Off-Ice News, Women's Hockey

Breaking down the BU ties in Monday’s inaugural PWHL Draft

By Mitch Fink

Four former Boston University women’s hockey players were selected in the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) draft Monday.

Those four skaters will join former Terrier Marie-Philip Poulin in the newly-formed league after Poulin signed to the Montreal-based squad before the draft as one of the franchise’s three inaugural players. 

Plus, a member of head coach Tara Watchorn’s new staff was hired away to helm the Boston franchise.

A breakdown, below:

Marie-Philip Poulin (F) — Montreal, pre-draft signing

Women’s hockey forward Marie-Philip Poulin. After her time on Comm. Ave., Poulin was successful at every level of the game and has now entered NHL operations for the Montreal Canadiens. STEVE MCLAUGHLIN/DFP FILE

Consider it no surprise that Poulin was one of the first players signed in this new league. 

Poulin is widely considered one of the greatest women’s hockey players of all time, and is certainly the greatest player to come out of the BU women’s hockey program. 

She recorded 81 goals and 100 assists over a four-year career from 2011-2015 at Walter Brown Arena, becoming a first-team All-American and top-three finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award, given to the best women’s NCAA player each year, during her senior season — along with a laundry list of other accolades. 

But Poulin’s legendary status was cemented in her play with the Canadian national team. Not only is the Quebec native a three-time Olympic Gold Medalist, but she scored the game-winning goal in the gold medal game at three different Olympic Games — in 2010, 2014 and 2022. 

Nicknamed “Captain Clutch,” she wore the “C” at BU, with the Canadian national team since 2015 and with Les Canadiennes de Montreal of the now-defunct Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL). She’ll almost certainly captain PWHL Montreal, too. 

Jesse Compher (F) — Toronto, Round 5 

Sophomore forward Jesse Compher in Boston University’s season-opener against Northeastern University. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Compher played for BU from 2017-2021 before transferring to Wisconsin for a fifth year. 

In an outstanding sophomore season, she ranked first in Hockey East and third in the NCAA in scoring (61 points). She also captained the Terriers her senior season. An offensive-minded force, Compher was a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award in her sophomore year, and was named a second team All-American that season. 

She has also made her mark on the international level. Compher, who grew up in Illinois, earned a gold medal with the United States at the 2016 and 2017 IIHF World Women’s U18 Championships, before playing her way onto the roster of the U.S. national team for the 2019, 2020 and 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championships, and the 2022 Winter Olympics, where she won a silver medal.

Corinne Schroeder (G) — New York, Round 6

Northeastern women’s hockey defeats Boston University 5-0 during BU’s home opener on Oct. 5, 2018 at Walter Brown Arena in Boston, Mass. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

One of the most prolific netminders in BU history, Schroeder is the lone former Terrier to join an American PWHL franchise. She was the third goaltender off the board in the draft, and the 33rd overall pick.

Schroeder was in the same graduating class as Compher and — like Compher — grad-transferred (to Quinnipiac) for her fifth year of eligibility. 

Schroeder’s stats at BU stand alone. The Canadian posted a .934 save percentage and a 1.86 goals-against average in her four years with the Terriers — the best career numbers in program history. She was named to the National Goaltender of the Year watchlist for the shortened 2020-2021 season.

She didn’t slow down at the professional level. Schroeder earned Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) Goaltender of the Year honors last season for her dominant 19-1-0 mark, 1.67 GAA and .955 save percentage with the Boston Pride.

Victoria Bach (F) — Toronto, Round 7

Sophomore forward Victoria Bach scored a hat trick against Merrimack College on Friday. PHOTO BY FALON MORAN/DFP FILE PHOTO

Bach is a bonafide goalscorer. The forward was the first skater in BU women’s hockey history to eclipse 100 career goals, and is also the program’s all-time leader in points with 198. She was a Hockey East first-team All-Star her junior and senior seasons and, like Poulin, was a top-three finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award her senior year.

Bach’s selection to the Toronto franchise is something of a homecoming, since she grew up in nearby Mississauga, Ontario. 

Professionally, Bach has played for the Markham Thunder of the CWHL, where she won Rookie of the Year honors with the Markham Thunder. She was also selected by the Metropolitan Riveters of the PHF (then NWHL) in 2017, but opted to play with the Thunder instead. She has also played with the Canadian national team. 

Rebecca Leslie (F) — Toronto, Round 12

Sophomore forward Rebecca Leslie leads the Terriers with eight points through four games. PHOTO BY JUSTIN HAWK/DFP FILE PHOTO

Leslie is BU women’s hockey’s all-time assist leader with 102, and she’ll have ample opportunity to set up Compher and Bach as a member of the Toronto franchise. The Ottawa native took to the CWHL after graduation, signing with the Calgary Inferno.  

At BU, Leslie earned New England Division I All-Star honors and Hockey East Second Team All-Star recognition her sophomore and senior seasons. 

Leslie’s reunion with Bach, in particular, will be a meaningful one. The two were roommates and linemates at BU, who grew up competing against one another in the Ontario youth hockey circuit. Then, they played together on the Team Ontario U17 team, leading that squad to a championship in the Canadian National Women’s U17 championship. 

Courtney Kessel — Boston, Head Coach

Kessel may hold the record for the shortest coaching tenure in BU history — and for good reason. 

After moving to Boston in July to become BU’s associate head coach under Watchorn, Kessel stepped down to take on the head coach role for the Boston PWHL franchise.

An Ontario native, Kessel played college hockey at New Hampshire, and competed with the Brampton Thunder of the CWHL. Her impressive coaching resume includes stints as the bench boss of the CWHL’s Toronto Furies, four years as an assistant at Princeton and a new role as assistant coach for the Canadian women’s national team, which she will fulfill alongside her PWHL responsibilities.

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