Each week WCHA.com will offer an update on the former Western Collegiate Hockey Association players playing pro hockey.
Like most of the elite women's hockey players in the world, Noora Räty was playing in the Four Nations Tournament in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan last week.
But while Räty was performing between the pipes for bronze-medalist Finland, her teammates in the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) won three games to vault into first place and Räty, the former Minnesota All-American, was named the CWHL Goaltender of the Month for her performance in the first month of the season for the Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays.
The story about Raty's latest award is here: http://www.thecwhl.com/gongshow-player-of-the-month-noora-raty
The Rays, the Chinese team in the six-team CWHL, played the only games of the week, touring Massachusetts last week and beating Worcester 6-0 Tuesday, 4-1 on Friday and 10-1 Saturday. In game two of the series, former Bemidji State forward Stephanie Anderson had an assist for the Rays and ex-Minnesota Duluth player Demi Crossman had a helper for the Blades. Anderson had two goals and former UMD star Jessica Wong had three assists in the series finale.
The CWHL has six teams in three countries – the U.S., Canada and China – and features 22 former WCHA players.
Wisconsin and Minnesota Duluth each have eight former players in the CWHL. Minnesota and North Dakota both have two players, while Ohio State and Bemidji State have one player apiece in the league. The sweep last week put the Rays (6-4) in first place in the CWHL with 12 points. Calgary (5-1) and Montreal (5-1) are second with 10 points. Markham (3-3) and Toronto (3-4) are bunched with six points and Worcester in winless and pointless in nine games.
While Räty picked up her award from the league for her on-ice work, former Duluth defenseman Jocelyne Larocque was recognized with an honor for her leadership off the ice. The story is here: http://www.thecwhl.com/larocque-looks-to-inspire-indigenous-youth
The National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) continued its two-week Four Nations break and resumes play this weekend.
The expansion Minnesota Whitecaps are the surprise leaders in the NWHL with a 6-0 record and 12 points; Buffalo and Boston are 2-2 with four points each, while the Riveters are 1-5 with two points and Connecticut is 0-3 and without a point.
Three Whitecaps players and former WCHA stars are among the individual leaders. Former UMD player Katie McGovern leads the league in goals with four, while ex-Minnesota and Olympic defenseman Lee Stecklein of Minnesota leads in assists with seven. Amanda Leveille, another former Gopher, is 6-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage, all among the top goaltending marks.
There are 56 WCHA alumnae on the opening rosters of the two North American professional hockey leagues -- with 34 former WCHA stars in the five-team NWHL.
Minnesota has 11 former WCHA players competing in the NWHL, including six on the Whitecaps, while St. Cloud State has seven alumnae in the league and Wisconsin has six, five of whom play for the Riveters. There are four former UMD players in the NWHL, while North Dakota and Ohio State have two players apiece and Minnesota State has one.
The Whitecaps feature 17 former WCHA players, while the Riveters have eight.
There are more WCHA alumnae playing in these two pro leagues than any other season
Here are the WCHA alumni on NWHL and CWHL team rosters as of Nov. 1:
Boston (1): Gigi Marvin, Minnesota.
Buffalo (4): Jordyn Burns, Minnesota; Dani Cameranesi, Minnesota; Lisa Chesson, Ohio State; Julianna Iafallo, Ohio State.
Connecticut (4): Jordan Brickner, Wisconsin; Michelle Löwenhielm, Minnesota Duluth; Katerina Mrázová, Minnesota Duluth; Nina Rodgers, Minnesota.
Metropolitan (8): Courtney Burke, Wisconsin; Katie Fitzgerald, St. Cloud State; Amanda Kessel, Minnesota; Erika Lawler, Wisconsin; Kelly Nash, Wisconsin; Madison Packer, Wisconsin; Jenny Ryan, Wisconsin; Lexi Slattery, St. Cloud State.
Minnesota (17): Lauren Barnes, Minnesota State; Hannah Brandt, Minnesota; Winny Brodt Brown, Minnesota; Chelsey Brodt Rosenthal, Minnesota; Tanja Eischenschmid, North Dakota; Julie Friend, St. Cloud State; Kalli Funk, St. Cloud State; Amanda Leveille, Minnesota; Sadie Lundquist, Bemidji State; Lisa Martinson, St. Cloud State; Katie McGovern, Minnesota Duluth; Amy Menke, North Dakota; Meaghan Pezon, St. Cloud State; Kate Schipper, Minnesota; Haylea Schmid, St. Cloud State; Emma Stauber, Minnesota Duluth; Lee Stecklein, Minnesota.
Calgary (6): Coached by Shannon Miller (Minnesota Duluth); Brianna Decker, Wisconsin; Zoe Hickel, Minnesota Duluth; Halli Krzyzaniak, North Dakota; Brigette Lacquette, Minnesota Duluth; Alex Rigsby, Wisconsin; Blayre Turnbull, Wisconsin.
Montréal (2): Assistant coach Caroline Ouellette (Minnesota Duluth); Catherine Daoust, Minnesota Duluth; Hilary Knight, Wisconsin.
Markham (3): Megan Bozek, Minnesota; Jocelyne Larocque, Minnesota Duluth; Jenna McParland, Minnesota Duluth. Shenzen (China) KRS Vanke Rays (3): Stephanie Anderson, Bemidji State; Noora Räty, Minnesota; Jessica Wong, Minnesota Duluth.
Toronto (5): Mellissa Channell, Wisconsin; Jordan Hampton, North Dakota; Sarah Nurse, Wisconsin; Carolyne Prevost, Wisconsin; Natalie Spooner, Ohio State.
Worcester (3): Jessica Convery, Minnesota Duluth; Demi Crossman, Minnesota Duluth; Lauren Williams, Wisconsin.