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Who’s Playing in the NWHL All-Star Game

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Buffalo Beauts goaltender Shannon Szabados during a game in Boston, MA on Nov. 18, 2018.
Michelle Jay

This weekend, 32 of the NWHL’s biggest names are set to take the ice in Nashville. Let’s take a look at who they are.

The Minnesota Whitecaps and the Buffalo Beauts will be the most represented teams with eight players each. The Pride are sending seven, the Whale are sending four, and the Riveters round out the picks with five.

Ten players from the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics are NWHL All-Stars: nine Americans and one Canadian. In addition, three other players have competed in past Olympics as well. Four different nations are represented.

Team Szabados

Captain: Shannon Szabados, goaltender for the Beauts

Goalies:

Shannon Szabados (Beauts)

Szabados is a living legend. The Canadian goaltender has three Olympic medals—two golds from 2010 and 2014 and one silver from 2018. She made a huge splash this offseason when she signed in Buffalo, as previously she had only played in men’s leagues. This is her first season in the NWHL. She currently is the league leader in save percentage at .944.

Katie Burt (Pride)

Burt was a late addition as Meeri Räisänen, a Finnish goaltender from the Connecticut Whale, was added to the Finnish National Team for a tournament. Burt is a rookie goaltender in Boston who has started every single game this season. During her four years at Boston College she set the NCAA record for career wins.

Defenders:

Blake Bolden (Beauts)

A Boston College alumna, Bolden played for the Pride for the first two seasons of the league (15-17) before going to Switzerland to play last season. Bolden, a fan favorite, returned to the NWHL this season, but went to Buffalo instead. Bolden has one of the hardest shots in the league. Look for her attempt to win her second Hardest Shot competition in the skills event.

Michelle Picard (Riveters)

Picard won an Olympic silver medal with Team USA in 2014. The Harvard University alumna is in her third season in the league, all of which have been with the Riveters. In an interview with NHL Network, Picard said she volunteered for the Pride during the league’s first season, as their home rink was also Harvard’s. She’ll be competing in the fastest skater competition.

Amanda Boulier (Whitecaps)

This is Boulier’s second All Star appearance in as many years in the league. The defender may look small but she’s fast and lethal from the point. She’s got five goals and six assists in 14 games. She played for the Whale last season. She’ll be competing in the hardest shot competition.

Savannah Harmon (Beauts)

The rookie defender is a star that keeps rising. A top-ten finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award (given annually to the best women in college hockey), she played her way onto the Team USA roster for the upcoming Rivalry Series against Canada. She has three goals in 13 games. She’ll be competing in the accuracy shooting competition.

Shannon Doyle (Whale)

The Canadian defender is in her third season in the league — all of which have been spent with the Whale. She’s a solid defender presence for a team that’s seen a decent amount of roster turnover. Doyle has six points in 10 games. She’ll be competing in the hardest shot competition.

Lexi Bender (Pride)

The Washington state native has been a strong blueliner for the Pride in her three seasons with the league. This is her second All Star appearance. She’ll be competing in the fastest skater competition.

Forwards:

Kendall Coyne Schofield (Whitecaps)

You might recognize Coyne Schofield’s name from when she became the first woman to compete in the NHL All-Star Skills Competition. She showed off her speed, which you’ll see on display this weekend as well. The first-year NWHL player won gold in the 2018 Olympics with Team USA and also has a silver from the 2014 Olympics. She’ll be competing in the fastest skater competition.

Amanda Kessel (Riveters)

After suffering a concussion with Team USA during training for the 2014 Olympics, Kessel’s hockey career was thought to be over. She sat out a season at Minnesota before making a return to NCAA play in February 2015. She joined the NWHL the next season, being named an All-Star in her first season. This is her second season with the league, after taking last season off to train with Team USA ahead of winning gold. Yes, she is Phil Kessel’s sister, and yes, she is #BestKessel. She’ll be competing in the trick shot challenge.

Katerina Mrázová (Whale)

The Czech Republic forward has been one of the biggest difference makers for the Whale this season. She leads her team in goals with six, tying her for fifth place in the league. This is her first season in the league. She’ll be competing in the trick shot challenge.

Madison Packer (Riveters)

Packer has been with the league — and the Riveters — since the beginning. The University of Wisconsin alumna is a fan favorite and consistently one of the best players in the league. Last season she was the league leader in goals on the season with ten. This is her third All-Star appearance. She’ll be competing in the trick shot challenge.

Amanda Pelkey (Pride)

A 2018 Olympic gold medalist, Pelkey is in her third season in the league — only missing last season when Team USA centralized before the Olympics. She currently has eight points — four goals and four assists. She’ll be competing in the fastest skater competition.

Audra Richards (Riveters)

Richards is in her first season in the league. The University of Maine alumna took some time off playing after college before joining the league this offseason. She has scored eight goals this season, putting her solely in third place in the league. She’ll be competing in the hardest shot event.

Haley Skarupa (Pride)

The 2018 Gold Medalist started last season on the Pride before being called to Team USA. She’s tied for third in the league in assists, as she tends to have an uncanny ability to find her teammates on the ice. She’ll be competing in the accuracy shooting competition.

Hayley Scamurra (Beauts)

This is Scamurra’s second full season in the league. In 2016-17, she was signed to the Beauts after Northeastern University’s season came to end. In three games — including two playoff games — she notched five points. Her strong NWHL play earned her a call-up to Team USA camp and the roster for the Rivalry Series after little to no time in the pipeline previously. This is Scamurra’s second All-Star appearance. She’ll be competing in the accuracy shooting competition.

Team Stecklein

Captain: Lee Stecklein, defender for the Whitecaps

Goaltenders:

Nicole Hensley (Beauts)

The 2018 gold medalist is the other half of the scariest goaltending duo in maybe all of hockey. She’ll be across from her buddy, though, as she was drafted by her Team USA teammate Lee Stecklein. Hensley has the second best save percentage in the league at . 941.

Amanda Leveille (Whitecaps)

Leveille is in her third season in the league. She spent her first two seasons in Buffalo, as one of three goalies that made up McLevMan. She signed in Minnesota this offseason and is currently third in the league in save percentage at .916.

Defenders:

Courtney Burke (Riveters)

The third-year defender missed time early in the season with injury, which isn’t helping her numbers. This is her third All Star appearance. She’ll be participating in the hardest shot competition.

Lisa Chesson (Beauts)

The 2010 Olympian is having her best season with seven points in 13 games. In her third season in the league, this is her second All-Star appearance. She’ll be competing in the fastest skater competition.

Alyssa Gagliardi (Pride)

The defender from North Carolina has been with the league, and the Pride, since the beginning. The Cornell alumna is a strong veteran presence on the Pride and currently has five points from the blue line. She’ll be participating in the hardest shot competition.

Michelle Löwenhielm (Whale)

The Swedish defender is in her first season with the NWHL. She’s played in numerous international tournaments for Team Sweden, including the 2014 Olympics. Löwenhielm was a huge addition to the Whale, who definitely needed her experience. She’ll be participating in the hardest shot competition.

Emily Pfalzer (Beauts)

The 2018 Olympic gold medalist has been in the league for three seasons, missing last season due to centralization. She’s been an All-Star in all three season thus far. Her 23 career points in 45 games is only slightly off the pace of her 102 points in 147 NCAA games at BC. She’ll be competing in the accuracy shooting competition.

Lee Stecklein (Whitecaps)

Stecklein has two Olympic medals — a gold from 2018 and a silver from 2014. This is her first season in the NWHL after an incredible college career with the University of Minnesota. She’s got eight points thus far. She’ll be participating in the hardest shot competition.

Forwards:

Hannah Brandt (Whitecaps)

Brandt is a 2018 Olympic gold medalist in her first season in the NWHL. She has 11 points in 14 games, with five goals. At the University of Minnesota, she averaged 1.80 points a game with 285 points in 158 games. She’ll be competing in the accuracy shooting competition.

Dani Cameranesi (Beauts)

Yet another 2018 Olympian from the US, Cameranesi shocked everyone by signing in Buffalo and not her home state of Minnesota. She had five points in five games in the Olympics. She’s lighting up this season as well, with 14 points in 11 games. She’ll be competing in the accuracy shooting competition.

Jonna Curtis (Whitecaps)

Curtis is in her first season with the NWHL. The University of New Hampshire alumna is from Minnesota and joined the team after taking a season off from hockey. She’s got 17 points in 14 games, one of the numerous players that have propelled the Whitecaps in their first season. She’ll be competing in the fastest skater competition.

Jillian Dempsey (Pride)

The Pride captain is in her fourth season in the league. She’s spent all four with her hometown Pride as well. She’s on track to have her best season yet, with 13 points in 13 games including nine goals. Dempsey is another fan favorite; this is her second All-Star appearance. She’ll be competing in the trick shot challenge.

Emily Fluke (Whale)

The second-year forward is one of the Whale’s strongest players. She burst into the league last season after playing Division III and taking a few years off. She’s notched seven points this season. This is her first All-Star appearance. She’ll be competing in the trick shot challenge.

Gigi Marvin (Pride)

Marvin is one of the league’s most decorated players with three Olympic medals. She’s in her third year with the league and her third All-Star appearance. She’s been electric this season with 11 points in 14 games. She’ll be competing in the trick shot challenge.

Kate Schipper (Whitecaps)

Schipper is in her first season as a NWHL player. This is her second NWHL All-Star appearance, however, as she participated in last season’s All-Star game as a member of the then-independent Whitecaps when it was held in Minnesota. She has 11 points in 14 games. She’ll be competing in the fastest skater competition.

Allie Thunstrom (Whitecaps)

Everyone is in for a treat when she and regular-season teammate Coyne Schofield skate against each other in the fastest skater competition. Thunstrom is an Olympic speed skater. This is her first season in the NWHL and first All-Star appearance.