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'It’s truly amazing for women’s hockey': Kitchener hockey player chosen in inaugural PWHL draft

A Kitchener hockey player has been chosen by Boston in the inaugural draft for the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL).

Loren Gabel was selected in the fourth round and 22nd overall.

Gabel said it’s a moment she will never forget.

“To be honest I was getting a little bit nervous, but when I heard my name, it was truly an amazing feeling,” Gabel told CTV News. "I honestly didn't think that we would get to this spot this soon but I’m happy that we're here and it's truly amazing for women's hockey and women's sports in general."

Gabel will play in Boston – one of the six PWHL teams.

She’s familiar with the city as she was playing last season with the Boston Pride in the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF), formerly known as the National Women's Hockey League.

The forward racked up 40 points in 22 regular season games.

“I'm excited to be back there with new teammates, a new coaching staff and I think in a different location as well in Boston," she said.

Gabel has worked most of her life for this success. Her mom still remembers what it was like when she was a little girl.

"She was four years old getting on the ice, using the red thing to push along. She tried it a couple of times and said 'I don't want the red thing anymore' and away she went," said Lori Gabel, Loren’s mom.

Gabel’s trainer said she always finds time to put in effort both on and off the ice.

“Her key to success, in my opinion, she shows up every day and does the work. And it's not about crazy workouts or any unique special training she does – it's just that she shows up,” Gabel’s coach, Adam De Jong said.

Gabel’s father said her strong work ethic started when she was young.

“The most part that she did a lot of when she was younger was shoot a lot of pucks and it shows in her shot,” said her dad Larry Gabel.

Gabel admitted it isn’t always easy.

“You have bad days, you have good days, you have good shots, bad shots, but it's what you do with those bad shots and those opportunities to grow," Gabel said.

Her supporters said they have no doubt that she’s ready to take the next step and she hopes to inspire the next generation.

“It's crazy to think that all those little girls look up to me now, because I was once in their position,” Gabel said. “Having role models like us now and obviously a well-established league now, I think they have something to look forward to in the future."

The 24-game season is scheduled to begin in January 2024.

Here are some of the other local draft picks from the PWHL’s inaugural draft:

  • Emma Woods – Burford
  • Alexa Vasko – St. Catherines
  • Victoria Bach – Milton
  • Zoe Boyd – Caledon East
  • Kristin Della Rovere – Caledon East Top Stories

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