Chatham-Kent Women’s Hockey Top Prospects: Update 2018

Payton Sabourin hockey

Payton Sabourin is one of our two current top prospects – Photo by Peggy Johnson/

With another hockey season almost done, we’re taking a quick look at the areas top women’s hockey prospects.

Last Fall, we lost top prospect Jessie McPherson, who graduated from our list by making an NCAA Division I commitment to play for Vermont.

Here’s a look at some of the top prospects in the area.

This list is put together through the consultation of local coaches, and direct observation of players.

The Top Two

If there are two local products in Chatham-Kent that a University hockey program should be putting on speed dial, they are Brooke Michaud and Payton Sabourin.

Payton Sabourin, the older of the two is a a physically imposing player. Her offense has started to translate from the high school level with CKSS to ‘AA’, and she could easily be a contributing player on any PWHL team in Ontario. A unique athlete, who could play at the University level in four sports (hockey, soccer, track, cross country), whether hockey is her end choice will be up to her, as she’s unlikely to specialize with her cross-sport success. She still has more upside, and will continue to become more dominant. Brooke Michaud is the only 2003 on this list. Playing Bantam ‘AA’ in London, Michaud spends a lot of time on the ice working on her skills at Pain Court, as part of their high school program, and was already dominant last season against older competition. Small and skilled like her older brother, who plays for the Chatham Maroons, Michaud has all the tools to advance quickly through ‘AA’ to the PWHL, and into the hands of an NCAA program.

University Ready

The following are a group of undecided grade 12 athletes, who could make the step next year.

Audra Vanroboys, who captains Ridley College’s women’s team, will play University hockey next year, likely heading across the border to an ACHA program. She could play University hockey in many locations, but her studies remain a top priority.

Corinna Vandenboorn is physically stronger than most at the Midget ‘AA’ level, captaining the Midget Chatham Outlaws, and can definitely play University hockey. She has an offensive upside that most blueliners don’t posses. Sometimes she is too patient with the puck, and should opt for a simple play, which will need to change at the next level.

Mikayla Demaiter is ready for University. A focused student and athlete, she has played Midget ‘AA’ hockey for three seasons in three different communities. She’s experience, and a quick reflexed goalie who is square to the initial shot. As with most netminders, needs to keep herself looking large in her butterfly. She has been on of the top goalies in Southwestern Ontario for years now, and will be a solid addition to an OUA roster next year, should she choose to play. Plays for CKSS this season at the high school level.

Other grade 12s including Lauren Edwards, Megan Hakr, and Hailey Johnson, who play at the Midget ‘AA’ level, and Keira Jackson who plays for the PWHL’s Southwest Wildcats, could each have opportunities in the right situation as well.

Grade 11s

Defenders Kirsten Horney, Alison Stephens, and Hunter Gagner all have what it takes to play at the University level. Kirsten Horney and the Southwest Wildcats got off to a stronger start than usual in the PWHL. As her team fell back into the lower echelon of the league, Horney continued her personal development and has seen more ice this year. She sees the ice well and continues to build on a solid set of offensive skills. As her decision making continues to speed up, and the game around her slows down, she’ll begin to dictate the pace of games. She will play University hockey. Hunter Gagner is a physically strong defender, who takes care of her own end first, and plays physical in the corner. Has started to hit the scoresheet, as her shot continues to gain strength. Still has some polishing to do on the finer components of her game, but is a big game player, and owns her own zone. Plays for the ‘AA’ Midget Outlaws and CKSS. Alison Stephens plays for the Chatham Midget ‘AA’ team. The most athletic of the defenders on this list, Stephens can generate offense from any spot on the ice, and her physical size allows her to win battles, and control space. She’d benefit from simplifying her decision making with the puck, but without risk, there often isn’t reward. An assistant captain on the CKSS girls team, Stephens is a natural leader, who oozes character…something every coach looks for. An OFSAA track and field gold medalist, her athleticism doesn’t stop on the ice.

Rachel Benn, the lone forward in this age group (aside from Sabourin) has shown improvement on the finer aspects of the game this year, and her offensive impact is beginning to come. One of the hardest workers on the ice, Benn creates opportunities for her teammates, and is an incredibly strong, all around athlete.

Grade 10s

Sophie Maine, Camille Blain, Natalie Sands, and Cassie Whiteye headline this group. All promising 2002’s at the Midget ‘AA’ level. Camille Blain and Sophie Maine play together with CKSS as well. Both are all around athletes, and both will be cornerstones of the ‘AA’ roster for multiple years. Both players have excellent size, with Blain pushing six-feet. Maine a blueliner plays a physical, shut down style. As she develops her puck skills, she’ll become an offensive threat from the blueline. Blain handles the puck well and makes good decisions in her own zone. Once she decides to drive to the net with the puck, and use her size and presence to overtake opponents, she will dominate. Natalie Sands, another member of Chatham’s ‘AA’ roster, and a key component of a resurgent Wallaceburg high school team, can finish, and plays with an edge. When she can learn to control her temper on the ice, and keep that edge under control, she’ll be a dangerous player at any level. Cassie Whiteye, who plays in London, thinks the game well, and plays a lot like her older sister Katreena, who was always a top name on this list. Great playmaking skills, with a tenacious edge. She will follow her sister’s path to a University program.

There is a group of grade 10 girls continuing to push to earn a coveted spot. That group includes Jocelyn Maryschak, Reese Parks, and Emma Doom, who are all members of the Midget ‘A’ team in Chatham.

The Next Wave – The current Bantam ‘A’ team in Chatham looks destined to move to the Bantam ‘AA’ level next year. This strong team appears to have 4-5 players who will immediately jump onto this list next season, replacing the graduating group. Wallaceburg’s Bantam BB team has a player or two who could find their way onto this list quickly if they choose to change teams to play with and against stronger competition.

List Alumni – Meredith Goldhawk (Windsor Lancers, OUA), Zoe Ellis (Windsor Lancers, OUA), Rachael Tricker (Fanshawe Falcons, OCCCR), Sydney Authier (Ryerson Rams, OUA), Sydnee Baker (UPEI Panthers, AUS), Jillian Crane (Neumann Knights, NCAA D3), Halle Crane (Neumann Knights, NCAA D3), Lauren Nicholson (Ryerson Rams, OUA), Madison Lalonde (Ryerson Rams, OUA), Renae Nevills (Western Mustangs, OUA), Katreena Whiteye (Brock Badgers, OUA), Emma Gorski (Merrimack Warriors, NCAA D1), Kaitlyn Isaac (Cornell Big Red, NCAA D1), Jessie McPherson (Vermont Catamounts, NCAA D1).

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