Boston, MA – This season’s National Women’s Hockey League’s All-Star game and skills competition came to the home of the Boston Pride – Warrior Ice Arena. Fittingly, the host team sits atop the NWHL with a 20-1-0 record.
Announced back in January, the teams for this season’s games are Team Packer and Team Dempsey.
Team Packer consists of Amanda Leveille, Minnesota; Sam Walther, Metropolitan; Sydney Baldwin, Minnesota; Amanda Boulier, Minnesota; Lenka Čurmová, Buffalo; Kaleigh Fratkin, Boston; Elena Orlando, Connecticut; Corinne Buie, Buffalo; Kendall Cornine, Metropolitan; Grace Klienbach, Connecticut; Kate Leary, Metropolitan; Madison Packer, Metropolitan; Mary Parker, Boston; Christina Putigna, Boston; Audra Richards, Minnesota; and Brooke Stacey, Buffalo.
Team Dempsey is made up of Mariah Fujimagari, Buffalo; Lovisa Selander, Boston; Marie-Jo Pelletier, Buffalo; Lexi Bender, Boston; Shannon Doyle, Connecticut; Rebecca Morse, Metropolitan; Jordan Brickner, Connecticut; Kiira Dosdall-Arena, Metropolitan; McKenna Brand, Boston; Jonna Curtis, Minnesota; Jillian Dempsey, Boston; Lexie Laing, Boston; Nicole Schammel, Minnesota; Allie Thunstrom, Minnesota; Emma Vlasic, Connecticut; and Taylor Accursi, Buffalo.
Six different events were featured in this season’s All-Star Competition; the Chipwich Fastest Skater, Slalom Hardest Shot, Franklin Relay Race, Chipwich Fastest Goalie, Franklin Shooting Accuracy, and the Dunkin’ Team Shootout.
Three members of each team competed in the Chipwich Fastest Skater; Kleinbach from the Connecticut Whale and member of Team Packer taking home the victory with a speedy 13.6 seconds.
Up next, the Chipwich Fastest Goalie, where Amanda Leveille of Team Packer and Mariah Fujimagari of Team Dempsey went head-to-head. Fujimagari took home the victory for Team Dempsey with a time of 18.84 seconds, tying the score at one apiece.
“I used to be a figure skater until I was 12,” said Fujimagari on her victory in the Fastest Goalie competition. “Skating is really vital to be a goaltender; you have a very small area to manage, and if you don’t understand your edge-works, and you’re not ripping the ice properly, then you’re going to be exhausted and not even make the save. I think people underestimate how great skaters goalies are. Not that I had come really prepared for that type of competition.”
The Franklin Shooting Accuracy competition consisted of participants shooting at four targets in each corner of the net. Three players from each team were selected to participate.
From Team Dempsey, there was Jillian Dempsey, Lexie Laing, and McKenna Brand. From Team Packer, there was Madison Packer, Mary Parker, and Brooke Stacey. Team Captain, Dempsey, won the point for her team by shooting all four targets in four shots in 9.69 seconds.
One of the most anticipated events of the evening, the Slalom Hardest Shot, had four members of each team attempt to shoot the hardest slapshot. Kaleigh Fratkin of Team Packer shot a blazing 76 mph slapshot. Her victory tied the score up 2-2.
“It’s on the record. It’s official,” said Fratkin on her record-breaking hardest shot. “I take enough slapshots in hockey games, and [it] definitely paid off.”
The Franklin Relay Race had teams stick-handling a puck through numerous pucks that were lined up in a straight line, then around cones, under a hockey stick that was elevated, over a hockey stick that was slightly raised off the ground, shoot the puck into an empty net. The participant would then have to skate as fast as they could back to their team at the opposite goal-line, and tag the next teammate in line.
Team Dempsey took home the victory in what was a back-and-forth race, ultimately taking the point to put them ahead 3-2.
The final event of the night was the Dunkin’ Team Shootout, where every member of both teams had the chance to shoot one-on-one. The winner would win two points for their team. While creativity was not awarded points, it is best to say there were some creative and funny moments from the competition.
Team Packer walked away with the victory winning the two points for their team and taking the victory for the All-Star Competition.
“To see everyone out in the building today, it was fun,” said Fratkin. You got the Chipwich tosses and all these fun other things. It was pretty cool to be on the ice and to look up in the stands. I’m sure the fans perspective looking down on the ice was pretty cool too.”
The All-Star Game will be played tomorrow at Warrior Ice Arena at 2:30 p.m. It will be 4-on-4 play with two 25 minute periods.
“I’m very excited,” said Fujimagari of Team Dempsey. “It’s a unique set-up, and [I’m} really excited to be able to contribute to the team. We are really looking for the win, so it’s gonna be awesome.”