Selected in the first round of the 2017 CWHL Draft, Nicole Kosta is part of a new crop of offensive talent that shall bolster the lineup of the new-look Markham Thunder. Considering that renowned offensive talent Laura Stacey (the last first round pick in Brampton Thunder history) is part of Canada’s centralization in anticipation of the 2018 Winter Games, Kosta’s arrival will ease such a significant loss.
While the name Thunder helps to preserve the franchise’s glorious past in Brampton, where Jocelyne Larocque, also part of Canada’s centralization, served as the last team captain, the relocation to Markham marks the second time that York Region (situated north of Toronto) has hosted a CWHL team. Of note, the city of Vaughan was home to the Flames, which featured notable players such as Meagan Aarts, Ashley Pendleton and Karen Thatcher.
With Markham having also served as the host city for three Clarkson Cup Finals, Kosta is part of a new generation of stars ready to extend the community’s proud hockey legacy.
Raised in Mississauga, she was one of two Jr. Chiefs (PWHL) alums taken in the first round of this year’s CWHL Draft, joined by Kristyn Capizzano, who was claimed by the Toronto Furies.
Helping to bridge both generations in Thunder history, Kosta takes a tremendous sense of pride etching her name in franchise history as Markham’s first-ever draft pick,
“I was initially in shock to be chosen in the first round and then I got really excitement that I was drafted to Markham. I went into the draft hoping that Markham would choose me and to be the first-ever pick is an honor and I’m excited to be part of the history of the franchise.”
Of note, the first round connections did not stop there for Kosta. Having carved a significant legacy with the Quinnipiac Bobcats, becoming only the third player to reach the 100-point plateau, Kosta was joined in the first round by teammate Taryn Baumgardt becoming property of the Calgary Inferno.
Kosta and Baumgardt become part of a growing number of Bobcats alumnae making their mark in the pros. Of note, former teammate Shiann Darkangelo was selected by the expansion Kunlun Red Star. Worth noting, other Bobcats that have competed at the professional ranks have included Nicole Connery, Morgan Fritz-Ward, Chelsea Laden, Elena Orlando, Cydney Roesler and Victoria Vigilanti, among others.
As the season approaches, the anticipation towards a new chapter in team history is enhanced by a unique scenario for Kosta. Having been teammates during their four seasons with the Bobcats, calling Baumgardt a rival represents a new reality. With their time as Bobcats highlighted by the first ECAC postseason crown in program history, the one element that shall never diminish in this later chapter of their hockey odysseys is the mutual respect between the two that forged four fascinating seasons.
“I am excited whenever I can play against old teammates and am especially happy that they have all found ways to further their hockey careers. Playing against them adds to a rivalry and brings up the excitement in a game – you never want to lose to an old teammate.”
Bestowed the honor of serving as one of the Bobcats’ captains in her senior season, Kosta bore the responsibility of such a role with amazing maturity and a solid work ethic that certainly set a positive example. Such qualities shall translate into a seamless transition with the Thunder. Not only is Kosta destined to compensate for the loss of their two blueline leaders chasing their golden dreams, she is part of the franchise’s long-term future in Markham.
Ready to elevate her game to the next level, Kosta may be the prized pick of the first round. With an opportunity to immediately step into the lineup and assert herself as an essential contributor, simultaneously continuing the lineage of world-class blueliners that have worn the Thunder colors, Kosta is capable of being a key piece to the club’s Clarkson Cup puzzle.
“Last year was a big step in my growth as a player and gave me professional experience that I can share with my teammates this year. I’m also excited to learn from my veteran teammates about dynamic of the CWHL and to further my skillset as a player.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credit: Rob Rasmussen, CWHL Draft image obtained from Twitter