2021 NWHL Draft, a look at possible Riveters’ picks

The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) is not having their draft in April this year, a change from the past two years. This year’s draft will take place over Twitch.tv on June 29 at 7 p.m.


**Post-game…***After finishing her game, former first-overall National Women’s Hockey League (NHWL) draft pick Kelsey Koelzer skates off the ice in Philadelphia with her team. Koelzer was the first Black player to be drafted first overall in any North American professional ice hockey league; she was drafted in 2016.* *Arrowhead photo by C. Hickey.*

In preparation for the 2021 NWHL Draft there are some players from the class of 2021 that are from, or are currently playing, in the Metropolitan Riveters’ market. The Riveters draw many players from the Tri-state area and are the closest team to Souderton.
According to the NWHL the order selection before trades is the Buffalo Beauts, the Connecticut Whale, the Boston Pride, the Toronto Six, the Metropolitan Riveters and last, the Minnesota Whitecaps.
The order selection was determined by using an inverse of the winning percentages from the 2020-21 season, regular season and postseason. The Riveters and Whitecaps tied in percentages, and the tie was decided through goal differentials.
The Six, from trades, own the Pride’s first and second round pick as well as the Riveters’ first round pick.
The draft will have five rounds with six picks in each. The first overall draft pick will go to the Beauts.
The Riveters picks are: 11 overall, 17 overall, 23 overall and 29 overall.
Teams will have a two week window to exclusively sign their draft picks, and any draft pick not signed during this time will be eligible for free agency at 9 a.m. on July 14.
Robert Morris Forward Anjelica Diffendal is from Pittsburgh, Pa.
According to Robert Morris University’s athletic website, Diffendal played 86 total games for the Robert Morris University’s Colonials.
In her 86 games, she scored 15 goals and had 7 assists. Her average points per game is 0.255. Her career plus/minus is +7 and she averaged about two shots on goal per game.
College of Holy Cross defender Antonia Matzka is a Austrian player in the NCAA. According to College of Holy Cross’s website, Matzka was named the Best player of Team Austria at U18 Division 1A World Championships in 2015 and 2017.
Matzka won a silver medal with the Austrian Senior National Team in the 2015 and 2017 World Championships. The Austrian Senior National Team plays in IIHF Division 1A.
Matzka played a total of 114 games as a defender. She tallied 9 goals and had 27 assists. Her average points per game is 0.315. Her career plus/minus is -52 and Matzka averaged about two shots on goal per game.
The Riveters signed the first Austrian player in the NWHL, Janine Weber, in the 2015-16 season which could make the club appealing to Matzka.
University of Maine defender Daria Tereshkina is from Chelyabinsk, Russia.
The Riveters have had Russian forward Tatiana Shatalova on their roster for the past two seasons, and the Riveters could be more attractive to Tereshkina because of the other Russian player.
According to Elite Prospects, Tereshkina played 110 games for the University of Maine. She scored 10 goals and notched 19 assists. Tereshkina averages 0.263 points per game and has a plus minus of +7.
Tereshkina played for the Russian national team in the 2018-19 season. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Women’s World Championships were cancelled in both 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19.
Many international players have played for the Riveters in the past. They have had Shatalova, Weber, Bulbul Kartanbay from Kazakhstan and Mariya Sorokina from Russia.
Northeastern University student Aerin Frankel plays goaltender and has a list of achievements. USA Hockey announced over NHL Network that she was awarded the 2021 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, which is awarded annually to the top player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey.
Frankel was also named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) 2021 goaltender of the year. She also holds the all-time career win record for Northeastern University.
Her 2020-21 save percentage was .956 and Frankel’s 2020-21 win-loss-tie record was 10-2-1.
Penn State University has two graduating seniors, Natalie Heising from Minnesota and Jenna Brenneman from Minnesota.
According to Penn State’s athletics website, Heising played a total of 123 games and collected 54 goals and 43 assists. She averages 0.788 points per game and a plus/minus of 14. She averaged about four shots per game.
According to Penn State’s athletics website, Brenneman played a total of 36 games as a goaltender. Her career save percentage is .925 and she has a win-loss-tie record of 13-12-9.
In order to be drafted, players must meet the NWHL’s requirements.
According to nwhl.zone, “The draft is open to all NCAA and U SPORTS players who have consumed all of their post-secondary athletic eligibility or players graduating from a University or other comparable educational institute.”
NWHL teams have exclusive rights to resign any rostered players from the 2020-21 season until May 15 at 5 p.m., when unrestricted free agency starts. Unselected players qualify for free agency starting at 9 a.m. on June 30.