Well, this week has certainly been an eventful one in Blades land, to say the least. I wanted to take some time to write about the draft, our new assistant coach, and of course, the trade.
The CWHL Draft was on Sunday and it was my second draft as a GM. Last season the draft seemed to go really quickly; it was probably over in about an hour. This year it went the full two hours we’d scheduled for it, thanks to 80+ draft entrants and many players willing to play in different CWHL cities.
I’m going to through my top ten draft picks and describe them as best possible:
- Kayla Tutino (F, Boston University): We will look to her for a lot of offensive power this season. She also brings leadership from BU which will be a great addition to our locker room.
- Chelsey Goldberg (F, Northeastern): Another really great forward who will add to our depth. She’s dealt with some injuries (breaking both legs though thankfully not at once) and after taking a year off, she’s ready to get back in the game. Her personality is very laid back (she’s a California girl after all) but her passion for the game is undeniable. Really excited to have her.
- Cassandra Opela (D, UConn): Stay at home defenseman, but a player with size and one who can definitely hold down the blue line. It was really important for us to add depth on D and she will be a huge part of this.
- Meghan Grieves (F, Boston College): Her scoring touch will definitely be helpful this season, especially considering she has already bonded with so many Blades given her alma mater. I can’t wait to see what her line is capable of this season. She’s also a very friendly and upbeat personality who will be great for the locker room.
- Dakota Woodworth (F, Boston University): Another important addition for depth up front, we really look forward to adding Dakota’s talents to the team. She has a great character and will definitely be a great addition.
- Margaret Zimmer (F, UConn): From the first time I saw Zim play at Hockey East championships, I knew I wanted her on the Blades. I love her perserverance and she also has a bit of a scoring touch as well. She’s a good physical presence too.
- Kikuchi Sato (D, Japan’s Nippon Sports Science University): Depth on D was another area we wanted to fulfill in the draft, and Sato is definitely going to help us there. I’m excited to have her on our team. She’s very friendly, outgoing and grateful for the chance to play with us.
- Taylor McGee (D, Holy Cross): Taylor is a friend of Nicole Giannino and came highly recommended to us. After watching her play at our prospects camp and in the Beantown Classic, I can confidently say she will be a great addition to our blue line too.
- Melissa Bizzari (F, Boston College): I had approached Melissa about playing for us last season but the timing wasn’t right for her. Then she realized how much she missed the game and decided to come back, and we’re very happy to have her.
- Lauren Dahm (G, Clarkson): Dahm came out to our prospects camp in May and I am really glad she did. She moves well and even though she graduated college in 2011 remains an incredibly athletic goalie. I enjoyed watching her play and I think she would be a great addition to the team.
So there we have it – of course nothing is set in stone until tryouts and anything can happen but we have picked up a lot of depth in all areas and I’m really excited to see what everyone brings to the table when we start skating.
A New Assistant Coach
An assistant coach was a need I’d felt we’d had for a while. Coach McCloskey is a great coach though it is hard to manage a roster of 25 by yourself. Enter Mike Diamantopoulos (aka Coach Dymo). I met him through women’s ball hockey while he was coaching, though he has played ice hockey his entire life and in college. When he and Coach McCloskey met, I thought they were a good match for each other. Dymo’s goal had always been to get into coaching ice hockey and I’m really excited to bring him on this season. I think Coach McCloskey can serve as a great coaching mentor – he has such a wealth of experience and a fierce love for the game.
If you haven’t read Hannah Bevis’ article on the ins and outs of the trade, go do that now. No doubt there is no replacing Lacasse and I will miss the laughs she brought to our team.
But I want to reiterate that the Blades will still be in a great spot this season. With the number of goalies we drafted and some free agents coming to camp, there is a lot of competition to be on our roster, and that’s a good thing. I have full confidence that whoever we end up rostering will get the job done and then some.
It’s a new season for us, a blank slate. And all of us – players, staff, coaches – will be ready.