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Pounder’s top 5 players under 24 at the women’s worlds


The IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championship isn’t just a stage for the best hockey players in the world, it’s also an opportunity for the next generation to showcase their skills. In the past two women’s worlds, the tournament’s top scorer and MVP have all been under the age of 23.

This year’s world championship, set to begin next Wednesday in Utica, N.Y., features an abundance of rising stars. With that in mind, TSN’s Cheryl Pounder, a hockey analyst and six-time gold medallist at the women’s worlds, has compiled a list of the top five players under the age of 24 that fans can expect to see at this year’s tournament.

While Canada’s roster has been finalized, the U.S. is not expected to announce its final roster until Sunday. A 39-player camp roster was released earlier this month.

Note: With the parameters of this list set to players who are under 24, it’s important to note that American Taylor Heise, the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s Professional Women's Hockey League draft, turned 24 earlier this month, making her ineligible for this ranking.


5. Danielle Serdachny

Forward, Canada

Age: 22

Colgate University

Danielle Serdachny

Hockey Canada has a recent tendency to rely on its veterans, with the average age of the current roster just under 28. So, when a college-aged player (not named Sarah Fillier) is part of back-to-back world championship teams, fans and media tend to notice.

That’s exactly what’s happened with forward Danielle Serdachny, who made her worlds debut last year, recording an assist. She scored her first goal with the senior team in Game 5 of the 2022-23 Rivalry Series, looking off Marie-Philip Poulin on a 2-on-1 to snipe it herself top corner.

“It's her complete game that I like,” Pounder said. “A complete player who consistently [makes] an impact.”

The native of Edmonton just finished her fifth year with Colgate University. Last year, she was runner-up for the Patty Kazmaier Award, given to the top collegiate player in women’s hockey.

This past season, she was sixth in NCAA D1 scoring with 61 points (22 goals, 39 assists) in 40 games, and she finished as a top 10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier. She is the all-time top scorer for the Raiders with 239 points in 179 games.

Despite her impressive numbers, Serdachny isn’t necessarily the flashiest player on the ice, which can cause her to be overlooked. But Pounder believes she encompasses all the attributes that make her worthy of inclusion on this list.

“She’s got good size. She skates very well. Great passer – she can distribute. She can move the puck. She can shield the puck. And then she's got the skating ability to get to the puck,” Pounder said.


4. Kirsten Simms

Forward, USA

Age: 19

University of Wisconsin

Kirsten Simms USA

Kirsten Simms only made her senior team debut last December in the Rivalry Series, but she has already amassed an impressive resume. She won gold at the 2020 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship when she was 15. Two years later, she recorded five assists to help her country to a silver medal.

This past season, in her sophomore year with Wisconsin, she led the nation in scoring with 75 points (33 goals, 42 assists) in 39 games (averaging close to two points a game) and was a top-three finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award. As a freshman, she scored the game-winner in the 2023 NCAA Championship game against Ohio State, and she and the Badgers finished as runners-up this year.

“I just feel like the puck is on a string for her. when I think of young skills clinics, like trying all these tricks – Simms is an entertaining player,” Pounder said.

That was evident in Game 3 of this year’s Rivalry Series, where Simms toe dragged around a Canadian defender to score in her senior team debut.

“I think that she's just magic. She dances with the puck,” Pounder said. “We are going to see highlight-reel goals that are going to make Top 10 on SportsCentre.”


3. Caroline Harvey

Defence, USA

Age: 21

University of Wisconsin

USA Women's Hockey

Despite her young age, Caroline Harvey is no stranger to fans of the international game. She has been a mainstay on the U.S. national team since 2021, capturing two silvers and a gold at the last three world championships, and winning an Olympic silver medal at the 2022 Beijing Games.

“I mean, an Olympian at 19. Think about that for a second,” Pounder said.

Although Harvey’s ice time was severely limited during those Olympics, she has new confidence under head coach John Wroblewski. At last year’s world championship in Brampton, Ont., she led the tournament with 14 points in seven games and earned top defender honours. In the gold-medal game against Canada, she led all skaters with 23:35 of ice time.

“She's coming into her confidence and allowing that to be on full display on the back end,” Pounder said. “Her skating allows her to control the game and have the puck a lot on her stick. She takes advantage of turnovers, because of the way she can get to the puck. She can manipulate the blueline incredibly.”

Due to her Olympic selection in 2022, Harvey deferred a year at Wisconsin and made her collegiate debut in 2022-23. During that season, she was named WCHA Rookie of the Year after finishing with 39 points. She scored the overtime winner in the NCAA semifinals to send the Badgers to the championship game.

This past season, she recorded 35 points in 32 games and was a top 10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier award.

“I just think she's so young for a defender that the potential is unlimited with her,” Pounder said.


2. Abbey Murphy

Forward, USA

Age: 21

University of Minnesota

Emily Clark, Abbey Murphy

There’s no question that Abbey Murphy is an extremely talented forward. She was sixth in NCAA D1 scoring this past season with 62 points in 39 games, and her 33 goals was tied with Simms for top spot. Her production made her a top 10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award.

But there’s also no question that she plays with an edge. She led the NCAA with 118 penalty minutes, 47 more than the next closest player.

“I think she is a game changer,” Pounder said. “She has the ability to get under other’s skin, all while possessing the skill to put it in the net.”

Her skills as an agitator were on display at this past Rivalry Series. In Game 4, Murphy threw a hit on Poulin, who then retaliated and was assessed a penalty.

“She's the villain, yet she's so damn good,” Pounder said. “She's one of those players that you'd love to have on your team.”

While Murphy enjoyed success with Team USA at the U18 level, taking home two golds and a silver at the Under-18 world championships, her tenure so far with the senior team has been a bit more uneven. After being part of the 2022 Olympic roster, she was not named to the team for the 2022 world championship in Denmark.

But she was back in the fold for last year’s worlds, recording eight points in seven games. Her 31 penalty minutes were second highest in the tournament, just four back of Lara Stalder for the lead.


1. Sarah Fillier

Forward, Canada

Age: 23

Princeton University


It’s strange to think that Fillier just finished her collegiate career at Princeton, as Canadian fans and media have been singing her praises since she burst on to the scene at the 2021 world championship in Calgary.

Fillier has lived up to the immense expectations. At last year’s women’s worlds, she led Canada with 11 points in seven games, including a hat trick in the semifinal against Switzerland, and was named tournament MVP. She also led her country in scoring at the 2022 world championship, and that same year, she recorded 11 points in her first Olympic Games.

“She’s just a complete player who can slow down or speed up the game,” Pounder said. “I think that her IQ is something that sets her apart from so many others because she sees the game in layers. She has that unteachable.”

Fillier scored a career-high 30 goals this past year with Princeton, the third-best mark in the country. The centre was also used on the wing this season with the Tigers, showing her versatility.

“I just think she can open the game up,” Pounder said. “I think she creates so much speed. She creates so much space. But what a lot of people don't know about her – how fast she is. She's very dynamic left to right.”

This is shaping up to be a memorable year for the native of Georgetown, Ont. After this spring’s world championship, she is projected to be the No. 1 pick in June’s PWHL Draft.

"To be a part of history no matter where I am will be really amazing," Fillier told The Hockey News. "I'm really excited to see what city I end up in."