December 28, 2017 – The two goaltenders and eight defenders for Team NWHL, which will face the U.S. Olympic Team in two games in Florida next month, were officially announced by the league today.
Team NWHL will face the U.S. Olympic Team in games on Jan. 13 at 6:15 pm and Jan. 15 at 2:15 pm at the U.S. team’s training complex at Florida Hospital Center Ice in Wesley Chapel, Florida. These exhibition games will be the final tune-ups for Team USA in preparation for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
“We are incredibly excited about this experience for our players, and we’re very proud to play this important role in USA Hockey’s preparation for the Olympics,” said Team NWHL GM Hayley Moore. “These players have all earned their opportunity in the spotlight. They will be representing the entire NWHL. The depth in our league is so strong that many players were considered for spots on this roster, but we feel confident the group we’ve assembled will offer excellent competition to Team USA.”
Moore selected the players for Team NWHL in consultation with the coaches of all four NWHL clubs. The team will be led by Riveters head coach Chad Wiseman, with assistance from Boston coaches Thomas Poeck and Lindsay Berman.
Team NWHL: Goaltenders
Katie Fitzgerald – Riveters
College: St. Cloud State
Hometown, Des Plaines, IL
Notable: The 2016-17 NWHL Goaltender of the Year, Fitzgerald is 7-0 this season with a 1.57 GAA and .931 save percentage.
Fitzgerald: “It’s an honor to be considered and selected to be a part of this group. I’m so excited to represent the NWHL on a stage like this. It’ll be a good competitive weekend of women’s hockey and the first of its kind. I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
Brittany Ott – Pride
Hometown: St. Clair Shores, MI
Notable: The NWHL Goaltender of the Year and an Isobel Cup champion in the league’s first season, Ott has a career NWHL GAA of 2.12 and a .917 save percentage
Ott: “I am humbled and honored to have been selected to Team NWHL. This is going to be such an exciting weekend, and I’m very much looking forward to helping Team USA prepare for the upcoming Olympics. I have a lot of friends on that team, so I’m also looking forward to a nice reunion with them over a couple of highly-competitive hockey games in sunny Tampa, Florida.
Team NWHL: Defenders
Lexi Bender – Pride
College: Boston College
Hometown: Snohomish, WA
Notable: Selected 11th overall by Boston in the 2015 NWHL Draft, Bender has been a standout on the Pride blueline over two seasons. She played 154 games over four years at Boston College – the most by any player in school history.
Bender: “I’m very excited to be part of Team NWHL. There are great players on both sides for this series and I think the Florida weekend is going to be a blast”!
Courtney Burke – Riveters
Hometown: Albany, NY
Notable: The 4th overall pick in the 2015 NWHL Draft, Burke has 11 assists in 7 games this season – leading all defenders. Burke was also part of the U.S. Women’s U18 National Team that captured gold in 2011 and silver in 2012.
Burke: “I'm excited! I think it is a great thing USA Hockey and the NWHL put together! I think it is great for women's hockey and hopefully we can help them prepare a little bit for the Olympics. I'm looking forward to heading down to Florida. It's only about an hour and a half from where my family lives now. I don't think they ever thought I'd play in Florida. I'm also looking forward to catching up and playing against some of my friends on Team USA who I've playing with a lot throughout my career.”
Kiira Dosdall – Riveters
Hometown: Fairfield, CT
Notable: A steady defender in all zones, Dosdall is in her third season with the Riveters. She played 134 games over four years at Colgate University and was captain in her senior year.
Dosdall: “It is truly humbling to be named to suit up with the best players from the NWHL, and I look forward to giving the Olympic Team a good fight just before they head to Pyeongchang. This weekend in January will be a perfect warm-up to the Olympic excitement, and I can't wait to be a part of it”!
Sarah Edney – Beauts
Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario
Notable: A first overall selection in the CWHL Draft and former member of the Canadian National Team, Edney is in her first season in the NWHL. She is 1-3-4 in 7 games with the Beauts. In her senior season at Harvard, Edney was named Best Defender in the ECAC.
Edney: “I am very excited to join Team NWHL in Florida in a couple of weeks. After watching the games against Team Canada over the last couple of months, I am excited to escape the cold for a few days and play some great hockey against Team USA! They are at the top of their game and it’s going to be a battle.”
Alyssa Gagliardi – Pride
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
Notable: Now in her third season with the Pride, Gagliardi is 2-3-5 in 7 games in 2017-18. Last season, she was one of four recipients of the NWHL Foundation Award, given to the players most actively applying the core values of hockey to their community as well as growing the game.
Gagliardi: “It's an honor to make Team NWHL and to be chosen to compete against the US team. It's a unique opportunity, especially with the timing of these games just before they leave for the Olympics. It’s not something that comes along very often. It's a great opportunity to showcase the depth and talent of women's hockey. Obviously, they've been playing together for months, and even years, but it'll be a fun opportunity to face off against them and hopefully give them two good games. We all know pretty much that entire team either playing with or against them at some level, so it'll be fun to play against them in a new atmosphere and get to see all the girls before they head off to South Korea.”
Kelsey Koelzer – Riveters
Hometown: Horsham, PA
Notable: The first overall pick in the 2016 NWHL Draft, Koelzer is in her first full season with the Riveters and is 2-4-6 in 6 games.
Koelzer: “When I found out about being selected to Team NWHL, I was honored and surprised. As a rookie, I’m very happy that I’ve been able to make my mark on the league and to have the opportunity to represent the NWHL against some of the best hockey players in the world. I’m really looking forward to playing with members of the NWHL that I don’t usually get to play alongside as well as getting to know these players off the ice! The nice, warm setting will be a bonus and a nice change from the Northeast winter, too”!
Michelle Picard – Riveters
Hometown: Taunton, MA
Notable: The 6th overall pick in the 2015 NWHL Draft, Picard was a part of Team USA that captured silver at the 2014 Olympics, and won gold in 2013, 2015 and 2016 at the World Championships. At Harvard, she was captain in her junior and senior years.
Picard: “It's an honor to play alongside other members of the NWHL and to play against Team USA! I'm really looking forward to a highly-competitive weekend in order to help them prepare for the upcoming Olympic Games. It's a wonderful opportunity for the members of the NWHL, and I look forward to competing against Team USA to help them in their quest for gold”!
Jenny Ryan – Riveters
Hometown, Victor, NY
Notable: Selected 9th overall by the Riveters in the 2016 NWHL Draft, Ryan is in her rookie season and is 3-6-9 in her first 7 games as a pro. In her senior season at Wisconsin in 2016-17, Ryan was named Second Team All-American by the American Hockey Coaches Association.
Ryan: “I am excited to be selected for Team NWHL to play in Tampa. It will be a fun experience to play against girls that I have been playing with and/or against throughout my career. This is a great opportunity for the NWHL and a good show of women’s hockey as a whole. I’m excited for some good hockey and a trip down for the warm weather in Florida, as well as to see the (Courtney) Burke family”!