The Whale Sign Clarkson Center Kayla Friesen, Picked Second Overall in the 2020 NWHL Draft

by NWHL Media



DANBURY, CT – Kayla Friesen, a Winnipeg native who was selected by Connecticut with the second overall pick in the NWHL Draft after averaging more than a point per game at Clarkson in 2019-20, has signed with the Whale for the upcoming season.

“Signing with Connecticut allows me to be part of an organization that's moving in the right direction,” said Friesen, 22. “I’m extremely proud to join the NWHL – a league that wants the best for women’s hockey, and is willing to take the hard steps needed to build a strong platform and business that will continue to grow and endure for generations to come. I’m excited to get things rolling this season.

“I also want to give a big thanks to Clarkson University, which gave me everything I needed mentally and physically in order to have the opportunities to continue a career after college.”

At Clarkson in 2019-20, Friesen was a standout at center, scoring 10 goals and contributing 20 assists for 30 points in 28 games. She opened her Clarkson career by scoring four goals in a home-and-home sweep of Syracuse, earning ECAC Player of the Week honors. She was second on the Golden Knights with 225 faceoff wins.

In her one season with us, Kayla made an immediate and lasting impact on our program,” said Clarkson head coach Matt Desrosiers. “She is a very competitive person that plays a hard-nosed style of game. She's physical, strong, and not afraid to get to the tough areas of the ice to compete for pucks and score goals. Kayla is the type of player that coaches want in their program and she will be a great addition to the Connecticut Whale and the NWHL."

Before attending Clarkson, Friesen played three years at St. Cloud State University, serving as captain in her junior year. Prior to college, the 5-5 forward won a silver medal with Team Canada at the 2016 IIHF U-18 World Championship in St. Catherines, Ontario. She also played for Team Manitoba at the 2015 U-18 National Championship – where she was an assistant captain and the team won the silver medal – and at the 2015 Canada Winter Games.

Friesen developed as a player at St. Mary’s Academy Prep in Winnipeg. In her final season, in 2015-16, she led the team with 26 goals, 52 assists and 78 points in 45 games.

Photo credit: Clarkson University