Ottawa general manager Michael Hirshfeld welcomed Carla MacLeod to the nation's capital as the franchise's first head coach. The two-time Olympic gold medalist joins Courtney Kessel (Boston), Charlie Burggraf (Minnesota), Kori Cheverie (Montreal), Howie Draper (New York), and Troy Ryan (Toronto) behind the bench.
MacLeod comes to PWHL Ottawa on the heels of coaching Czechia to historic back-to-back bronze medals at the 2022 and 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championships – the country’s first medals as part of the tournament’s top division. The success earned her a three-year extension with the national team that will take her through the 2026 Olympics. The Calgary, AB native spent the last two seasons as head coach of the University of Calgary Dinos women’s hockey team, and prior to that, was an assistant coach with Team Japan from 2012-14 and led the U18 Female Prep Team at Edge Hockey beginning in 2014. MacLeod is a two-time Olympic gold medalist (2006, 2010) with Canada and won four IIHF Women’s World Championship medals (1 Gold, 3 Silver), earning MVP in 2009. She competed at the club level with the Calgary Oval X-Treme, both as an independent team and as part of the WWHL, winning the league championship in 2007 and 2008. In 2020, she was inducted into the University of Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame, recognizing her standout NCAA career with the Badgers.
Many women's hockey pundits lauded the hiring for Ottawa, noting her ability to build a positive team culture, her communication skills with players, and her current coaching resume being second-to-none in the world. If you want to get a sense of these skills in action, you can read articles on her work with Czechia from the Women's World Championships, listen to her podcast episode on The Coaches Site, or watch a portion of her opening address at TCS2023.
On the ice, it'll be interesting to see if MacLeod's international experience with Japan and Czechia opens Ottawa up to attracting more players from outside North America from the get go – a potential efficiency for the franchise to capitalize on.
PWHL Draft Updates
Coach MacLeod will join GM Hirsfeld on Monday, September 18th for the inaugural PWHL Draft held at CBC HQ in Toronto. You'll be able to watch the full draft live for free, starting at 1:00pm ET on CBC Gem streaming service, cbcsports.ca, the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices, radio-canada.ca/sports, and the Radio-Canada info app. International audiences can stream on CBC Sports’ and Radio-Canada’s YouTube pages.
If you're curious to read more about the players that are available to be selected, Melissa Burgess from the Victory Press and Carlie Markey from The Ice Garden have released pre-draft rankings for you to peruse.