Five Nova Scotia players are on the eligibility list for the inaugural Professional Women’s Hockey League draft, scheduled for next week in Toronto.
Nearly 270 players in total have declared their eligibility for the PWHL, which will begin its inaugural season in January with six teams playing a 24-game regular season schedule.
This extensive list includes members of the Canadian and American national teams, European players, and players who played in the two leagues that merged to become the PWHL.
The Nova Scotia contingent includes former Canadian women’s Olympic team member Jill Saulnier of Halifax. Saulnier played for Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where she scored a goal and an assist in the tournament.
Saulnier did not participate in the 2022 Olympics, but is participating in a women’s national team camp with Hockey Canada this week.
There’s also Carly Jackson, the 26-year-old goalie from Amherst who played last season with the Toronto Six of the Premier Hockey Federation, the team that won the Isobel Cup.
“I’m looking forward to getting drafted and I feel like we’re all at the point where we’re just waiting to see what happens,” said Jackson, who played college hockey at the University of Maine. “It’s a pretty exciting time in the hockey world and I’m really looking forward to Monday.”
Over the past few weeks, Jackson has been training with the Amherst Ramblers of the Maritime Junior Hockey League. She will also help coach the Mount Allison University women’s team before she leaves for the start of its season.
“A historic moment for women’s hockey”
Allie Munroe is another 26-year-old player who played in the same league. The Yarmouth defenseman played two seasons for the Connecticut Whales after playing two seasons of professional hockey in a Swedish women’s league.
“This will be a historic moment for women’s hockey and women’s sports,” said Munroe, who played four seasons at Syracuse University in upstate New York. “Obviously I’m a little nervous about it, but it’s all good and I’m really honored to be able to be a part of this.”
Terra Lanteigne of Hatchet Lake and Savannah Newton of Middle Sackville also declared for the 15-round draft, which will see 90 players selected.
Stellarton’s Blayre Turnbull has already secured a spot with the Toronto franchise. She was one of 18 players signed by the league’s six teams. Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Boston, New York and Minnesota all signed three players.
Two of the league’s six head coaches also come from Nova Scotia.
Kori Cheverie, from New Glasgow, will coach the Montreal franchise. The 36-year-old athlete became the first woman in the province to be invited to coach an NHL team. She was recently invited to the Pittsburgh Penguins development camp as a guest coach.
Halifax’s Troy Ryan, the coach of Canada’s national women’s team, has been named coach of the Toronto team.
Another player with Nova Scotia ties who could be drafted is Lauren MacInnis. She was born and raised in St. Louis and is the daughter of Hockey Hall of Famer Al MacInnis of Port Hood. She played college hockey at Northeastern University in Boston and played in Europe last season.