Beauts draft seven players in 2021 NWHL Draft

by Hannah Bevis

The Buffalo Beauts made a splash at the 2021 NWHL Draft on Tuesday evening. Thanks to trades earlier in the year, the Beauts had seven total picks, including the second overall pick in the draft.

The Beauts used their first round pick to select Emilie Harley, a 6’0” tall forward/defender who played for four seasons at Robert Morris University. The Beauts traded their first overall pick to Connecticut in exchange for the second overall pick and 14th overall pick in the 2021 NWHL Draft.

“I’m so happy to be joining the Beauts organization. Being drafted is a really rare and special moment as an athlete and it’s one I will remember forever,” said Harley on her selection. “I feel really grateful for this chance to continue my hockey career and I’m looking forward to the challenge of such a high level of competition. I know I’ll be surrounded by nothing but good energy and genuine people with Nate, Rhea and this team and I’m excited to get started.

"I had really good conversations with RMU's head coach Paul Colontino about Emilie when we were first inquiring about her. I have a ton of respect for Paul, and he put it to me this way: 'Nate - Emilie is the player that you want. She's the one'. And he was exactly right,” said Beauts general manager Nate Oliver. “We love Emilie's ability to play either defense or forward. Being six feet tall she obviously has tremendous reach. I think with the time that she has spent playing center as well as D she has developed hard, crisp passing and has really good vision on the ice.”

The Beauts used their second round pick to pick up another sizable addition, also from Robert Morris University. Buffalo drafted forward Anjelica Diffendal, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native, who finished her career at RMU with 40 points in 122 career games. 

"It has been awesome as a female athlete to watch the NWHL grow and I am honored to be drafted, becoming a part of this community,” said Diffendal. “I am very excited to get the opportunity to play for the Beauts. They have an amazing program, and I cannot wait to begin this journey!"

In the third round of the draft, the Beauts had three consecutive picks with the 13th, 14th, and 15th overall selections. The Beauts picked up their third third-round pick in a trade last season, acquiring Boston’s 2021 third-round pick in exchange for their second-round pick in the 2020 draft. 

The Beauts started off their third round selecting Kennedy Ganser. Ganser is a forward coming from the University of Alberta, and Beauts fans will be glad to see this player on Buffalo’s draft board - Ganser was Autumn McDougall’s center during their time together with the Pandas. The 5’3” forward scored 85 points in 112 U Sport games, averaging .76 points per game.

With their second pick in the third round, the Beauts selected defender Anna Zíková from the University of Maine. The 5’6” blueliner put up 25 points in 63 NCAA games, and at the age of 23, is a four-time member of the Czech Republic women’s national team. During her time in the Czech Republic national team pipeline, she’s picked up a bronze medal at the U18 level in 2014, won a gold medal at the 2015 Division 1A Women’s World Championships, and was named one of the three best players at the 2016 Women’s World Junior Championships.

The Beauts used the 15th overall pick to select Missy Segall, a forward from Hamilton College. In 76 games, the Wellesley, Massachusetts native scored 51 total points.

After a whirlwind third round, the Beauts made their sixth selection of the evening in the fourth round, choosing defender Allison Attea from Holy Cross. The 5’7” defender finished her NCAA career with 20 points in 111. Attea will also get to return home with the Beauts - she’s a Buffalo, New York native. 

Finally, the Beauts wrapped up the 2021 draft by selecting defender Casey Traill from Castleton University. The South Shields, Great Britain native put up 33 points in 93 games with Castleton, and though she’s just 22 years old, has already represented Great Britain at the national level. She’s played for Great Britain at the U18 team three times and has also been on the senior national team for three seasons. She is the first British player to be drafted in NWHL history.

"I think that as our league continues to grow and build that it will become more imperative for teams to scout talent outside of North America.  Zíková I have known for 7 years or so, so it was about waiting for the right time to select her…Her caliber as a defender and a shot-blocker go a long way,” said Oliver. “Casey Traill is a player whom we are looking to develop and whom we believe can benefit us in the long term. She has plenty of international experience as well. I think as time goes on people will be impressed with the level of talent that British players possess and continue to develop… With selections like Zíková and Traill we feel that we did our homework and found players that other teams might have overlooked."