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Pounder makes her picks for PWHL coach of the year, MVP


TSN Hockey analyst Cheryl Pounder shares who she thinks will be named PWHL coach of the year, and who will take home the Billie Jean King MVP award.


We’re entering the final week of the PWHL regular season, last week the league announced its list of awards for players, so we’re going to ask you about some of your picks for the end of season trophies.

Let’s start between the pipes, who is your goaltender of the year?

Cheryl Pounder: Well these are tough, but my goaltender of the year is going to go to PWHL Toronto’s Kristen Campbell.

PWHL Toronto Kristen Campbell


Listen, she didn’t start off strong to start the season, one win in five games, and then went on an 11-game winning streak. That is right, an 11-game winning streak with PWHL Toronto, who are now sitting tied for first place. 

So, you look at her and how pivotal she has been to get her team to this position, you look at her 20 starts. I look at her and I say, she has been the best goaltender on the season.

Of course we have to ask you about the blueliners, so do you think is going to win defender of the year?

Pounder: Well, there’s a number of defenders that I looked at, but I kept coming back to Boston’s Megan Keller.

Boston Megan Keller Ottawa Gabbie Hughes

I mean, she is just a great transitional skater, but it’s what she does at both ends of the ice, playing over 25 minutes, on average, a game. 

Every time you look, this woman is on the ice, but she’s not just defending, where she gaps up and she closes quickly, she has an edge and a physical element to her game, but she’s also jumping into the rush as well. 

She has fourteen points and 50 shots on goal and will be used in absolutely every situation, so she was heavily relied upon for a 200-foot game to provide offence as well as defence.

From the blueline, let’s go behind the bench, who is your pick for coach of the year?

Pounder: I’m going with PWHL Montreal’s Kori Cheverie, as her first head coaching position in a professional environment, she really has made a difference.

PWHL Montreal Kori Cheverie

She is tied for first place with Toronto, but also when I look at her I say, listen she started with an open slate. You look at someone like Troy Ryan, had a number of players that he was completely familiar with and she didn’t have the strongest back end. 

She’s been able to put the pieces together to put her team into a position right now to vie for the first-ever championship.

And finally the big one, the Billie Jean King MVP Award, who do you have there?

Pounder: Listen, it is so hard not to take Marie-Philip Poulin right? But I am taking Natalie Spooner for what she has done with Toronto.

PWHL Toronto Natalie Spooner

I mentioned their tough start to the year, but when they went on that winning streak, she amassed 10 goals and five assists. I do believe she was the strength on that team. 

She wasn’t taken as one of their top three players in free agency, but she has been their best player.  

Her and Kristen Campbell have been real difference makers, but she has found the back of the net and I would say for argument’s sake and there is a controversial question here, whether she is the best in the world in the paint.

A lot of players are going to say, well Hilary Knight in the paint, but Natalie Spooner in the paint with her 23 points and 16 goals, that is her coveted spot and she has been an extreme difference maker for her team and a reason they are sitting atop of the standings.