The Brampton Thunder found themselves sitting at the bottom of the standings for the second straight time last season, after winning only 29.2% of their games. Brampton hopes this season will bring more success, and drafting Sarah Edney first overall at the CWHL Player Entry Draft this summer could help them do just that.
Edney just graduated from Harvard University, where she was named the ECAC's Best Defenseman in her senior year, and was a finalist in her junior year. In her rookie season, she was named to the ECAC Hockey All-Rookie Team. Edney also captained Team Canada's U-18 squad in 2011, leading the team to a silver medal at the U-18 tournament. Her winning attitude and overall athleticism (she also competed in varsity flag football, softball, and track and field in high school) should be a major asset for the Thunder.
Brampton's General Manager, Lori Dupuis, is no stranger to success herself, winning an Olympic gold medal in Salt Lake City in 2002 as a member of Team Canada's women's hockey team. She's also a three-time IIHF World Women's Championship gold medalist.
If you followed Team Canada's women's hockey team in Sochi last year, you'll recognize a few faces on the Thunder's blue line. Laura Fortino and Jocelyne Larocque were both part of the gold-medal-winning team. The addition of Edney should bolster an already strong defense, and should allow new head coach Tyler Fines to rely less heavily on Fortino for defensive duties, allowing her to contribute more offensively (something she's pretty good at.)
Rebecca Vint and Jenna McParland add some much needed size up front, but perhaps the most interesting off-season addition can be found in Moeko Fujimoto. One of several Japanese players entering the CWHL this year, Fujimoto had six goals and four assists in 18 games with the Blues in Finland's top women's league, SM-sarja. Seeing what she brings to the North American ice should be interesting.
Who should you watch out for? Jess Jones was the Thunder's leading scorer last season with seven goals and nine assists in 24 games. She played on a line with Jesse Scanzano and Lindsay Vine, all of whom are returning this year.
Fortino wasn't far behind Jones on the scoresheet, with the talented defender contributing five goals and 10 assists. Forward Jamie Lee Rattray scored four and added nine helpers.
The Thunder went 1-5 against Montreal last season, and were outscored 21-14. That lone win came in the first game of the 2014-15 season, something they'll try to repeat when the teams face-off on Saturday, October 17th in Montreal (tickets still available for the season opener; you can purchase them here.)