningest season ever with 32 victories. More of a stay-at-home defender, the 5-foot-5 blueliner ended her collegiate career 4-26-30 in scoring across four seasons.
Autumn MacDougall (forward), University of Alberta – selected third round, 14th overall. MacDougall became the first player in NWHL history to be drafted out of U Sports – Canada’s version of the NCAA. It was easy to see why. In 139 career games for the Pandas, MacDougall generated 58 goals, 67 assists and 125 points. Aside from first year for Alberta, she topped 20 points in her four seasons afterward – three of which saw MacDougall hit 30 or more. Her goal totals increased in every season as well – 4, 11, 12, 14 and 17 respectively.
Kelly O’Sullivan (defender), Adrian College – selected fourth round, 20th overall. Should defender Kelly O’Sullivan opt to sign with the Beauts, she will be the fourth player in Adrian College history to play for the team. Very fluid from the back end, she is capable of joining the rush and helping to generate offense quite well. O’Sullivan never scored less than 21 points in a season for the Bulldogs. She was the leading scorer for Adrian in 2017-18, as well as the highest scoring defender for the club in her sophomore, junior, senior seasons.
Logan Land (defender), Rochester Institute of Technology – selected fifth round, 26th overall. The stalwart 5-foot-8 defender suited up for 135 career games for the RIT Tigers. Land captained the team this past 2019-20 season, and set or equaled career highs in games played (35), goals (4), assists (12), and points (16). She led RIT in penalty minutes with 45, and was second-most on the team with 103 blocked shots.
Savannah Rennie (forward), Syracuse University – selected third round, 13th overall. Rennie was the first selection of the NWHL’s second night of drafting. Coming from Syracuse University, the 5-foot-7 forward hails originally from East St. Paul, Manitoba. A robust, physical skater, Rennie accumulated 107 penalty minutes in 123 career NCAA games for the Orange. She set career highs for assists (15) and points (23) in 34 games as a senior during the 2019-20 season.
Amanda Conway (forward), Norwich University – selected fourth round, 19th overall. Conway was one of handful of NCAA D-III players selected in the draft, but she is a “can’t miss” selection. She was a scoring machine for the Norwich Cadets, compiling a staggering 116 goals and 72 assists for 188 points in only 111 games. Conway eclipsed the 30-goal plateau three times during her collegiate career, and never scored less than 20.
Nicole Guagliardo (forward), Adrian College – selected fifth round, 25th overall. Guagliardo was the second player in the draft selected from the Adrian College Bulldogs. She had multiple stops in her NCAA career beginning with two seasons at Mercyhurst, followed by one at Lindenwood University, before playing out her senior season with Adrian. Guagliardo reach hit double digits in goals, assists and points in her final two seasons of play. She was better than a point-per-game player with the Bulldogs, having gone 16-17-33 for scoring in only 28 games.
Maddie Bishop (forward), Sacred Heart University – selected fifth round, 27th overall. A native of Wethersfield, Connecticut, Bishop got drafted by her hometown team. Serving as a co-captain during her senior season at Sacred Heart University, her goal totals went up in each of her four NCAA seasons. Bishop hit double digits in goals (11), assists (19), and points (30) in 32 games during her senior season – all of which were career highs.
Tera Hofmann (goalie), Yale University – selected third round, 16th overall. Hofmann was the second goalie selected in the 2020 NWHL Draft. Wrapping up her career at Yale in 2019-20, she finished with a record of 22-39-9. Better yet, her .914 career save percentage and 2.64 goals-against average rank fourth and third best in Yale history respectively. Hofmann’s six career shutouts are fifth highest by a Yale Bulldog.
Bridgette Prentiss (defender), Franklin Pierce University – selected fourth round, 21st overall. Prentiss has been a high-scoring defender for her entire NCAA career. A native of Buffalo, New York, she recorded double digits in points during each of her four seasons at Franklin Pierce. Prentiss was the Ravens’ leading scorer during 2019-20 by going 19-26-45 in just 31 games. She captained her club in her senior season as well.
Presley Norby (forward), University of Wisconsin – selected third round, 17th overall. Norby is an NCAA champion and a 2-time gold medalist for USA’s Women’s U18 National Team. A 5-foot-5 right-handed shot, she scored at least 10 goals in her sophomore, junior and senior seasons with the Badgers. Never recording less than 21 points in a season, Norby finished her career nearly reaching the century point mark – 38 goals, 56 assists and 94 points in 153 career games.
Haley Mack (forward), Bemidji State University – selected fourth round, 23rd overall. Mack led the Beavers in scoring during both her sophomore and senior campaigns. She set career highs in goals (15) and points (28) during this past 2019-20 season. A 5-foot-3 left-handed shooter, Mack was selected to the WCHA All-Academic Team three times during her collegiate career. She holds the Beavers record for more career shorthanded goals with five.
Maddie Rowe (forward), University of Wisconsin – selected fifth round, 28th overall. Rowe is capable of playing both the forward and defense position. Standing at 5-foot-11, she was one of the tallest player selected in the 2020 Draft. Like her Badgers’ teammate Norby, Rowe is an NCAA champion. She finished her collegiate career with 11 goals, 19 assists and 30 points in 152 career games at Wisconsin. Never a minus player in any of her four seasons, she finished college as a career plus-50.
Erin Locke (forward), York University – selected third round, 15th overall. Locke is a native Torontonian and played her collegiate hockey for U Sports York University. A hard-working playmaker, she played her junior hockey for the Provincial Women’s Hockey League’s (PWHL) Etobicoke Dolphins. Though her season was shortened, Locke’s finest offensive performance came during 2018-19 when she went 9-11-20 in scoring for York in just 14 games. She ended her career having scored 26 goals, 37 assists and 63 points in 109 games career games.
Natalie Marcuzzi (forward), Robert Morris University – selected fourth round, 22nd overall. A native of Thornhill, Ontario, Marcuzzi stands 5-foot-7 and is a left-handed shot. She served as an assistant captain in her final season with Robert Morris. Marcuzzi generated 90 shots on goal through 36 games during the 2019-20 season. At the close of her NCAA career, she had tallied 20 goals, 20 assists and 40 points in 139 career games.
General Manager of the Buffalo Beauts (NWHL). Hockey history writer “The Hockey Writers”. Credentialed media for the NHL Combine and 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships in Buffalo, NY, USA. Born and raised in Buffalo, NY. Lifelong hockey fan for over 40 years. Proponent of the women’s game.