NWHL ANNOUNCES 2021 AWARD RECIPIENTS
MVP Mikyla Grant-Mentis Makes Single Season History with Four Honors
April 28, 2021 (Brooklyn, N.Y.) – The National Women’s Hockey League honored excellence on the ice and in the community tonight with the presentation of its major awards for the 2020-21 season.
Mikyla Grant-Mentis of the expansion Toronto Six became the most decorated player in a single NWHL season earning a record four different accolades. She is the first Black player in league history to be voted Most Valuable Player and Newcomer of the Year, was also one of six Foundation Award recipients, and one of the Fans’ Three Stars of the Season.
“It means a lot, honestly, everyone else that was nominated for this award was amazing and the talent throughout the season was awesome,” said Grant-Mentis. “To get this award means so much. I owe it all to my teammates and my coaches. I couldn’t be here without them.”
The Brampton, Ont., native led the Six to a regular-season title scoring a league-high five goals in six games while tying for the NWHL lead during Lake Placid competition with nine points. The Merrimack College all-time leader in points added a goal and an assist in the Isobel Cup semifinals to bring her 2021 total to 11 points over seven performances in her first full NWHL campaign.
Isobel Cup champion Kaleigh Fratkin was named Defender of the Year for the second straight season. The sixth-year veteran from Burnaby, B.C., and Boston University graduate tied Grant-Mentis for the Lake Placid lead in scoring with nine assists in seven games, then added two helpers in playoff action to record 11 total points across nine appearances.
Goaltender of the Year honors were also presented to a two-time recipient in Kingston, Ont., native Amanda Leveille of the Minnesota Whitecaps who was also recognized back in 2017-18 as a member of the Buffalo Beauts. The three-time NCAA national champion from the University of Minnesota had a trio of victories in four regular-season games with a goal-against-average of 2.47 and save percentage of .936, then posted a shutout victory with 44 saves in the league’s semifinals.
Saroya Tinker of the Metropolitan Riveters was named the Denna Laing Award recipient exemplifying the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to her sport. The Yale University graduate from Oshawa, Ont., is the first Black player to be chosen for this award producing one assist in three games as a rookie defender. She’s also been a leader for social justice, the fight against racism, and making hockey a more inclusive space since joining the league as the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NWHL Draft.
Both Tinker and Leveille joined Grant-Mentis with Foundation Awards for actively applying the core values of hockey to her community as well as growing and improving hockey culture. Tinker actively supports Black Girl Hockey Club and helped raise over $30,000 to build a scholarship fund. Leveille gives back to the game as a goaltending instructor, and Grant-Mentis supports Kidnetix Kidz Association which is a not-for-profit organization networking with community members, organizations, and local businesses to provide opportunities for disadvantaged families in the Greater Toronto Area.
Mallory Souliotis (Boston Pride), Carly Jackson (Buffalo Beauts), and Grace Klienbach (Connecticut Whale) were the league’s three other Foundation Award recipients as chosen by their clubs. Souliotis, from Acton, MA, and Yale University donated her jersey and shirsey proceeds to the Epilepsy Foundation New England and matched online donors to raise $654. Jackson, from Amherst, N.S., and the University of Maine was highlighted by the Beauts for her efforts with youth hockey players as well as her support of those facing marginalization. Klienbach, from Eustis, FL, and Neumann University also gives back to the game’s next-generation developing good hockey players and good people and teammates at her clinic 14:94.
Jackson and Souliotis were also top choices in an online vote by the Fans as Three Stars of the Season alongside Grant-Mentis.
Winners were unveiled live on Twitch, presented by Discover, and hosted by Katie Gaus. This marked the first time the league’s streaming platform delivered an awards extravaganza that featured interviews and reactions in addition to results.
The five major individual awards were selected by a committee of media and broadcasters representing all six NWHL markets plus national contributors. Given the uniqueness of the 2021 campaign, performances across all regular-season games in Lake Placid, as well as playoff games in Boston, could be considered.
2021 NWHL Award Recipients:
Most Valuable Player:
Winner: Mikyla Grant-Mentis (Toronto Six)
Runner up: Christina Putigna (Boston Pride)
Defender of the Year:
Winner: Kaleigh Fratkin (Boston Pride)
Runner up: Shannon Doyle (Connecticut Whale)
Goaltender of the Year:
Winner: Amanda Leveille (Minnesota Whitecaps)
Runner up: Elaine Chuli (Toronto Six)
Newcomer of the Year:
Winner: Mikyla Grant-Mentis (Toronto Six)
Runner up: Carly Jackson (Buffalo Beauts)
Denna Laing Award:
Winner: Saroya Tinker (Metropolitan Riveters)
Runner up: Brooke Stacey (Buffalo Beauts)
Boston Pride: Mallory Souliotis
Buffalo Beauts: Carly Jackson
Connecticut Whale: Grace Klienbach
Metropolitan Riveters: Saroya Tinker
Minnesota Whitecaps: Amanda Leveille
Toronto Six: Mikyla Grant-Mentis
Fans Three Stars:
Mikyla Grant-Mentis (Toronto Six)
Carly Jackson (Buffalo Beauts)
Mallory Souliotis (Boston Pride)
About the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL)
Established in 2015, the NWHL was the first professional women’s hockey league in North America to pay its players. The mission of the league is to fuel the continued growth of the sport and brand of pro women’s hockey. The league is made up of the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters, Minnesota Whitecaps, and the Toronto Six. Visit NWHL.zone and follow on Twitter and Facebook @NWHL and Instagram @NWHL.zone.