Selected with the first overall pick in the 2021 PHF Draft, forward Taylor Girard provided the Connecticut Whale with an exciting dimension on offense. Raised in Macomb, Michigan, Girard’s arrival represented franchise history.
From the outset, it marked the first time that the Whale held the top pick in the draft. Having skated for the Quinnipiac Bobcats, based in Hamden, CT, Girard was the first alum from the program to be the top pick in a professional hockey draft. As a side note, she became the 15th Bobcat to wear the Whale jersey.
Wearing the number 17, Girard’s professional debut took place on November 6, 2021, a 4-1 loss versus the Metropolitan Riveters. The following day, Girard made a tremendous impact. Recording her first multi-point effort, Girard’s third period goal also stood as the game-winning tally.
Heading into the All-Star break, Girard established a solid case as a Rookie of the Year favorite, emerging as one of the leading scorers for the second place Whale. Logging a solid 12 points, the Whale enjoyed a superb 7-0 mark when Girard recorded at least one point.
Among seven members of the Whale named to the 2022 PHF All-Star Showcase, the impact of such a milestone was not lost on the rookie phenom. Approaching the event with a combination of gratitude and appreciation, Girard’s humility admirably shone.
With the unique element of three different All-Star teams, one of the novelties included at least one Whale player on each roster. Getting the opportunity to play alongside four-time All-Star Amanda Boulder, Isobel Cup champion Jonna Curtis, and 2020 first overall pick Sammy Davis, added to the theme of enjoyment for a jubilant Girard,
“It was such an honor to be chosen to go and play in the All-Star Showcase. This league is full of very talented players and it was special to be able to compete in a fun way with everyone. It was fun to meet the people you have been battling against all season.”
Skating for Team Thunstrom, named after captain Allie Thunstrom of the Minnesota Whitecaps, Girard contributed in the 3-2 win versus Team Darkangelo. Collaborating with Thunstrom, the two assisted on a second period goal by Jonna Curtis.
Additionally, Girard found a very familiar face on the roster. Quickly becoming one of the most popular goaltenders in league play, Abbie Ives also represented the Whale.
Teammates during the 2019-20 season with the Bobcats, qualifying for the ECAC playoffs, Girard and Ives are among five alumnae on the current Whale roster. The others include the likes of Kenzie Lancaster, Elena Orlando and Melissa Samoskevich.
Undoubtedly, the chance for both of these first-time All-Stars to share in this prestigious milestone together bolstered the sense of school pride and friendship. Praising the abilities of her teammate between the pipes, both hold the potential for many future All-Star appearances,
“It was a lot of fun to have Abbie on my team for the ASG. I would not want to play against her! We were teammates in college at Quinnipiac too, so it was just pretty cool to share this moment with her.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”