With the inaugural NWHL All-Star Game hosted at Buffalo’s Harbor Center, an experience that was highlighted by the participation of eight Beauts players, proud to represent the host franchise. From Beauts captain Emily Pfalzer serving as one of the team captains, to Beauts sniper Kelley Steadman gaining MVP honors, it marked a great chapter in Buffalo sports history.
Contributing to such a magical time was Shelby Bram, one of the most prolific playmakers for the Beauts. Selected by Hilary Knight to compete on her team in the NWHL All-Star Fantasy Draft, she was among three talented members of the Beauts playing for Knight, which included goaltender Brianne McLaughlin. Despite five Beauts opposing them on Team Pfalzer (including the team captain), there was no shortage of mutual respect, as the chance to compete on home ice in front of so many loyal fans added to the strong sense of team pride,
“It was a blast! Our Beauts team is super tight knit and such a great group so we had a lot of fun out there competing against each other!”
Equally notable was the fact that Bram was part of very proud Canadian content at the NWHL All-Star Game. One of four Canadians named to the inaugural NWHL All-Star Game, she was joined on Team Knight by a pair of Connecticut Whale players with Canadian roots, including Kaleigh Fratkin, the Whale’s leading scorer, and goaltender Jaimie Leonoff, who won the first game in NWHL history.
Of note, Bram was not the only Canadian member of the Beauts roster to be part of the NWHL All-Star Game. Devon Skeats, who played at the university level with the Laurier Golden Hawks in southwestern Ontario, rounded out the four fantastic Canadian players that were part of such an exciting pair of All-Star rosters, skating for Team Pfalzer. In addition, Beauts blueliner Tatiana Rafter (like Bram, she was raised in Manitoba) served as the Master of Ceremonies for the NWHL’s All-Star Skills Competition.
“It was so much fun and a huge accomplishment for me! Being a part of NWHL history and something as big as the All-Star game was pretty special and something I am super proud of!”
As a side note, the event was an extension of the proud contribution that Bram and Skeats have made to the Canadian history of Beauts hockey. As the first Canadian to have logged a point for the Beauts, and third overall in NWHL history, Bram’s legacy is without dispute. Joining her in such rarified air was Skeats, who would become the first Canadian in Beauts franchise history to score a goal.
Although Team Pfalzer prevailed by a 9-1 tally (four points were awarded for winning all the events in the skills competition), as Skeats became the first Canadian to score a goal in NWHL All-Star history, there was a shared feeling of victory among all the Beauts players involved. Such a special showcase of exceptional women’s hockey talent was a gracious opportunity to reciprocate the sensational support of Buffalo sports fans, who have embraced the Beauts.
The All-Star Game was the epilogue to an even bigger event, which featured a formal Friday dinner, a Saturday skate with the fans and the skills competition which launched the superb Sunday, culminating with a post-game autograph session. Through such an acclaimed time, it provided Bram with a special chapter in her exceptional career. Getting the opportunity to combine fun, achievement, fan appreciation and her love of hockey in a historical yet empowering showcase, it is part of an experience destined to help the game reach further heights,
“The whole weekend was something to remember it was a busy schedule full of fun activities with fans and the media! It was an experience that will last years but playing in the first ever all star game will be a significant memory of the weekend!”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”