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Three Gophers drafted in 2024 Professional Womens Hockey League Draft – The Minnesota Daily

Three Gophers drafted in 2024 Professional Womens Hockey League Draft – The Minnesota Daily
Three Gophers drafted in 2024 Professional Womens Hockey League Draft – The Minnesota Daily


Former Gophers Abigail Boreen, Madeline Wethington and Amanda Kessel were selected to play for Professional Womens Hockey League (PWHL) teams in the league's second-ever draft on Monday night.

167 women waited anxiously to hear their names called at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul, but only 42 would resign from the PWHL.

When the first of the three former Gophers drafted, Boreen heard her name in the third round and went 17th overall to Montreal.

Boreen won the Walter Cup with PWHL Minnesota last season, but bypassed the inaugural draft and signed with the team as a reserve. She was crowned a champion when she attended the University of Minnesota pharmacy school full-time.

Boreen put her name in the draft to play full-time next season.

It's hard to leave a program that you have given your heart and soul to, but I am very excited about this opportunity, said Boreen, holding back tears.

Four rounds after Boreen was called to the plate, PWHL Ottawa General Manager Mike Hirshfeld announced Wethington as the 38th overall pick.

The St. Paul crowd showered her with cheers.

The 2019 Blake High School graduate spent five years with the Gophers. Wethington tied the program record with 173 games played and helped the team to an NCAA Frozen Four in 2023.

Obviously (Minnesota is) the state of hockey, Wethington said. I'm excited about a new market. Ottawa seems like a great place.

The last Gopher drafted was the 32-year-old Kessel. The Madison, Wisconsin native was part of the Gophers when they won three national titles.

Instead of declaring for the draft last year, Kessel worked as a special assistant to the general manager of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins.

Kessel was drafted 41st overall to PWHL Montreal and will bring her three Olympic medals to the team that finished last season with the second-best record.

Former Gophers goaltender Lucy Morgan registered for the draft, but was one of 125 women who didn't hear their name called.

The largely Minnesota crowd expressed their disappointment in the PWHL's decision to let go of their former Minnesota general manager Natalie Darwitz.Cheers from fans echoed around the room as head coach Ken Klee took the stage with Billie Jean King for Minnesota's first round match.

Darwitz was a three-time Olympic medalist from Eagan and a former Gophers assistant coach. She left her position with PWHL Minnesota after winning its first championship.

“I am very proud of the team and organization that has been built and the championship we have brought home to this great state of hockey,” Darwitz said in a public statement on Sunday. At this time I cannot provide any details about my departure.

Because there are no team owners, the PWHL controls each team, meaning league officials had the final decision on Darwitz's job.

PWHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Jayna Hefford said the league reviewed the situation in Minnesota for months before deciding to let her go.

We fully recognize Natalie Darwitz's iconic status in the state of Minnesota, Hefford said before the AP. Her incredible contributions to the PWHL, to building a championship team. This was definitely the last thing we wanted to happen. But it's our job to also do what's good for the league, and that's where we are today.

Hefford said they looked around the league to make sure the current staff would succeed, but they couldn't find a path forward with the current staff in Minnesota.

PWHL Minnesota draft picks

Round 1, Pick 3 – D, Claire Thompson (Team Sonnet/PWHPA)

Round 2, Pick 9 – F, Britta Curl (University of Wisconsin)

Round 3, Pick 15 – F, Klra Hymlrov (St. Cloud State University)

Round 4, Pick 21 – F, Brooke McQuigge (Clarkson University)

Round 5, Pick 27 – F, Dominique Petrie (Clarkson University)

Round 6, Pick 33 – D, Mae Batherson (St. Lawrence University)

Round 7, Pick 39 – F, Katy Knoll (Northeastern University)




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