The Toronto Furies finished fourth out of six teams in the CWHL last season with a record of 9 wins, 13 losses and 5 overtime losses. This left them 14 points behind the third place Brampton Hockey Club. Offensively they ranked fourth with 75 goals scored and defensively they had 105 goals against for a ranking of fifth. Toronto also had the second most team penalty minutes in the CWHL last year with 304.
Clearly there is room for improvement for a Furies team that went all the way to the Clarkson Cup Final in a losing effort against the powerhouse Montreal Stars in 2011.
Between the pipes the Furies are blessed with having Sami Jo Small to lead the way. The former Team Canada Olympian is a seasoned veteran with a great deal of experience to pass onto younger netminders. Toronto did acquire goaltender Christina Kessler from the Burlington Barracudas dispersal draft. Kessler is a promising young goaltender that experienced a rough year statistically behind a weaker Burlington team. Kessler was part of Hockey Canada’s Under-22 Women’s National Team in 2009 and 2010. She also backed up Shannon Szabados at the 2010 Four Nations Cup (she again played in the 2011 Four Nations Cup).
Expect Kessler to get the bulk of the starts while Sami Jo Small takes on more of a mentorship role much like Jean-Sebastien Giguere has with the Colorado Avalanche and Semyon Varlamov.
On defence Tessa Bonhomme led the way with 4 goals and 16 assists in 24 games last season. Rounding out the defence were Martine Garland (13 points), Britni Smith (11 points), Lexie Hoffmeyer (7 points), Michelle Bonello (3 points) and Haleigh Callison (2 points). New additions via the Burlington dispersal draft to the defence were Shannon Moulson and Amanda Shaw, both are solid defensively and should provide good depth to the Furies.
On offence the team was led by Mallory Deluce (21 points), Kor Cheverie (20 points), Jess Scanzano (18 points), Brooke Beazer (15 points) and Jennifer Brine (14 points). Toronto went after top end skill at forward in the 2012 CWHL Draft. In the first three rounds of the draft they picked up Rebecca Johnston (1st round, 2nd overall), Natalie Spooner (2nd round, 7th overall) and Jennifer Wakefield (3rd round, 12th overall).
In past interviews conducted by Outlook Hockey all three of Jody Katz (Brampton General Manager), Sami Jo Small (Toronto goaltender) and Rick Traugott (Brampton Head Coach) indicated that Rebecca Johnston should be an impact player in the CWHL. As well Rick Traugott indicated that Natalie Spooner and Jennifer Wakefield were players that would also likely have an impact. On offense the Furies should be bolstered by their new additions despite the loss of Jess Scanzano.
Overall Toronto projects to be a better team than their fourth place finish last season. They will have greater depth in goal and on defence, as well the offense has added what is likely to be another three solid contributors on the score sheet. Expect the Furies to enter the Clarkson Cup tournament this season with a solid chance at ending the season as Clarkson Cup Champions.