Photo credit: University of Wisconsin Athletics
Seven Minnesotans were selected in the 2018 draft picks unveiled by the National Women’s Hockey League this week, including five by their hometown Minnesota Whitecaps in the organization’s first draft.
2018 Olympic gold medalist Kelly Pannek was the first Minnesota native selected, going fourth overall to the Whitecaps. Pannek was one of three U.S. Women’s Olympic team members to be chosen in the first round, alongside Megan Keller (3rd - Buffalo) and Kali Flanagan (5th – Boston).
The Whitecaps stayed close to home again with their second pick, taking Wayzata native Sophia Shaver, who shared her excitement about returning to the State of Hockey:
“It’s such an honor to be drafted by the Minnesota Whitecaps. I’m so grateful that the growth of women’s hockey led to the addition of a team in my hometown so my childhood dreams of playing professional hockey in front of Minnesota hockey fans is now a reality.”
Eden Prairie High School alum Lauren Boyle echoed that sentiment after being taken in the third round by the Whitecaps:
“Growing up in Minnesota, I know the dedicated players and people involved with this organization and their passion for growing the women’s game. I am very honored and humbled to be drafted to play in the NWHL!”
Four more Minnesota natives were selected for the final two rounds of the draft, including Paige Voight and Grace Bizal in the fourth round and Nicole Schammel and Karlie Lund in the fifth.
Only players completing their final season of college eligibility were eligible to be drafted by the NWHL teams. Order of selection was determined by the current standings of this season.
All seven of the Minnesotans selected were finalists or semifinalists for the Ms. Hockey Award during their senior year of high school, and five of them were finalists during the same season (2015).
|Name||Round||Pick||Overall||NWHL Team||College||High School||Association|
|Kelly Pannek||1||4||4||Minnesota||Minnesota||Benilde-St. Margaret's||Armstrong Cooper|
|Lauren Boyle||3||4||14||Minnesota||Ohio State||Eden Prairie||Eden Prairie|
|Paige Voight||4||1||16||Metropolitan||Merrimack||Cretin Derham Hall||North Wright County|
|Grace Bizal||4||4||19||Minnesota||Boston College||Hopkins||Hopkins|
|Nicole Schammel||5||3||23||Buffalo||Minnesota||Red Wing||Red Wing|
|Karlie Lund||5||4||24||Minnesota||Princeton||Blake||Eden Prairie|