Playing in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League is a great achievement. Getting here takes years of practicing, playing, dedication, and teamwork – but first you must enter the CWHL Draft.
We asked some members of our 2016-2017 rookie class to give their insights on the Draft, and on their first years in the League. Get ready for some sage advice from Nicole Brown, Jessica Hartwick, Melissa Wronzberg, and the 2016-2017 CWHL Rookie of the Year, Laura Stacey!
Question: Why did you enter the CWHL Draft?
Nicole Brown: I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life after graduating college. All I knew was that I wasn’t ready to hang up the skates, I wouldn’t have known what to do with myself if I were to not have joined the Draft. The CWHL is the highest level of female hockey and seemed like a good transition from college hockey, while being a lot of fun.
Jessica Hartwick: After I graduated from Ryerson University, I felt like I wasn’t ready to quit hockey. I have been playing since I was six years old so it’s something that has become entrenched in my life, something that I’m not sure how to give up.
Laura Stacey: I entered the CWHL Draft because I wanted to continue playing hockey after college, and to play against the best female hockey players in North America.
Melissa Wronzberg: I entered the Draft last year because I was not ready to quit playing hockey at a high level. I thought the chance to play in the CWHL with, and against some of the best players in the world, would be an amazing experience if I was able to make a team.
Q: What is your favourite memory from your first season?
Brown: My favourite memory would have to be winning in overtime in Montreal. We overcame a lot of adversity, and had so much fun doing it.
Hartwick: I’d say that I really enjoyed all of our road trips – It was a good break from work and it was fun to be with everyone!
Stacey: My favourite memory from my rookie season with the Brampton Thunder is our trip to Montreal for the playoffs. Even though we did not win a game that weekend and we lost our first playoff series, we never gave up and battled to the very end. The team camaraderie and belief we had in one another was something I have never experienced before, and will never forget.
Wronzberg: Playing with the girls on Brampton it is hard to pick a favourite memory as it was always a good time coming to the rink. Making the Brampton Thunder was an incredible memory for me because I wasn’t sure if it would happen, and it showed that my hard work paid off. My first game was also an incredible memory as it was the team’s first win of the season. Lastly, getting to play and score my first career goal on my birthday was a memory that I will never forget – especially because of the excitement that the team showed for me getting that goal as well!
Q: What advice would you give for those entering the Draft?
Brown: Have fun, because you only get drafted once. Oh, and don’t trip walking up to get your picture taken after your name is called!
Hartwick: Be prepared to be the most exhausted you have ever been in your entire life. School was definitely tough and tiresome, but there is no comparison to working 35-40 hours a week, on top of commuting to the rink four times a week. Thankfully I still love hockey!
Stacey: The advice I would have for someone entering the Draft is to enjoy every second; it is a very special moment to be drafted into a professional women’s hockey league! It is something that we all dreamed of when we were kids so take in every moment, and make the most of it!
Wronzberg: Have fun, enjoy the moment, and remember that the Draft is just the beginning!
Registration for the 2017 CWHL Draft closes at midnight (ET) on August 1st, 2017. For more information please, click here.