On the eve of the 2019 CWHL All-Star Game, players, coaches and honoured guests gathered in Toronto for the draft which would determine which players play where at Scotiabank Arena on Sunday afternoon.
While the draft was closed off to the media after a busy day at Hilton Toronto, it was made available via LIVE stream on Instagram while the league also tweeted out the results as soon as the selections were made.
The night opened with a warm welcome from league commissioner Jayna Hefford before Canadian speed skater Anastasia Bucsis took over duties as host for the evening.
In similarity to past seasons, it was announced that the two team captains would take turns making their respective selections, however, one change to the rules was inserted and put into effect on Saturday evening. The difference here of course being that the last player to be picked would get first dibs on their team’s name as well as the entirety of the coaching staff for their squad.
One more twist added on would be that the last player would be able to take home a picture from the CAN Fund Gallery where the entirety of Saturday’s event was held to officially ring in the All-Star Weekend.
In order to decide who would get the first overall selection, a poll was created by the league to give fans the chance to have their voices heard and after it closed, the results revealed that Bridgette Lacquette beat out Liz Knox to have the honour to get it all started.
After an impressive recent display at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard against Toronto, perhaps it was no surprise that Marie-Philip Poulin was chosen first, while Knox then took to the podium and selected Brianna Decker from the Calgary Inferno.
Lacquette then selected Sarah Nurse from Toronto while Knox then chose Ann Sophie Bettez from Montreal. Lacquette, up again, would then choose Blayre Turnbull from the Inferno while Knox, on the other hand, selected Canadian olympian Jocelyne Larocque.
This was just the starting point, however, as Lacquette continued to dig in deep, this time selecting Emerance Maschmeyer from Les Canadiennes de Montreal. With the eighth selection, Liz Knox picked Canadian olympian Natalie Spooner who captains the Toronto Furies under the management of head coach Courtney Kessel.
Down to the final two selections for the starting lineups, Bridgette Lacquette would then select right-handed defensemen Halli Krzyzaniak, meanwhile, Knox would then be left with Jessica Wong from the Kunlun Redstar.
This would then result in a fifteen minute intermission to mingle and re-group before the random draw got underway to round out the remainder of both teams.
Bridgette Lacquette got it going with the selection of Markham Thunder forward Jamie Lee Rattray while Liz Knox then selected American forward Hilary Knight from Montreal. Lacquette then selected Markham forward Laura Stacey while Knox selected fellow teammate and defensemen Laura Fortino.
As the second round continued, Bridgette Lacquette selected goaltender Alex Rigsby from the Calgary Inferno while Liz Knox then selected Rigsby’s teammate in Canadian forward Brianne Jenner. Lacquette would then select 22-year-old Victoria Bach while Liz Knox would select Erin Ambrose from Les Canadiennes de Montreal.
With three picks left to bring the CWHL All-Star Draft to a close, Lacquette would select defensemen Mellissa Channell from the Furies while Knox then had her choosing of Hannah Miller from the Kunlun Redstar. This would leave Bridgette Lacquette with the final selection of the night, picking Miller’s teammate, American centreman Alex Carpenter.
With the last choosing, this meant that Carpenter had the choice of selecting the coaching staff she and her teammates will play under, starting with the selection of Canadian actor Gerry Dee.
That in mind, the remainder of the coaching combinations will be former Olympian and Canadiennes goaltender Charline Labonté to go alongside head coach Glenn Healy, meanwhile, on the other end it will be former Olympian Cheryl Pounder who will work alongside the likes of Anastasia Bucsis as well as head coach Curtis Joseph.
Pounder is a former forward and CWHL member as she played for the Mississauga Chiefs, existent from 2007 through to the conclusion of 2010. That being said, make no mistake as Team Purple will be Team Pounder going up against Team Gold who will be Team Labonté.
The game is set to get going from Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto with puck drop scheduled to fall at 1:30pmET. For those who cannot make it, the game can be seen on Sportsnet as well as Sportsnet NOW. For the remainder of the rosters that will accompany each team on Sunday afternoon, be sure to give the CWHL a follow on Twitter @TheCWHL or else you can pay a visit to TheCWHL.com or PensionPlanPuppets.com.