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Vancouver Island hockey product signs pro contract with New York PWHL team

Micah Zandee-Hart of Saanichton dubbed a ‘cornerstone player’
Micah Zandee-Hart, who played her minor hockey on the Saanich Peninsula before winning gold at the 2022 Bejing Winter Olympics in women’s hockey playing for Team Canada, addresses the crowd during a 2022 Peninsula Panthers game. (Christian J. Stewart Photography file photo)

A Peninsula hockey product is among the first three players announced to sign to the New York franchise of the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL).

Defender Micah Zandee-Hart of Saanichton signed alongside forwards Alex Carpenter and Abby Roque, dubbed “cornerstone players” by general manager Pascal Daoust.

“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,” Daoust said in a statement.

The decorated trio of Olympians and World Champions from the U.S. and Canadian national teams signed 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.

“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.”

RELATED: Saanichton’s Micah Zandee-Hart makes B.C. history on Canada’s women’s Olympic hockey team

Zandee-Hart, 26, served as captain for Canada’s U18 team and was co-captain at Cornell University where she became 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. She became the first player from B.C. to represent the national team at the Olympics and won gold in 2022.

She’s also won three world championship medals – one each in gold, silver and bronze – in addition to 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.

“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,” Daoust said. “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 calibre 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 Sept. 1 with an initial free agency period through Sept. 10 when teams can sign up to three players to standard agreements. The 2023 PWHL Draft is scheduled for Sept. 18 where New York holds the fourth overall pick.

RELATED: Saanichton’s Micah Hart has her eyes on the world hockey stage

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