Monday’s groundbreaking Professional Women’s Hockey League draft will take place at CBC headquarters in Toronto.
Ninety players will be dispersed among the original six franchises — including Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa — during a 15-round selection period. Minnesota won the first overall pick in the snake draft via lottery.
Live streaming coverage of the event will begin at 1 p.m. ET on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem. Coverage will also be available on radio-canada.ca/sports and the Radio-Canada info app, while international audiences can watch the draft on CBC Sports’ and Radio-Canada’s YouTube pages.
It’s been a whirlwind since, with general managers being hired and immediately turning to the roster-building process. Each franchise has already signed three players, highlighted by Marie-Philip Poulin in Montreal, Sarah Nurse in Toronto and Hilary Knight in Boston.
The bulk of the teams will now be filled out through the draft, which was entered by about 300 players — including former PWHPA and PHF members, plus Europeans who belonged to neither organization.
“The inaugural PWHL Draft is a monumental event in our league’s history and an event the players have been waiting for with great anticipation and excitement,” said Jayna Hefford, the PWHL’s senior vice president of hockey operations.
WATCH | Hefford discusses PWHL with CBC Sports’ Devin Heroux:
The first four rounds of the draft will be hosted by CBC Sports’ Andi Petrillo, with analysis from Hailey Salvian and two-time Canadian Olympic gold medallist Shannon Szabados. CBC Sports’ Anastasia Bucsis will conduct stage-side interviews with players.
Forward Natalie Spooner and defenders Erin Ambrose and Claire Thompson headline the Canadians who could potentially be available in the draft, while American stars Taylor Heise and Amanda Kessel and Switzerland’s Alina Muller are also available.
Canadian defender Renata Fast, who signed with Toronto, said she was eager to find out who her new teammates would be.
“It’s going to be one of the most exciting drafts in history. I’m just looking at the talent that’s still on the table and the depth, the amount of players that need to be drafted into markets, and it’s crazy,” she said.
After training camp in November, the inaugural 24-game season is slated to begin some time in January. The exact schedule, which is expected to include some neutral-site games in collaboration with the NHL, has yet to be announced.
The world championship is slated for Apr. 4-14 in Utica, N.Y., and the PWHL has said it will break for international competition.