The puck is ready to drop on the 2022-23 Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) season. That return includes a new campaign for the league’s reigning MVP and leading scorer, Kennedy Marchment, who is back for Year 2 in the PHF.
As a rookie last season, Marchment scored 13 goals and 33 points in 20 games to lead the Connecticut Whale and the league. Despite her success, it was a change that involved nerves after spending the previous three seasons playing in Sweden.
“I was a little nervous coming in after playing overseas and not playing in the league before,” Marchment said of joining Connecticut. “I was excited to get going and be back in the North American game on smaller ice, playing a little faster pace. I felt really comfortable in Connecticut, and I think that contributed to the success I had and the Whale had.”
After starring for St. Lawrence University in the NCAA for four seasons, a span where she scored 154 points in 142 games and earned recognition as a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award as the NCAA’s top player, Marchment spent three seasons in the SDHL. In Sweden, she played for Linköping HC and HV71, an experience she said she valued for the opportunity to travel and play the game she loved overseas.
Returning to North America, Marchment immediately found personal success with the Whale, which she hopes to replicate when the season opens this weekend.
“My approach is going to be the same as last year, not putting too much pressure on myself,” Marchment said. “I think if you look too much into the outside noise it can definitely hinder your performance. That’s also something we talk about in our locker room as a whole since the Whale are definitely a team to beat. I have so much faith in this team that we’ll be successful – it just lessens that pressure on me as well.”
Coupled with her personal success, Marchment’s Connecticut Whale came within one win of an Isobel Cup title as PHF champions, falling to the Boston Pride. It was Connecticut’s first final appearance in their seven-year existence, and the team took an early lead before Boston scored a pair of goals only 18 seconds apart in the third period to come back and secure their second consecutive title with a 4-2 win.
“There is a lot of fire in the Whale organization,” said Marchment, thinking back to the loss. “That was a really tough game. I think in a series, I’d pick the Whale any day, but it’s kind of hard when it’s a just a one game thing. I think that makes the feeling worse.”
With the PHF regular season only hours away, Kennedy Marchment and the Connecticut Whale will have an immediate opportunity to send a message to the Boston Pride, and the rest of the league, as they open their season in a rematch of the Isobel Cup final against Boston.
“I think having our first game against Boston will be a really good test for us, to keep our emotions in check, not get too high, not get too low. But it really lit a fire for everyone on Connecticut, and we’re ready to show it.”
The PHF is North America’s only professional women’s hockey league, entering its eighth season of competition. There will be six games over the weekend, including the rematch between Boston and Connecticut, as well as the debut of the PHF’s seventh franchise, the expansion Montreal Force.
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