There are numerous options to play professional hockey after college for members of NCAA men’s squads, but for former standouts of the Clarkson University Women’s Hockey team the choices are limited. While the vast majority of Clarkson alumnae from the women’s hockey team go on to pursue careers in their degree-related fields several former Golden Knights have found the time and energy to juggle hockey and day jobs in order to pursue their passion to prolong the days of competitive action on the ice.
One of those routes for the women to continue their love of the sport is to play in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL). Among the former Golden Knights who have played in the CWHL are Brooke Beazer ’08, Kira Hurley ’07, Emma Madigan ’07, Britney Selina ‘10 and Dominique Thibault ’10.
The Canadian Women’s Hockey League, founded in May 2007, has five teams playing a 23-game regular-season schedule from October through March. Players are not paid in the women’s league, a not-for-profit organization that depends upon valuable support from private donations and corporate sponsors. Every dollar goes towards building a league that is dedicated to raising the profile of women’s hockey while providing an opportunity for the best female hockey players to train and compete. Donations by corporate sponsors cover rink-rental expenses and travel — mostly by bus — for the league’s five teams, in Alberta, Boston, Brampton, Montreal and Toronto.
A standout performer at forward and on the blueline for Clarkson in the mid-2000s, Beazer’s playing days did not end when her collegiate career came to a close. Since graduating from Clarkson with a bachelor’s degree in Business in 2008, she has been playing in the CWHL traveling from her hometown of Kingston Ontario to play games for the Brampton Thunder and Toronto Furies. During her Clarkson career (2004-08) Beazer was selected the Knights’ MVP in 2006-07 and was named ECAC’s Best Defensive-Forward in 2007-08.
Beazer’s teammate on Brampton was Clarkson’s all-time leading scorer Britney Selina. Through 148 games with the Golden Knights from 2006-10, the Thornhill, ONT native averaged a point per game with 50 goals and 98 assists. Selina was a three-time ECAC All-Star at Clarkson and was honored as the ECAC’s Best Defensive-Forward in 2009-10.
Since the CWHL’s inception in 2007, each hockey season has culminated in an exciting play-off round in which the top teams face off for the Clarkson Cup, named after former Governor General of Canada Adrienne Clarkson. Thibault, a teammate of Selina’s when the Knights advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2010, lifted the Clarkson Cup as a member the 2011 CWHL Champions Montreal Stars. A native of L’Orignal, ONT, Thibault was named Player of the Game in the championship final. In Two seasons at Clarkson (2009-10) she tallied 40 points (21-19) in 39 games and was selected as an ECAC All-Star.
Clarkson’s lone All-American, Hurley, a native of Pickering, ONT, played for Brampton in 2010-11. Hurley, who won 48 games in goal for the Knights from 2003-07, became the first female goaltender ever to register a point in a men's professional game when she played for the Evansville Iceman in 2008-09. She was honored as ECAC Hockey’s Goaltender of the Year in 2005-06.
After a solid career at Clarkson from 2003-07, Madigan went on to play for Brampton. While with the Knights, the Mississauga, ONT native skated in 140 games both at forward and on defense and played a key role in establishing the solid foundation for Clarkson Women’s Hockey as part of the Knights’ inaugural class of 2007.