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Boston Blades GM confident about the upcoming season after the draft

“This gives us a lot of opportunity to show people what we’re made of.”

Boston Blades GM Krista Patronick and first round pick, Kristina Brown
Boston Blades GM Krista Patronick and first round pick, Kristina Brown

Instead of letting a weekend of would could be stressful work and international travel get to her, the experience of her first draft invigorated Boston Blades General Manager Krista Patronick.

"It was amazing. I’m so happy with how it went," she said.

When Patronick joined the club in May, she faced a situation many other new general managers would dread, as most of last season’s Clarkson Cup winning team left for the newly formed NWHL.

"Obviously, this was going to be a rebuilding year," said Patronick. With a new general manger, a new coach and many new players, she sees this as a chance for a fresh start.

"This gives us a lot of opportunity to show people what we’re made of."

At last Sunday’s draft in Toronto, the Blades selected 13 players, the top three of which were present. Patronick spoke highly of each.

She called her first pick, Boston College alumnus Kristina Brown, "a general manager’s and coach’s dream."

"She’s so independent, and that’s such a great characteristic to have on your team because other girls are going to look up to her," she said.

Patronick targeted Brown in part for her experience. After playing four years for the Eagles, Brown went abroad after graduating in 2013 and played professionally in Europe for two years. Patronick thinks that this, combined with her personality, will make Brown one of the team’s leaders.

In the second round, Patronick loaded up on offense.

"Nicole [Giannino] is definitely going to be the goal scorer."

Giannino was one of the first players Patronick recruited. A recent graduate of Holy Cross, Giannino put up 70 points in 103 games during her collegiate career, with 37 goals and 33 assists.

"She has a great energy about her," said Patronick. "She’s just so happy to play in Boston."

With the third pick, Patronick ventured north of the border, drafting Quebec native and Lionel Groulx graduate Elizabeth Tremblay.

Tremblay is a smaller player,  just over five feet tall, according to Patronick, but makes up for that in other ways on the ice.

"Her speed is incredible," Patronick said. A fast player with good hands, Tremblay’s play-making abilities has Patronick convinced that she will become an assist leader this upcoming season.

"She’s someone who we can definitely rely on to get the job done."

Of the players who were not present for the draft, Patronick highlighted sixth round pick, goaltender Amanda Cariddi.

Cariddi’s road to her position on Syracuse’s team impressed Patronick, herself a goaltender.

Patronick explained that Cariddi played as a club team goalie when an injury prompted her promotion to the school’s Division 1 team. Cariddi had to work hard to keep her spot, and improved her conditioning to do so.

"Her work ethic is just an amazing thing." Patronick said that Cariddi will back up the returning Genevieve Lacasse.

Baring any additions from tryouts, which take place in early September, the draft effectively completes the Blades roster for the upcoming season.

With all the player movement this off season, Patronick had a lot of holes of to fill in the draft, but she is convinced her selections will have a positive impact this season.

"I’m confident that we’re going to have a team that will compete and do well," she said.

Patronick acknowledged the "small world" nature of women’s hockey in America, saying that most players are familiar with one another. For many of the new players, their entrance into the CWHL represent a first time exposure to a new pool of players, which Patronick called, "the best of the best." She thinks the competition will only make them stronger.

"They see the other women in the league and they’re fueled by that," she said. "They’re going to work hard and I’m really excited to see what they’re going to do."