Who’d play in #OneLeague?

Projecting six elite women’s hockey team rosters

29.07.2018
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The U.S.'s Megan Keller and Canada's Marie-Philip Poulin are both included in our speculative 120-player #OneLeague for women's hockey stars. Photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images

Recently, the conversation about creating one top North American league for women’s hockey has grown louder. But what would the rosters actually look like?

To keep that conversation going, we’ve created six theoretical team rosters of 20 players apiece (12 forwards, six defenders, two goalies), echoing the NHL’s Original Six clubs of 1942 to 1967 that could play in a league that many players and people in women’s hockey propose, a merger of the CWHL and NWHL as the current top senior leagues in North America.

Theoretical cities and club names are not specified. However, following that Original Six model, it’s reasonable to assume that this #OneLeague, as it’s been dubbed, is based primarily in eastern North America, offering salaries and working conditions that create the incentive for stars worldwide to sign up. Our rosters reflect the increasing global talent pool and diversity of women’s hockey.

The 2015-founded NWHL is based in the U.S. with teams Boston, Buffalo, Connecticut, New Jersey and Minnesota. The older, 2007-founded CWHL has most teams in Canada in Calgary, Markham, Montreal and Toronto as well as one team in the U.S. (Boston) and in China (Shenzhen).

The 120 players are listed by their nationalities and primary 2017/18 team affiliations. As a side note, North Americans who were centralized for the Olympics are listed as national team members, while Europeans who made their Olympic teams are listed by their domestic clubs.

The breakdown is 45 Canadians, 40 Americans, 14 Finns, six Swedes, five Swiss players, four Russians, two Czechs, one Austrian, one French player, one Japanese player, and one Hungarian. With rare exceptions – either North Americans crowded out by their national teams’ great depth or talents from developing hockey nations – the selected players have suited up at the Olympics, IIHF Women’s World Championships, or U18 Women’s World Championships.

Only stars who both played in 2017/18 and are projected to return in 2018/19 are included. That’s why you won’t find the likes of Austria’s Denise Altmann (retired), Finland’s Mira Jalosuo (retired), Sweden’s Annie Svedin (retired), Switzerland’s Christine Meier and Florence Schelling (retired), Canada’s Meaghan Mikkelson (pregnant), or the U.S.’s Monique Lamoureux-Morando (pregnant), among others.

The relative parity among these rosters is designed to encourage debate. Would you rather have Team A’s goaltending duo of super-Finn Noora Raty and top Canadian prospect Emerance Maschmeyer or Team C’s double-Olympian whammy of 2018 gold medalist Maddie Rooney and Canadian backup Genevieve Lacasse? How about the blazing speed of Team B’s Kendall Coyne and Rebecca Johnston versus the scary finesse of Team F’s Melodie Daoust and Kelli Stack? The tough decisions go on.

There is widespread support among the players for bringing the best of the best together. “With the whole #OneLeague thing, I think all of us truly hope that does come to life and that we are able to have one incredible league,” said 2018 Olympic all-star defender Laura Fortino, who won the Clarkson Cup with the CWHL’s Markham Thunder this year. “For right now, the NWHL and CWHL are both amazing leagues. There’s amazing talent in both. But I think it’s only going to get better.”

Right now, the future of #OneLeague is up in the air. For next season, numerous stars have already committed to clubs in the CWHL, NWHL, and top European leagues. Nonetheless, this is a conversation that won’t go away. More speculation has ensued in the wake of long-time CWHL commissioner Brenda Andress's decision to move on, with Jayna Hefford, a newly chosen Hockey Hall of Fame inductee who scored Canada's 2002 Olympic gold medal-winning goal, taking the reins.. It’s an exciting time to follow women’s hockey as we build up to the 2019 Women’s Worlds in Espoo, Finland (4-14 April) and look ahead to the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, China, both of which will feature 10 teams for the very first time.

Do you agree or disagree with the roster selections? Voice your opinion. The selections are the responsibility of the author, who has covered five Olympic women’s hockey tournaments and three Women’s Worlds, and do not reflect any official views of the IIHF.

Team A

Goalies

Emerance Maschmeyer (CAN, Les Canadiennes de Montreal)
Noora Raty (FIN, Kunlun Red Star)

Defenders

Kacey Bellamy (USA, U.S. national team)
Nicole Bullo (SUI, HC Lugano)
Courtney Burke (USA, Metropolitan Riveters)
Halli Krzyzaniak (CAN, Djurgarden Stockholm)
Brigette Lacquette (CAN, Canadian national team)
Jessica Wong (CAN, Kunlun Red Star)

Forwards

Emily Clark (CAN, Canadian national team)
Zoe Hickel (USA, Kunlun Red Star)
Amanda Kessel (USA, U.S. national team)
Hilary Knight (USA, U.S. national team)
Cayley Mercer (CAN, Vanke Rays)
Sarah Nurse (CAN, Canadian national team)
Annie Pankowski (USA, U.S. national team centralization roster)
Alena Polenska (CZE, Dynamo St. Petersburg)
Amy Potomak (CAN, Canadian national team centralization roster)
Laura Stacey (CAN, Canadian national team)
Dana Trivigno (USA, Boston Pride)
Linda Valimaki (FIN, Ilves Tampere)

Team B

Goalies

Katie Burt (USA, Boston College)
Shannon Szabados (CAN, Canadian national team)

Defenders

Laura Benz (SUI, ZSC Lions Zurich)
Laura Fortino (CAN, Canadian national team)
Kaleigh Fratkin (CAN, Boston Pride)
Megan Keller (USA, U.S. national team)
Michelle Picard (USA, Metropolitan Riveters)
Micah Zandee-Hart (CAN, Canadian national team centralization roster)

Forwards

Marion Allemoz (FRA, Les Canadiennes de Montreal)
Victoria Bach (CAN, Boston University)
Ann-Sophie Bettez (CAN, Les Canadiennes de Montreal)
Kendall Coyne (USA, U.S. national team)
Erika Grahm (SWE, Modo Ornskoldsvik)
Brianne Jenner (CAN, Canadian national team)
Rebecca Johnston (CAN, Canadian national team)
Tanja Niskanen (FIN, KalPa Kuopio)
Sarah Potomak (CAN, Canadian national team centralization roster)
Anna Shokhina (RUS, Tornado Moscow Region)
Haley Skarupa (USA, U.S. national team)
Tereza Vanisova (CZE, University of Maine)

Team C

Goalies

Genevieve Lacasse (CAN, Canadian national team)
Maddie Rooney (USA, U.S. national team)

Defenders

Erin Ambrose (CAN, Les Canadiennes de Montreal)
Jincy Dunne (USA, Ohio State)
Sarah Edney (CAN, Buffalo Beauts)
Jenni Hiirikoski (FIN, Lulea HF)
Jocelyne Larocque (CAN, Canadian national team)
Ronja Savolainen (FIN, Lulea HF)

Forwards

Kelly Babstock (CAN, Connecticut Whale)
Brianna Decker (USA, U.S. national team)
Meghan Duggan (USA, U.S. national team)
Emily Field (USA, Boston Pride)
Iya Gavrilova (RUS, Calgary Inferno)
Jess Jones (CAN, Buffalo Beauts)
Alina Muller (SUI, ZSC Lions Zurich)
Caroline Ouellette (CAN, Les Canadiennes de Montreal)
Kelly Pannek (USA, U.S. national team)
Jamie Lee Rattray (CAN, Markham Thunder)
Hayley Scamurra (USA, Buffalo Beauts)
Olga Sosina (RUS, Agidel Ufa)

Team D

Goalies

Ann-Renee Desbiens (CAN, Canadian national team)
Meeri Raisanen (FIN, HPK Hameenlinna)

Defenders

Cayla Barnes (USA, U.S. national team)
Courtney Birchard (CAN, Ice Dream Kosice)
Johanna Fallman (SWE, Lulea HF)
Renata Fast (CAN, Canadian national team)
Kelsey Koelzer (USA, Metropolitan Riveters)
Jenny Ryan (USA, Metropolitan Riveters)

Forwards

Alex Carpenter (USA, Kunlun Red Star)
Sarah Davis (CAN, N/A)
Fanni Gasparics (HUN, Agidel Ufa)
Alexa Gruschow (USA, Metropolitan Riveters)
Caitrin Lonergan (USA, Boston College)
Gigi Marvin (USA, U.S. national team)
Petra Nieminen (FIN, Team Kuortane)
Madison Packer (USA, Metropolitan Riveters)
Marie-Philip Poulin (CAN, Canadian national team)
Rebecca Russo (USA, Metropolitan Riveters)
Jillian Saulnier (CAN, Canadian national team)
Jennifer Wakefield (CAN, Canadian national team)

Team E

Goalies

Nana Fujimoto (JPN, Japanese national team)
Alex Rigsby (USA, U.S. national team)

Defenders

Megan Bozek (USA, Markham Thunder)
Cathy Chartrand (CAN, Les Canadiennes de Montreal)
Kali Flanagan (USA, U.S. national team)
Rosa Lindstedt (FIN, HV71 Jonkoping)
Maja Nylen Persson (SWE, Leksands IF)
Emily Pfalzer (USA, U.S. national team)

Forwards

Meghan Agosta (CAN, Canadian national team)
Anna Borgqvist (SWE, Brynas Gavle)
Bailey Bram (CAN, Canadian national team)
Hannah Brandt (USA, U.S. national team)
Venla Hovi (FIN, University of Manitoba)
Haley Irwin (CAN, Canadian national team)
Michelle Karvinen (FIN, Lulea HF)
Sarah Lefort (CAN, Les Canadiennes de Montreal)
Noemie Marin (CAN, Les Canadiennes de Montreal)
Amanda Pelkey (USA, U.S. national team)
Lara Stalder (SUI, Linkoping HC)
Riikka Valila (FIN, HV71 Jonkoping)

Team F

Goalies

Nicole Hensley (USA, U.S. national team)
Sara Grahn (SWE, Brynas Gavle)

Defenders

Katelyn Gosling (CAN, Calgary Inferno)
Sidney Morin (USA, U.S. national team)
Isa Rahunen (FIN, Karpat Oulu)
Lauriane Rougeau (CAN, Canadian national team)
Lee Stecklein (USA, U.S. national team)
Minttu Tuominen (FIN, Espoo Blues)

Forwards

Dani Cameranesi (USA, U.S. national team)
Melodie Daoust (CAN, Canadian national team)
Shiann Darkangelo (USA, Kunlun Red Star)
Yelena Dergachyova (RUS, Tornado Moscow Region)
Natalie Spooner (CAN, Canadian national team)
Kelli Stack (USA, Kunlun Red Star)
Phoebe Staenz (SUI, SDE HF)
Susanna Tapani (FIN, Lukko Rauma)
Blayre Turnbull (CAN, Canadian national team)
Daryl Watts (CAN, Boston College)
Janine Weber (AUT, Boston Pride)
Pernilla Winberg (SWE, Linkoping HC)

LUCAS AYKROYD

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