Tri-State area welcomes top Olympic and World Championship talent
TORONTO, ON (September 8, 2023) – The Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) today announced the first three players to sign free agent contracts with the league’s New York franchise are forwards Alex Carpenter, Abby Roque, and defender Micah Zandee-Hart. The decorated trio of Olympians and World Champions from the U.S. and Canadian National Women’s Team have all agreed to terms on three-year deals for the 2023-24, 2024-25, and 2025-26 PWHL seasons. Salary terms will not be disclosed, as per the PWHL Players’ Association.
“When you're building a championship-caliber team, you look for your cornerstone players,” said Pascal Daoust, General Manager of PWHL New York. “Signing Abby Roque, Micah Zandee-Hart, and Alex Carpenter isn't just about roster building, it's about setting the tone in the locker room and on the ice. They represent the heart of our foundation, the compete every player and coach respects, and the spirit our fans will rally behind. With them lacing up for us, every play and every moment will be a step closer to the culture of excellence we're crafting.”
Carpenter commits to PWHL New York as one of the most skilled forwards in women’s hockey. The 29-year-old debuted with Team USA in 2009 and had a three-year run with the U18 program. Among her most notable achievements at the senior level, she is a two-time Olympic silver medalist (2014, 2022) and eight-time medalist at the IIHF Women’s World Championship (6 Gold, 2 Silver). Carpenter hails from North Reading, MA and attended Boston College where she won the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Award as a junior in 2015 to go along with being a finalist in 2013 and 2016. As a senior, she famously captained the Eagles to just the second undefeated regular season in NCAA history. Carpenter has accrued a wide range of professional experience with the PHF’s Boston Pride (2016-17), the CWHL’s Kunlun Red Star (2017-18), and various iterations of the KRS Vanke Rays (2018-21) in the CWHL and ZhHL/WHL. She spent the 2022-23 campaign in the PWHPA and was a nominee for Forward of the Year, as voted by the players.
“I’m thrilled to have signed with New York of the PWHL,” said Carpenter. “From the moment New York was announced as a franchise, I knew this would be a great opportunity both for me and women’s hockey and I can’t wait to get started. I would like to thank Pascal Daoust and his team for their professionalism throughout this process. It became clear to me in speaking with him that the organization is committed to qualities of hard work, accountability, and leadership, all which resonate with me personally and in my play. I’m excited to continue to build the game I love with my teammates and this organization here in New York.”
“We're proud to welcome Alex Carpenter to our New York franchise in the PWHL,” said Daoust. “As an offensive center, Alex's scoring touch and skills, combined with her determination, truly stand out. Her relentless dedication, both during games and in training, perfectly mirrors the core values and vision we're championing as we strive for unparalleled excellence. We have no doubt Alex will soon win the hearts of our fans.”
Roque made history as the first Indigenous player to compete for the U.S. National Women’s Team at the Olympics, earning a silver medal in 2022. The 25-year-old from Sault. Ste. Marie, MI and member of the Wahnapitae First Nation, has also won three World Championship medals (1 Gold, 2 Silver) and two U18 medals (1 Gold, 1 Silver) with Team USA. Roque played her NCAA career with the University of Wisconsin Badgers where she won a National Championship in 2019, then finished top-10 in NCAA scoring as a senior in 2020 earning top-three recognition as a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award. Roque’s professional career consists of two PWHPA seasons in 2020-21 and 2022-23. She returns to New York after being part of the first-ever professional women’s hockey game played at Madison Square Garden in February 2021.
“I’m so thrilled to be one of the first women signed in the PWHL,” said Roque. “New York is an amazing city and such a great place to start a women’s ice hockey franchise. I couldn’t be more excited about the future of this league and this team. As the great Taylor Swift once said, welcome to New York!”
“We are thrilled to announce Abby Roque as an inaugural player for our New York franchise in the PWHL,” said Daoust. “As a center, Abby embodies exceptional skills and leadership. Her unparalleled work ethic, both on and off ice, represents the values and vision we have for our team as we strive for excellence. We're confident that our fans will soon embrace Abby with the same enthusiasm and pride that we feel.”
Zandee-Hart joins New York as a proven leader. She served as captain for Canada’s U18 team and was named co-captain at Cornell University where she became just the second sophomore in program history to don the ‘C’. Last season in the PWHPA, Zandee-Hart was also voted by her teammates in recognition of her leadership both on and off the ice. Internationally, the 26-year-old from Saanichton, BC became the first player from her province to represent Canada’s National Women’s Team at the Olympics where she won gold in 2022. She’s also won three World Championship medals (1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze) in addition to her U18 and U22 hardware. She has familiarity with the New York area from her collegiate tenure with the Big Red between 2015-20, capped by point-per-game production as a senior where she finished fourth in the nation in scoring among defenders.
“I feel privileged to be one of the first women to sign with the PWHL,” said Zandee-Hart. “This league has been years, even decades in the making, as it is the legends of our game who have paved the way for women’s hockey. I am grateful to these women, to my fellow players today, the PWHL board of directors, and specifically to the player board for their countless hours in making this a reality for us. I am looking forward to joining the New York organization and growing the game with the community.”
“We’re thrilled to welcome Micah Zandee-Hart, a Canadian native who honed her skills in the Tri-State Area at Cornell, to our New York franchise in the PWHL,” said Daoust. “Renowned for her leadership on a global scale and a playing style that aligns with our team’s values, Micah stands as a testament to the caliber of team we’re building. Our fans are in for a treat with her blend of talent and authenticity.”
The PWHL player selection process officially opened on September 1 with an initial free agency period that continues through Sept. 10. Teams are permitted to sign three players to Standard Player Agreements during this time. The 2023 PWHL Draft is scheduled for Sept. 18 where New York holds the fourth overall pick.
Fans can stay connected to the PWHL and register for email updates at thepwhl.com. Follow the new league on all social media platforms @thepwhlofficial plus all six new team accounts @pwhl_boston, @pwhl_minnesota, @pwhl_montreal, @pwhl_newyork, @pwhl_ottawa, and @pwhl_toronto.
PWHL Director of Communications