2021 NWHL DRAFT RECAP
Forward Taylor Girard Headlines List of 30 Players Selected by NWHL Clubs
June 29, 2021 (Brooklyn, N.Y.) – The National Women’s Hockey League today announced the results of the 2021 NWHL Draft featuring collegiate graduates from across North America. A total of 30 players were selected by the league’s six member clubs over the five-round process and were introduced live on Twitch for the first time in league history.
The 2021 NWHL Draft Show hosted by Erica Ayala and Katie Gaus with interviews from players and staff from across the NWHL in addition to all 30 pick announcements can be replayed at twitch.tv/NWHL.
“These athletes represent the future of the NWHL and professional women’s hockey in North America who will help inspire the next generation of young girls and boys,” said NWHL Commissioner Tyler Tumminia. “We are proud to celebrate all of the hard work, dedication, and resiliency that have driven their careers this far. I hope all of the players enjoy this special moment with family and friends, and we can’t wait to see you and all of our fans in Season 7.”
Forward Taylor Girard, who scored 16 points in 15 games this season for Quinnipiac University, was selected first overall by the Connecticut Whale who opened the draft for the first time in franchise history.
“It’s so special to be drafted by the Whale,” Girard said on the NWHL Draft Show. “I got to know the area of Connecticut the last few years and I love living on the east coast. I’m really happy I can still be close to Quinnipiac and it will make the adjustment easier. I’m excited to really just contribute in any way that I can. I’m really excited to get to know my new teammates and start this next season with the Whale.”
Defender Emilie Harley, the sister of Dallas Stars prospect Thomas Harley, was chosen second overall by the Beauts and was the first of a draft-high three players to come from Robert Morris University just weeks after the announced cancellation of the school’s hockey programs.
“Without RMU I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you right now. It’s such a family atmosphere and we were really successful this year,” Harley said. “It’s really exciting first of all to be drafted, that doesn’t happen for a lot of people, so that’s really a special moment. I’ve been talking to (GM) Nate (Oliver) a little bit and I’m really just excited to get to Buffalo. They’re one of the teams in the league who have won the Isobel Cup before so I’m excited just to get there and bring it back.”
Vancouver native Maegan Beres who captained Boston College this past season rounds out the draft’s top three and was the first of a trio of consecutive picks made by the Toronto Six in the first round.
“I’m super excited to join the Toronto Six. It’s just such an honor to be able to play for them on home soil here in Canada,” Beres said. “I couldn’t be more excited, especially with the leadership that they have and that they’ve recently just announced for the team. Coming from Boston College I’m going to take my experiences there and just kind of run with it here with the Toronto Six. I’m obviously excited to learn from everyone who has already been there, played in the NWHL, and played for this program. I’m incredibly excited for it and ready to get going with it.”
The Six followed up their selection of Beres by choosing Tatum Skaggs of Ohio State University at fourth overall, then local defender Taylor Davison of York University at number five making her the highest player ever selected from a U SPORTS program in NWHL Draft history. Defender Mak Langei of Bemidji State University wrapped up the first round going sixth overall to the Minnesota Whitecaps and was the first of five players chosen to stay in the State of Hockey. The Metropolitan Riveters first selection came in the second round and was defender Caroline Ross of Colgate University. The Boston Pride made their first pick in round four choosing forward Finley Frechette from Cornell University.
The 30 selected players by position equal 15 forwards, 14 defenders, and one goaltender. They represent a total of 24 different programs including 19 NCAA Division I teams, three U SPORTS teams, and two NCAA Division III teams. Programs developing multiple players include the aforementioned BSU and Colgate, plus the University of New Hampshire and the University of Maine all with two players behind RMU’s three. Seven programs were represented for the first time in NWHL Draft history including Hamilton College, College of the Holy Cross, St. Cloud State University, Pennsylvania State University, Castleton University, Long Island University, and Concordia University.
20 of the players selected are from the United States followed by seven from Canada and three international countries including Czech Republic, Russia, and for the first time in NWHL Draft history a player from England when Casey Traill went in the fifth round to the Beauts. Following Minnesota’s draft-high five players, the state breakdown includes three players from Massachusetts, Michigan and New York hometowns, two from New Jersey, and one from each of California, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. By province, three players come from Ontario, two from Nova Scotia, and one from Alberta and British Columbia.
Toronto led the way with eight total selections followed by Buffalo with seven, Minnesota with five, Connecticut and Metropolitan with four each, and Boston with two.
All picks in the NWHL Draft were announced by special guests representing female and male sports leaders, media personalities, league partners, and fans.
2021 NWHL DRAFT RESULTS:
Player, Position, Team, Collegiate Program / Hometown
Click on a player’s name to see their collegiate program profile
Links to pick announcements will open on Twitter
1. Taylor Girard (F) Connecticut Whale (via BUF) (Quinnipiac University / Macomb, MI)
Pick announced by Kim Davis, NHL Senior Executive Vice President
2. Emilie Harley (D) Buffalo Beauts (via CTW) (Robert Morris University / Syracuse, NY)
Pick announced by Jeff Marek, NHL on Sportsnet Host
3. Maegan Beres (F) Toronto Six (via BOS) (Boston College / Vancouver, BC)
Pick announced by Katie Crowley, Boston College Head Coach
4. Tatum Skaggs (F) Toronto Six (Ohio State University / Hartland, WI)
Pick announced by Kim Ng, Miami Marlins General Manager
5. Taylor Davison (D) Toronto Six (via MET) (York University / Oakville, ON)
Pick announced by Angela James, Toronto Six Assistant Coach
6. Mak Langei (D) Minnesota Whitecaps (Bemidji State University / East Grand Forks, MN)
Pick announced by Bill Guerin, Minnesota Wild General Manager
7. Anjelica Diffendal (F) Buffalo Beauts (Robert Morris University / Pittsburgh, PA)
Pick announced by Michele Roberts, NBPA Executive Director
8. Emma Polaski (F) Connecticut Whale (Syracuse University / Morristown, NJ)
Pick announced by Linda Cohn, ESPN Anchor
9. Annie MacDonald (F) Toronto Six (via BOS) (Princeton University / Fall River, NS)
Pick announced by Kelsey Koelzer, Arcadia University Head Coach & NWHL Advisor
10. Rachel Marmen (D) Toronto Six (Mercyhurst University / Oakville, ON)
Pick announced by P.K. Subban, New Jersey Devils Defenseman
11. Caroline Ross (D) Metropolitan Riveters (Colgate University / Rochester, NY)
Pick announced by Jean Afterman, New York Yankees SVP, Assistant General Manager
12. Tina Kampa (D) Minnesota Whitecaps (Bemidji State University / Maple Grove, MN)
Pick announced by R. Renee Hess, Black Girl Hockey Club Founder and Executive Director
13. Kennedy Ganser (F) Buffalo Beauts (University of Alberta / Provost, AB)
Pick announced by Meghan Hunter, Chicago Blackhawks Director of Hockey Admin and Amateur Scout
14. Anna Zíková (D) Buffalo Beauts (via CTW) (University of Maine / Ceský Tešín, Czech Republic)
Pick announced by Anne Lieberman, Athlete Ally Director of Policy and Programs
15. Missy Segall (F) Buffalo Beauts (via BOS) (Hamilton College / Wellesley, MA)
Pick announced by Meghan Chayka, Stathletes Co-Founder
16. Leah Marino (F) Toronto Six (Robert Morris University / South Lake Tahoe, CA)
Pick announced by Kate Scott, NBCSN Play-by-Play Announcer
17. Julia Scammell (D) Metropolitan Riveters (University of New Hampshire / Truro, NS)
Pick announced by Alyse LaHue, NJ/NY Gotham FC General Manager
18. Taylor Wente (F) Minnesota Whitecaps (University of Minnesota / Plymouth, MN)
Pick announced by Katie Million, USA Hockey Director of Women’s National Team Programs
19. Allison Attea (D) Buffalo Beauts (College of the Holy Cross / Buffalo, NY)
Pick announced by Lyndsey Fry, Arizona Coyotes Director of External Engagement and Female Hockey
20. Hannah Bates (D) Connecticut Whale (St. Cloud State University / Trenton, MI)
Pick announced by Glenn Witman, You Can Play Co-Founder
21. Finley Frechette (F) Boston Pride (Cornell University / Weston, MA)
Pick announced by Caley Chelios, Tampa Bay Lightning Radio Analyst and Digital Reporter
22. Olivia Atkinson (F) Toronto Six (Concordia University / Oakville, ON)
Pick announced by Julie Chu and Caroline Ouellette, Concordia Head Coach and Interim Head Coach
23. Jordan Sanislo (D) Metropolitan Riveters (Sacred Heart University / Whippany, NJ)
Pick announced by Madison Packer, Metropolitan Riveters Captain
24. Jenna Brenneman (G) Minnesota Whitecaps (Pennsylvania State University / Eagan, MN)
Pick announced by Spencer Knight, Florida Panthers Goaltender
25. Casey Traill (D) Buffalo Beauts (Castleton University / South Shields, England)
Pick announced by Beauts fan Heidi Wilkinson
26. Grace Middleton (F) Connecticut Whale (University of New Hampshire / Midland, MI)
Pick announced by Whale fan Wayne Heinze
27. Abby Nearis (F) Boston Pride (Brown University / Beverly, MA)
Pick announced by Pride volunteer Bob Varney
28. Daria Tereshkina (D) Toronto Six (University of Maine / Chelyabinsk, Russia)
Pick announced by Six fan Dani Breen
29. Morgan Schauer (D) Metropolitan Riveters (Long Island University / Cleveland, OH)
Pick announced by Riveters fan Desmond Garrett
30. Kendall Williamson (F) Minnesota Whitecaps (Colgate University / Edina, MN)
Pick announced by Whitecaps PA Announcer Kirk Possehl
NWHL clubs will have a two-week window to exclusively sign their draft picks to contracts for the 2021-22 season. Any selected players who go unsigned in this timeframe will become eligible for free agency at 9:00 a.m. ET on July 14. Any unselected players immediately qualify for free agency beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET on June 30. The inaugural NWHL International Draft will be held on July 25.
About the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL)
Established in 2015, the NWHL was the first professional women’s hockey league in North America to pay its players. The mission of the league is to fuel the continued growth of the sport and brand of pro women’s hockey. The league is made up of the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters, Minnesota Whitecaps, and the Toronto Six. Visit NWHL.zone and follow on Twitter and Facebook @NWHL and Instagram @NWHL.zone.
Media ContactPaul Krotz
NWHL Senior Vice President of Communications