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Sammy Davis of Boston University was selected first overall by the Boston Pride in the 2020 NWHL draft. (Photo taken by Mark Donnelly.)

One week after announcing the league’s expansion to Toronto, the NWHL held its annual draft. The first two rounds took place on Apr. 28, while rounds three to five carried over to Apr. 29. It was the most significant NWHL draft to date.

This year’s draft started with a bang as a blockbuster trade occurred before it all even started: Toronto sent the first overall pick to the Boston Pride. Just hours before the draft, Boston, who had a near-perfect season, also received Toronto’s fifth-round pick in exchange for the Pride’s 2020 first-round pick, and their 2021 first and second-round picks.

In the shocking turn of events, the NWHL’s top team moved up five positions to select first overall. For the Boston Pride, it’s about sacrificing future picks to get Massachusetts native Sammy Davis. The Boston University forward is sure to be a fan favourite.

As for Toronto, they now hold four picks in the first two rounds of next year’s draft. With the deep talent pool in this year’s draft, Toronto selected Robert Morris University forward Jaycee Gebhard. She tallied 63 points in 36 games as the team’s captain.

When it comes to the total selections for each team, the Pride and Connecticut Whale led the way with six. The Buffalo Beauts and Minnesota Whitecaps picked five times, while Toronto and the Metropolitan Riveters made four additions to their rosters.

The league kept its format of unveiling each selection on Twitter, but they implemented a slight twist this year. As a way of celebrating women’s hockey, and women’s sports at large, both evenings featured numerous guests announcing each draft pick.

This list included WNBA players Natalie Achonwa, Rachel Banham and Jasmine Thomas, with professional athletes, broadcasters and executives from various other sports also appearing.

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