CWHL All Star Game: Team White Win, New Sponsors, Record Attendance

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When teammates become rivals… All the Toronto Furies in their All Star jerseys. (Photo Credit: Chris Tanouye / CWHL)

The CWHL’s third annual All Star Game took place on Saturday, February 11 at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, with the Frozen Fantasy Draft taking place the night before at the Hilton Toronto. The Draft was an evening of cocktails and fun, but the real fun began the following day.

FROZEN FANTASY DRAFT

The CWHL’s Frozen Fantasy Draft took place on Friday, February 10 at the Hilton Toronto. With Sami-Jo Small as the emcee, the night quickly turned from a serious draft, into a night of jokes and good-natured ribbing. The night began with Les Canadiennes de Montreal Captain, Marie-Philip Poulin, getting picked first overall for the second year running. 

Starting lineups were chosen in traditional draft format, the rest were chosen by random mini stick selection. A coin toss was used to select Alumni Coaches for each team. Team White, lead by Carlee Campbell, selected the duo of Tessa Bonhomme and Becky Kellar. Team Blue, lead by Natalie Spooner and Meaghan Mikkelson, selected the duo of Cheryl Pounder and Lise-Marie Breton-Lebreux. Furies rookie, Michela Cava, and Thunder forward, Rebecca Vint, were the last two selected, and won themselves spa days. 

NEW SPONSORS

CWHL Commissioner, Brenda Andress, announced two new big name sponsors for the league in a prelude to the Frozen Fantasy Draft. The first, Boston Pizza, which will be a huge addition. Owner, Jim Treliving will be the second ‘Dragon’s Den’ star to be a part of the League’s sponsorship, with Arlene Dickinson playing a large part on the League’s board.

The second, and arguably the most important sponsor announced on the night was the NHLPA. The NHLPA, while affiliated with the NHL, is not beholden to the League, relying only on the member players. However, it is still a game-changer for the CWHL, adding to their partnerships with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, and Calgary Flames. 

CWHL ALL STAR GAME

The third annual CWHL All Star Game was the most well-received yet. Team White, lead by Carlee Campbell, and Team Blue, lead by Natalie Spooner and Meaghan Mikkelson took the ice to the roar of thousands. Team White took an early lead with two goals from Jess Jones and one from Jill Saulnier in the first period. After two periods, Team Blue was on the board, with two goals (one from Kelly Terry, and one from Brianne Jenner), but Jill Saulnier scored her second to keep Team White’s three goal lead. Team Blue’s Jenelle Kohanchuk opened the scoring in the third period, but Team White’s Rebecca Johnston quickly added another to their tally. Haley Irwin scored another for Team Blue, dropping the lead to two goals. Jess Jones scores for Team White, netting herself a hattrick. Team White Captain, Carlee Campbell, rather unfortunately, scores on her own net; the goal is credited to Team Blue’s Jenelle Kohanchuk. Team White’s Meghan Grieves took back the three goal lead. Jill Saulnier quickly followed it up with a second Team White hattrick, making the final score: Team White – 9, Team Blue – 5.

But aside from the great play from the best of women’s hockey, the game was also filled with some great moments, and a record breaking crowd. Alumni coaches Tessa Bonhomme and Becky Kellar got their bench warmed up and dancing to ‘Gangnam Style’ during a TV time out. Team White’s Julie Chu highfived both benches every time she was on the ice. 

And the attendance reached a new high for the All Star game. A total of 8,122 fans packed the Air Canada Centre to see the League’s best, eclipsing the previous years’ ~6,000. 

A LEAGUE AND ITS FANS

Best fans ever.