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Varsity Girls Hockey Spartans to join JWHL

The Stanstead College varsity girls hockey team will officially join the Junior Women’s Hockey League (JWHL) in the U19 division for the 2020-21 season.
The Varsity Girls Hockey Spartans have been members of the North American Prep Hockey Association (NAPHA) since 2009-10, winning the league championship in 2011 and for the past five seasons (2016-2020). During the regular NAPHA season this year, the team had a record of 6-0-2. Overall this past season, the varsity girls were 46-15-4.

The JWHL was founded in 2007 as a league for girls hockey teams that regularly produce NCAA-calibre players. The league has produced over 700 NCAA and USport student-athletes as well as numerous national and Olympic team members for the US, Canada, and several other countries. The league started with four teams, expanding to 12 teams in 2012-13.

Teams face each other team three times during the regular season and compete in the JWHL Challenge Cup, to which Stanstead has been invited the last number of years. There is also a JWHL post-season championship.

The league consists of teams from Canada and the USA, including North American Hockey Academy (Boston), Ridley College (St. Catharines, Ont.), Boston Shamrocks and Ottawa Lady 67s.

“Girls hockey at Stanstead College has evolved tremendously over the past decade through the efforts of outstanding coaches, teachers and student-athletes,” said James Rioux, Stanstead’s Director of Hockey Operations. “The scope of our schedule has expanded to many areas across New England and North America, while the success of our team and players has attracted the eyes of recruiters at numerous levels. As a school community, we are pleased with the growth of the program and especially the kind of citizens we have been able to welcome to the school and develop into high level students in the classroom and athletes on the ice and beyond.”

Discussions about joining the JWHL have been ongoing the past year. Being invited to the annual JWHL Challenge Cup in Washington the past few seasons as well as the Merrimack event outside Boston has allowed the varsity girls to get a taste for what the league is all about.

“In the end, we feel this will be a tremendous step for our girls and team to play against competitive programs in a truly professional set-up,” said Mr. Rioux. “With the JWHL’s professionalism, marketing and focus on college development, we are excited about the upcoming schedule and visibility prospects for our girls and our program.”

JWHL co-founder Kush Sidhu said, “We are pleased to welcome Stanstead College to the JWHL family. Stanstead’s history of developing elite student-athletes and their commitment to high standards align with our core values. We look forward to a strong working relationship with James Rioux, Head Coach Bernie Pimm and the Stanstead College community.”