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NWHL Announces 2018 Award Winners

The National Women’s Hockey League announced on Tuesday the winners of the Third Annual NWHL Awards.

The winners for Rookie of the Year, Best Defender, Best Goaltender, Most Valuable Player, NWHL Foundation Award, Denna Laing Award and NWHL Fans’ Three Stars of the Season were announced by the league across the social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Most Valuable Player for the 2018 NWHL season, as voted by the NWHL Players Association was Metropolitan Riveters forward, Alexa Gruschow.

In accepting the honor of MVP, Gruschow said, “I want to thank the PA for granting me this remarkable award which I accept with gratification. It is truly an honor to be considered in this competitive category amongst such admirable talent. I find it very humbling and incredibly inspiring to receive tremendous support and encouragement from everyone involved with this growing league. I owe it to my teammates, coaches, family friends and the NWHL for helping me find success in my game and highlighting my contributions.”

Gruschow: “…this has been my favorite season thus far…”

She continued, “I can say with pure confidence that this has been my favorite season of hockey thus far, and I take great pride in being named the NWHL’s MVP.”

In addition to being named MVP, Gruschow also was honored for being the league’s top scorer during the regular season.

ROY: Hayley Scamurra

The Rookie of the Year went to Buffalo Beauts forward, Hayley Scamurra. She was chosen to receive the honor by members of the NWHL Media.

In receiving the honor, Scamurra said, she was “Excited and surprised! My fellow nominees are all incredible hockey players, and all deserve this honor. I want to thank my teammates, especially line mates Maddie Elia and Kourtney Kunichika. We have created a team chemistry that has made every player better. Thanks also to our coaches and staff.”

Top Defender: Courtney Burke

The Best Defender, also voted by the media was Courtney Burke of the Riveters. In accepting the award, Burke said, “This is an awesome honor because there are a lot of D deserving of this award. All credit goes to my teammates and coaches who helped make us so successful this year and hopefully we can win one more!”

Best Goalie: Amanda Leveille

The members of the media also voted on the Best Goaltender for 2018. Beauts netminder, Amanda Leveille was selected to receive the honor. Leveille said, “What a tremendous honor! I am a firm believer that a goaltender’s success is a reflection of the team in front of them. I can’t thank my coaches and teammates enough for helping me to achieve this prestigious award.”

The Denna Laing Award, presented to the player that best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to her sport. The NWHLPA selected Jillian Dempsey, of the Boston Pride to receive the honor.

Dempsey: “I am incredibly humbled to be recipient of Denna Laing Award…”

Dempsey said, “I am incredibly humbled to be the recipient of the Denna Laing Award. Denna is one of the best and most committed teammates I have ever had. Her perseverance and resilience inspire me to work hard every single day. I am so grateful to play the sport I love alongside her and so many other amazing athletes who share my fierce dedication to the game. Receiving this award is truly an honor.”

Laing added, “I’ve been teammates with Jill for 15 years, so I may be biased but she lives and loves hockey more than anyone I know. Her dedication to the game and her teammates is unparalleled. I couldn’t be happier she is receiving this award.”

Fans Three Stars of Season

More than 8,000 fans submitted ballots for the NWHL Fans’ Three Stars of the Season. The three players listed by alphabetical order of player’s last name were; Sophia Agostinelli, of the Connecticut Whale, Harrison Browne, of the Riveters and the newest Rookie of the Year winner, Scamurra.

NWHL Foundation Award

The final award which was selected by the league office, was the NWHL Foundation Award. The honor goes to the players that most actively apply the core values of hockey to her community, as well as help to grow the game and improve the hockey culture. The 2018 class is represented by; Lexi Bender of the Pride, Jacquie Greco of the Beauts, Rachael Ade of the Whale and Michelle Picard of the Riveters.

NWHL Deputy Commissioner, Hayley Moore said, “The NWHL is built upon living out your dreams and inspiring the next generation to dream even bigger. Lexi, Jacquie, Rachael and Shelly have shined as exemplary models of this. We’re proud of their service and know their communities appreciate their impact.”

The 2018 Isobel Cup Final will take place on Sunday March 25 at 3:00 PM at the RWJ Barnabas Health Hockey House in Newark, New Jersey. The top seeded Riveters will host the number two seed Beauts. Ticket information can be found at The game will also be streamed line over Twitter Live, for those unable to make the trip to Newark.

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