Each week WCHA.com will offer an update on the former Western Collegiate Hockey Association players playing pro hockey. The website will also offer periodic stories on former WCHA players.
Brianna Decker, the ex-Wisconsin star and former Patty Kazmaier Award winner, picked up where she left off last year in the National Women's Hockey League where she was the league's initial most valuable player.
Decker had two goals and an assist as the Boston Pride opened defense of the NWHL title with a 4-1 victory over the Buffalo Beauts and a 6-3 victory over the New York Riveters in weekend-opening games at Buffalo's new HarborCenter. In the season opener Friday, Oct. 7, Decker had an assist against Buffalo and added two goals against New York Saturday.
Decker's Boston teammate, Gigi Marvin, the former Minnesota standout, had an assist in each game while Boston's Meghan Duggan, a former Wisconsin star, and ex-Minnesota Duluth forward Zoe Hickel had an assist in Saturday's game.
Amanda Leveille, a member of Minnesota's national championship team last season, made her pro debut Friday and made 11 saves in a scoreless period of work for Buffalo. Leveille played 40 minutes, made 23 stops and allowed four goals in the Beauts' 5-4 victory over the Connecticut Whale Sunday in Buffalo.
New York's Amanda Kessel, another former Patty Kazmaier Award winner, had two assists for New York in Saturday's season opener. Kessel, who overcame concussion issues to play with Minnesota last season, was the subject of a feature story in the New York Times prior to her pro debut.
Kessel's former Minnesota teammate Milica McMilen scored a goal in her New York debut and ex-St. Cloud State goalie Katie Fitzgerald allowed one goal and made seven saves while playing the third period Saturday.
In Buffalo's victory Sunday, former Minnesota defenseman Megan Bozek had a goal and an assist and ex-Gopher Anne Schleper had an assist for the Beauts while ex-Gopher Jordan Brickner had two assists for the Whale. There are three dozen former WCHA women players on the rosters of the two professional women's hockey's hockey league this season. Eighteen women's hockey alumni are spending the 2016-17 season playing in the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) while 18 former WCHA players are competing in the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL).
The 2016-17 season marks the 10th season for the Canadian Women's Hockey League with the opening weekend set for Saturday, Oct. 15 and Sunday, Oct. 16.
Minnesota Duluth has eight former players in the CWHL while Ohio State and Wisconsin have three alums on CWHL rosters. Minnesota has two alums and Bemidji State and St. Cloud State each have one player in the league. Former UMD star Caroline Ouellette, a four-time Olympic gold medalist for Team Canada, is the all-time leading scorer in the CWHL.
The Minnesota Whitecaps, an elite women's hockey team made up of post-collegiate players, also has 22 former WCHA players – from seven league schools – on its Minneapolis-based roster. It includes nine former Minnesota players (Rachael Bona, Hannah Brandt, Winny Brown, Katie Frischmann, Mira Jalosuo, Becky Kortum, Meghan Lorence, Chelsey Rosenthal and Kelly Seeler), four North Dakota alumni (Shelby Amsley-Benzie, Tanja Eischenschmid, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando) and four from St. Cloud State (Julie Friend, Carrie Holldorf, Meaghan Pezon and Haylea Schmid), two players from Minnesota Duluth (Jenny Potter and Emma Stauber), and one each from Bemidji State (Stephanie Anderson), Minnesota State (Alli Altmann) and Wisconsin (Alex Rigsby).
Here are the ex-WCHA players on professional team rosters, effective Oct. 7:
Boston: Brianna Decker, Wisconsin; Meghan Duggan, Wisconsin, Gigi Marvin, Minnesota; Hillary Knight, Wisconsin; Zoe Hickel, Minnesota Duluth
Buffalo: Megan Bozek, Minnesota; Lisa Chesson, Ohio State; Anne Schleper, Minnesota; Jordyn Burns, Minnesota; Amanda Leveille, Minnesota.
Connecticut: Molly Engstrom, Wisconsin; Ivana Bilic, Bemidji State; Jordan Brickner, Wisconsin.
New York: Courtney Burke, Wisconsin; Madison Packer, Wisconsin; Amanda Kessel, Minnesota; Milica McMillen, Minnesota; Katie Fitzgerald, St. Cloud State
Brampton: Laura McIntosh, Ohio State; Jenna McParland, Minnesota Duluth; Jocelyne LaRocque, Minnesota Duluth; Kaitlyn Tougas, Bemidji State
Calgary: Sarah Davis, Minnesota; Haley Irwin, Minnesota Duluth; Blayre Turnbull, Wisconsin; Brigette Lacquette, Minnesota Duluth; Meghan Mickelson, Wisconsin.
Montreal: Caroline Ouellette, Minnesota Duluth; Emanuelle Blais, Minnesota Duluth; Noemie Marin, Minnesota Duluth
Toronto: Carolyne Prevost, Wisconsin; Kelly Terry, Minnesota;. Natalie Spooner, Ohio State; Michelle Cava, Minnesota Duluth; Danielle Gagne, Ohio State; Vanessa Spataro, St. Cloud State.