NORTHFIELD, Vt. (WCAX) The Norwich women's hockey team has become a national power in recent years, claiming a pair of D3 National Championships and 7 trips to the Frozen Four since 2010. But the Cadets had never had a player drafted into the National Women's Hockey League until this week.
"I really didn't expect it to happen. I did talk to Connecticut before, but I didn't know they were gonna draft me. So it was kind of nerve-wracking, but exciting once my name did get called."
D3 national player of the year Amanda Conway became the first Cadet ever taken in the NWHL draft when she was selected in the fourth round by the Connecticut Whale. Now you don't see Division 3 players getting drafted in sports leagues very often, but Conway says this emphasizes just how small the gap between D1 and D3 women's hockey is.
"There's a lot of players that are really on the brink of being D1 players but they chose to go to D3 schools," Conway said. "I literally chose because of the school size. I didn't want to go to a big school and I really liked Norwich. So I feel like it's not judging a book by its cover just because you play D3 hockey."
While Conway is the only former Norwich player to be drafted, she won't be the only Cadet on the Whale. Her former teammate Sarah Schwenzfeier and 2015 alumna Kaycie Anderson both play for Connecticut, and Conway has already spoken with Anderson .
"We've had a couple conversations here and there about it, but I think she's super stoked and I'm super stoked that I get a chance to play with her," Conway said.
Conway says she never thought growing up that making money playing hockey was a possibility, and she's thrilled about how the sport can continue to grow as the league becomes more and more established .
"It's a drastic impact," she said. "You get to do what you love so I mean who's gonna pass up on an opportunity to do what they love. And they just gained a team in Toronto so I mean expanding is the next step."
Conway still has one more semester to finish her degree, and the new NWHL season is scheduled to begin in October.