Chatham-Kent Women’s Hockey Prospects: Offseason Update
Chatham’s Jessie McPherson tops the new class, and could join the list of committed players as early as next year.
This list is developed multiple times per season through consultation with regional coaches, and active scouting of each player involved in the list.
For this edition, we look at the top prospects by position – goaltenders, forwards, defense.
Top Prospect: Jessie McPherson (2002) – If this list were ranked, McPherson would be, and is, the top uncommitted women’s hockey prospect from Chatham-Kent right now. You won’t find a better goalie, who gets better results in Southwestern Ontario. McPherson honed her skills for years at the boys AAA and AA levels. Last year she collected a 0.97 GAA at the Midget AA level as a Bantam, and averaged less than that, picking up 8 shutouts for her high school CKSS Golden Hawks, including the LKSSAA final. Focused on achieving her goals, she’s always square to shooters, and fundamentally sound. She will play in the PWHL with the Cambridge Rivulettes this year.
Mikayla Demaiter (2000) will get University looks this year. She spent last year with the Bluewater Midget ‘AA’ program, and will be counted on to win games for the Midget ‘AA’ Chatham Outlaws this season. An athletic netminder, who can steal games, she has been one of the regions best for several years.
Marandee Hunter (2001) is another athletic goalie, who played Midget ‘A’ last season, and continues to develop, and compete at a high level. She’ll again skate with the Midget ‘A’ team, and CKSS’ girls hockey team.
This position is difficult to say who will emerge as the “top prospect.” Sophie Maine might rise above her older counterparts, Corinna Vandenboorn is the oldest and closest to a commitment, while Kirsten Horney, Hunter Gagner, and Alison Stephens can all play college hockey in two years. Natalie Sands has big upside, while Hailey Johnson showed marked improvement last year, and will do everything she can to interest schools this season.
Corinna Vandenboorn (2000) It’s debatable if Vandenboorn belongs here, only because her versatility puts her up front and on the point at times, although we believe she looks most at home on the blueline. She’s produced well at the AA level this year. Strong on her feet, dangerous on the powerplay, and owning a powerful shot, Vandenboorn is a player who has flown under the radar for years due to a strong recent graduating class. She also plays for Ridgetown’s high school team.
Hunter Gagner (2001) is prototypical shutdown defender. Playing for Chatham’s Midget ‘AA’ team she almost never loses a battle in the corner, and is physically intimidating. If you had to choose a player to defend a lead in the final minute, she’d be there. A good shooter from the point, could easily continue to climb up the ranks as she hones the finer points.
Kirsten Horney (2001) enters her second season with the PWHL’s Southwest Wildcats. Horney has solid puck skills, that continue to improve as she competes against tough competition in the PWHL, and at the high school level with CKSS. When Horney gains the physical strength to power pucks through traffic, she’ll quickly move up this list, and get the attention from schools she desires. She already skates well, and enjoys jumping into the rush. Making the decision to play in Southwest was a good one for Horney, who plays in front of more scouts and recruiters, and against tougher competition on a nightly basis.
Sophie Maine (2002) played Bantam ‘A’ last year, but excelled against older competition on CKSS’ high school team, and didn’t look out of place in Midget ‘AA’ call ups, where she’ll play full time this year. Maine is physically strong for her age. Intelligent both on and off the ice, she is designed to be a University student, and in time, a University hockey player. Makes good decisions with the puck at the offensive blueline, and makes a good first pass. She can shut down opponents, and her intelligence and compete levels set her apart.
Alison Stephens (2001)plays for the Chatham Midget ‘AA’ team. The most athletic of the 2001 defenders on this list, Stephens can generate offense from any spot on the ice, and her physical size allows her to win battles, and control space. She’d benefit from simplifying her decision making with the puck, but without risk, there often isn’t reward. An assistant captain on the CKSS girls team, Stephens is a natural leader, who oozes character…something every coach looks for. An OFSAA track and field gold medalist, her athleticism doesn’t stop on the ice.
Natalie Sands (2002) is a versatile player like Vandenboorn. She won out over equally skilled teammates from her Bantam ‘A’ squad to grab a coveted spot on the Midget ‘AA’ team next season. May end up playing forward, but a big frame will allow her to fit in wherever she lands in Midget.
Hailey Johnson (2000) is a small, smooth skating defender. Not afraid to jump into the rush, perhaps due to her time as a forward in the past, Johnson cracked the Bluewater ‘AA’ team. Most effective when she simplifies her game, Johnson had a spectacular second half to last season, and an even better tryout period. Also skates for the CKSS Golden Hawks.
Top Prospect: Payton Sabourin (2001) is the best forward in Chatham-Kent. If she were a graduating grade 12, she’d already be physically capable of playing OUA hockey. Sabourin dominates at the high school level with CKSS averaging close to 3-points per game. In Midget AA, she played more of a defensive role, showing she’s versatile. Physically dominant on the ice, her speed and power overtakes opponents. Could easily step into any PWHL team in the region and contribute, but will soon be an overpowering force in AA, either on the scoresheet, or in other ways. An OFSAA level runner, who was CKSS’ Junior Athlete of the Year, she is an all around athlete.
Camille Blain (2002) has the unteachable. Blain is a 5’11”, agile, and athletic player who won a spot on Chatham’s Midget ‘AA’ team this year, and should she want, could likely progress to the PWHL next season. Good puck control skills, especially for a player who moved from ringette to hockey only a few seasons ago, and is positionally strong at both ends. Her reach and skating allows her to take away time and space from opponents creating turnovers, and offensive opportunities. If she can add power to her shot, to match the power she’s beginning to show elsewhere, she’ll be dominant next season. Also plays for the CKSS girls team, won OFSAA silver in hurdles, and was the school’s Rookie Athlete of the Year.
Audra Vanroboys (2000) continues her time at Ridley College, playing in the JWHL. Big and skilled, Vanroboys scores readily, and plays alongside multiple NCAA committed players. Time will tell if the decision to follow her own path pays off, but she’ll be ready to make her own commitment soon.
Brooke Michaud (2003) played Bantam A last year. It’s rare for a youngster like Michaud to appear on our list, but she was the most skilled player on her team, composed of AA calibre players a year her senior. Offensively gifted, Michaud will play Bantam AA in London this year.. A good skater, what sets the Charing Cross resident apart, is she wants the puck on her stick, and wants to be the go to player at all times. When she has the puck, her skill set is next level.
Cassie Whiteye (2002) thinks the game well, and plays a lot like her older sister Katreena, who was always a top name on this list. Great playmaking skills, with a tenacious edge. Has traveled to ensure she’s playing against and with the top players in her age group, and will do so again this year playing for the London Devilettes Midget ‘AA’ team. She will follow her sister’s path to a University program. Also skated with the UCC girls this season.
Megan Hakr (2000) competes as hard as anyone every shift she is on the ice, and plays with an often feared physical style. If she can’t go around a player, she’ll go through them. Having finally cracked a Midget ‘AA’ roster, a spot she should have earned a year ago, Hakr will now have the opportunity to show off her ever improving skills. A tough competitor at both ends of the ice, she’ll be valuable in Bluewater. Also plays for the CKSS girls team, where she scored more than a point per game last season.
Lauren Edwards (2000) has good speed, and good decision making, Edwards will be counted upon to bring more offense to the Midget AA program in Chatham. She showed the ability to produce with Ridgetown’s high school team, and has that potential at a higher level. A good two way forward, Edwards will earn looks from OUA programs next year. What Rachel Benn (2001) lacks in the finer points, she makes up in sheer determination and work ethic. An excellent athlete both on and off the ice, the ESPC student is bullish in her nature on the ice. She pursues the puck with intent, and makes smart, simple plays that rarely put her team at risk. She’ll be counted upon to take another step forward at the AA level next season with Chatham.
Graduating players Sydney Sabourin (1999) and Megan Morehouse (1999) are both capable of playing OUA hockey. If they do, depends on whether they choose to make that step, or what direction their schools paths take them. Taylor Lockwood (1999) is heading the college direction after finishing her PWHL season with Southwest.
Other forwards to watch include Jocelyn Maryschak (2001), an all around workhorse, and big game player. She scored the LKSSAA winning goal, and two goals in the Lower Lakes Bantma ‘A’ championship game. She plays a 200-foot game, and is tireless on both the forecheck and backcheck. A midget ‘AA’ quality player, who will marinate a year in Midget ‘A’. Emma Doom (2001) has a good skill set with the puck. She is dangerous around the net. Other notable players from the area include Ryanne Logan, Maia Collins, Reese Parks, and Kiera Jackson.
The upcoming crop of Bantam ‘A’ players also includes a group of players who will eventually be long term members of this list.
List Alumni – Meredith Goldhawk (Windsor Lancers, OUA), Zoe Ellis (Windsor Lancers, OUA), Rachael Tricker (Fanshawe Falcons, OCCCR), Sydney Authier (Ryerson Rams, OUA), Sydnee Baker (UPEI Panthers, AUS), Jillian Crane (Neumann Knights, NCAA D3), Halle Crane (Neumann Knights, NCAA D3), Lauren Nicholson (Ryerson Rams, OUA), Madison Lalonde (Ryerson Rams, OUA), Renae Nevills (Western Mustangs, OUA), Katreena Whiteye (Brock Badgers, OUA), Emma Gorski (Merrimack Warriors, NCAA D1), Kaitlyn Isaac (Cornell Big Red, NCAA D1).