Sports

Minnesota picks Taylor Heise 1st in the inaugural Professional Women’s Hockey League draft

Two women shake hands
Taylor Heise, right, shakes hands with tennis legend Billie Jean King after being selected first overall by Minnesota in the inaugural Professional Women's Hockey League draft in Toronto on Monday.
Spencer Colby | The Canadian Press via AP

Minnesota selected American forward Taylor Heise with the first pick of the inaugural Professional Women’s Hockey League draft Monday.

Tennis legend Billie Jean King, a member of the league’s board of directors, made the announcement. The PWHL formed over the summer and is set to begin play in January with six teams.

Toronto selected veteran Canadian defender Jocelyne Larocque second, and Boston took Swiss center Alina Muller third. Muller was the only player not from the U.S. or Canada picked in the first three rounds.

New York took Canadian defender Ella Shelton fourth. Ottawa took American defender Savannah Harmon fifth, and Montreal continued the run on blue liners by taking Canadian national team member Erin Ambrose sixth.

Minnesota with its second-round pick drafted American goaltender Nicole Hensley to add to its group led by Heise and free agent signings Kendall Coyne Schofield, Kelly Pannek and Lee Stecklein.

Heise, from Lake City, Minn., is coming off her fifth and final year at the University of Minnesota, where she was a first-team all-American after leading the NCAA in goals with 30. She was second in points with 67, and tied for third in assists with 37, in 39 games for the Gophers.

The 23-year-old closed a decorated career that included winning the Patty Kazmaier Award in 2022 as the top player in NCAA Division I women’s hockey. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound Heise has also starred for the U.S. national team.

Heise was named best forward and tournament MVP at the 2022 world championships, leading all players in goals with seven and points with 18.

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