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History in the making! PWHL New York skates into existence with first practice in Stamford

By Rick Menning

STAMFORD, CT -- As goalie Abbey Levy and her teammates in the first group walked along the second-floor hallway and down the stairs on their way to the South Rink at Chelsea Piers Connecticut, it resembled a business trip.

Right at 1 p.m., the initial hour-long session began with opening remarks by Head Coach Howie Draper at center ice. Shortly after 2 p.m., former Quinnipiac University Bobcats' netminder Corinne Schroeder and the second group proceeded through the same regimen.

PUCK MOVEMENT: Members of PWHL New York's first group to take the ice for practice on Friday afternoon work on their precision passing as part of an hour-long session that was following by the second group for 60 minutes. Photo by Rick Menning.

It didn't take long for those in both groups to transform the nervous excitement and anticipation into an intense back-to-basics practice that had only brief moments of down time for instruction from Draper.

All in all, the two hours provided encouraging signs for New York's head coach.

"It felt so good to interact and work with the players," Draper said. "You could tell that they had the energy out there."

Mindful of the newness of everything including more than 30 players comprising the two groups who have never played together, Draper stressed the importance of starting with the basics.

"You start small and you work your way up," he continued. "Fundamentals (to start) and hopefully we build into something that will result in great team play ultimately."

Each session ended with a fun 4-on-4 scrimmage from inside the blue line.

"This league is great for women's hockey," he said. "This is the best against the best and ultimately I think this league is going to be great for the whole sport starting at the youth level."


Abby Roque: "We have a ton of talent on our team, but you don't win games without having that grit and that work ethic and I think that's something that is really being instilled in us and you can see it on the ice. Everybody's putting their best foot forward. Everybody wants to be the best player on the ice."

Ella Shelton: "The group that we have here will face (challenges) head on and be able to take whatever is thrown our way."

Paetyn Levis: "I think our backbone will be the passion we have for the game, and I think the hour (each group) was out there today showed that we are headed down the right path."


Madison Packer, who was the Premier Hockey Federation's second-leading all-time scorer as a longtime member of the Metropolitan Riveters, scored not once and not twice but three times against goalie Abbey Levy during shooting drills at Friday's practice. Packer, a four-time All-Star, won the Isobel Cup with the Riveters in 2018.

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