Awards 2024 (Brantford Girls Hockey Association)

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 A women's hockey player smiles while celebrating a goal with teammates.

PWHL Toronto forward Natalie Spooner named league's inaugural MVP

June 11, 2024

A year ago, Natalie Spooner was a new mother and her professional women's hockey league was still a concept.

On Thursday, the high-scoring Toronto forward was named the most valuable player of the inaugural Professional Women's Hockey League season.

Spooner was presented with the Billie Jean King MVP Award, as well as the league's award for top forward, at a ceremony Tuesday afternoon.

"A year ago I wouldn't have believed we would have an actual league to play in," Spooner said.

"I think even coming into this season with how my summer was last year and recovering from having my son Rory and getting my body back to normal — I didn't skate for six months leading up to the season — I probably wouldn't have thought it would have gone this way."

Spooner led the league with 20 goals and 27 points as Toronto finished the season atop the standings. The 33-year-old's league-leading 20 goals were nine more than the next closest skater.

New York's Alex Carpenter and Montreal's Marie-Philip Poulin were the other finalists for the MVP award.

The 33-year-old Spooner credited her teammates and coaches for creating a culture in Toronto that made success possible, and pointed to Kristen Campbell winning goaltender of the year and Troy Ryan winning coach of the year as proof.

Campbell had a 16-6-0 record with three shutouts and a 1.99 goals-against average, while Ryan coached Toronto to a league-leading 47 points (13 regulation wins, four overtime wins and seven regulation losses).

"For Soupy [Campbell] to win goaltender of the year, Troy to win coach of the year, I think there were a lot of pieces there that allowed me to also have success," she said.

"I got to play with amazing players and our team made it fun to come to the rink every day."

The season, however, ended on a dark note for both Spooner and her team. Up 2-0 in its best-of-five semifinal against Minnesota, Spooner sustained a knee injury in Game 3 when she collided with Minnesota's Grace Zumwinkle. Minnesota went on to win the series in five games en route to defeating Boston in the Walter Cup final.

The 2024 Awards:

2024 Hockey For All Award: Maureen Murphy, PWHL Montréal

2024 Coach of the Year Award: Troy Ryan, PWHL Toronto

2024 Rookie of the Year Award: Grace Zumwinkle, PWHL Minnesota

2024 Goaltender of the Year AwardKristen Campbell, PWHL Toronto

2024 Defender of the Year AwardErin Ambrose, PWHL Montréal

 Billie Jean King MVP Award and Forward of the YearNatalie Spooner, PWHL Toronto