Forfar headlines 13 U SPORTS hockey alumnae selected in 2018 CWHL Draft

Sunday night at the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence in Toronto, 66 players were drafted into the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. Of that 66, 13 had laced up for a U SPORTS women’s hockey program in their careers.

Ailish Forfar (Ryerson University ’18) was the first U SPORTS alumna selected, taken 9th overall by the Markham Thunder. Forfar was pre-signed last week ahead of the draft, but still heard her name called and received her Thunder jersey and cap on stage.


Kelly Gribbons (Guelph University ’18) was the next U SPORTS grad taken, 31st overall, joining Forfar on the reigning Clarkson Cup champions. Gribbons was the first of three-straight alumnae taken, as Venla Hovi (University of Manitoba, ’18) went 32nd to the Calgary Inferno, while Marie-Joëlle Allard (Concordia Univesity ’18) was selected by Montreal with the last pick of the 6th round at 33rd overall.


In Round 7, forward Kaitlin Willoughby (Saskatchewan ’18) and the lone AUS representative, blue-liner Emma Martin (UPEI, ’18) were taken 37th and 38th respectively.

In Round 8, the Toronto Furies called out their first and only U SPORTS product, defender Emma Pearson (Western Mustangs ’18). The Richmond Hill, Ont. native suited up in 94 games for the ‘Stangs, scoring 7 goals and adding 18 helpers, including three points in Western’s run to the national championship final last season.

McGill’s Olivia Atkinson (’18) went 48th to Montreal, while Cheyann Newman (Calgary ’18) and Maude Gélinas (Montreal ’16) were scooped up with the final two picks in the 11th round by the cities where they played their university hockey.


Despite announcing on August 22 that she has signed a deal with SK Gorny in Russia, Tatiana Rafter (University of British Columbia ’15) was selected in Round 12, 61st overall by the Calgary Inferno. The 2017-18 Isobel Cup champion spent the last three seasons in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL)—the other North American professional women’s hockey league—with the Beauts and Riveters organizations. She was one of four NWHL players to be drafted into the CWHL on Sunday night.

Andréanne Carlos (Carleton ’18) followed Rafter at pick 62, heading to les Canadiennes, and was the final alumna drafted.

The complete list of U SPORTS alumnae drafted in the 2018 CWHL Draft is below.

Pick Name Position Drafted By U SPORTS School
9 Ailish Forfar Forward Markham Thunder Ryerson Rams
31 Kelly Gribbons Forward Markham Thunder Guelph Gryphons
32 Venla Hovi Forward Calgary Inferno Manitoba Bisons
33 Marie-Joëlle Allard Defence Canadiennes de Montréal Concordia Stingers
37 Kaitlin Willoughby Forward Calgary Inferno Saskatchewan Huskies
38 Emma Martin Defence Canadiennes de Montréal UPEI Panthers
40 Emma Pearson Defence Toronto Furies Western Mustangs
48 Olivia Atkinson Forward Canadiennes de Montréal McGill Martlets
53 Caroll-Ann Gagné Defence Canadiennes de Montréal Concordia Stingers
57 Cheyann Newman Forward Calgary Inferno Calgary Dinos
58 Maude Gélinas Forward Canadiennes de Montréal Montreal Carabins
61 Tatiana Rafter Forward Calgary Inferno UBC Thunderbirds
62 Andréanne Carlos Forward Canadiennes de Montréal Carleton Ravens

Conference Breakdown

5 – Players drafted from the RSEQ

4 – Players drafted from Canada West

3 – Players drafted from the OUA

1 – Players drafted from the AUS

To watch an on-demand version of the draft, click here. For more information about the 2018 CWHL Draft, click here.

*The year after the U SPORTS school an athlete played for indicates the last season they spent with the team, not necessarily a graduating class.