A highly disciplined player that brings a tremendous combination of acumen and leadership, Taylor Woods enjoyed a new, and highly deserved, milestone in her stellar career. Earning a spot as a participant in the 2022 PHF All-Star Game, the recognition signaled Woods’s standing as one of the league’s elite blueliners.
With a tremendous hockey resume including four fantastic years at Cornell University, including a Second Team All-Ivy selection, plus the prestige of participating at the 2011 Canada Winter Games, Woods has enjoyed championship jubilation. During the 2010s, winning the Esso Cup and the Clarkson Cup, Woods has blossomed into a brilliant professional.
One of seven members from the first place Toronto Six gaining an All-Star nod, Woods fundamentally sound game on the defense has involved a sprinkling of offensive brilliance. Recording a superlative 10 points in the first half of the season, Toronto enjoyed a tremendous 6-0 mark when Woods recorded at least one point.
“It was a great overall experience! Being a part of a special event and showcasing women’s hockey is always an honor. The PHF and Buffalo Beauts staff did a great job at organizing and hosting the event.”
Heading into the All-Star break, serendipitously, a match versus Buffalo saw Woods amass one of the finest performances of her PHF career. The January 16 contest resulted in a career high three assists.
In the first period, Woods assisted on goals by Emma Woods and Shiann Darkangelo, both All-Star selections. Just 32 seconds into the second period, she collaborated with fellow All-Star Mikyla Grant-Mentis, assisting on Emma Woods second goal of the game.
Of all the outstanding Toronto Six All-Stars, Woods would not call the aforementioned as teammates in the mid-season event. With three rosters on-hand, named after team captains Shiann Darkangelo, Jillian Dempsey (Boston) and Allie Thunstrom (Minnesota), Woods wore the jersey of Team Dempsey.
The only other member of the Six aligned on Team Dempsey involved league leading goaltender Elaine Chuli. Named the Most Valuable Player of the All-Star Game, Woods was in awe of her teammate’s brilliance between the pipes, as Team Dempsey emerged as the winning All-Star team.
“Pulling out the All-Star victory in the end was nice! It was fun to see other players in their element, and how they play/prepare. Chuli is a top-class goalie and was a big part of why we won – 9/10 shootout saves, big saves when we needed, and of course staying strong with all the odd-man rushes that come about in 3-on-3.”
Among the highlights of Woods’ first PHF All-Star experience also came the opportunity to enjoy a proud connection to international play. As a Hockey Canada alum, Woods wore the Maple Leaf in a gold medal outcome at the 2012 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championships, of which Chuli was also a member of the victorious roster.
Another pair of Hockey Canada alumnae also belonged to Team Dempsey. Having played since the inaugural season, Kaleigh Fratkin is the all-time leading scorer among blueliners in PHF history. Also a former member of the U18 National Team, Fratkin later appeared in the Nations Cup with the U22/Development Team. This year’s All-Star experience marked the first time these distinguished blueliner called each other teammates.
Serving in the capacity of head coach, Sami Jo Small holds a proud place in hockey history, a member of Canada’s team that won the gold medal at the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games.
When Woods played for the Brampton/Markham Thunder from 2016-19, Small was a goaltender (and later General Manager) of the Toronto Furies, a team she helped co-found. Revered as a public speaker and one of the game’s modern pioneers, the presence of Small on Team Dempsey’s bench marked a proud highlight for Woods, one which inspired.
” I was very excited to have Sami Jo coaching us! She had the right game plan from the get-go to get us the W. I was just in awe the whole time, with the mix of her pedigree of the game to the kindness of who she is. She finds so many ways to give back to the game.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”