Looking to defend its Clarkson Cup title, the Boston Blades have made a great move by selecting Blake Bolden with their first-round pick. The first-ever African American selected in the first round of the CWHL Draft, Bolden has the potential to become a defensive stalwart for the elite club. She was joined by three other BC Eagles players that became Boston Blades draft picks in 2013; Maggie Taverna and Dru Burns. Other Eagles alumnae on the Blades from their 2012-13 championship season included Molly Schaus and Kelli Stack.
Her tenure with the BC Eagles was one that saw Bolden enter on tremendous momentum. In 2008 and 2009, she helped the US National Team capture gold in the IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championships. Of note, current Blades player Kelley Steadman was her teammate on the US team.
As a freshman with the Eagles, she would lead all Hockey East rookie defenders in scoring. The following season, she would follow it up by leading the Eagles in power play goals.
The 2011-12 season, her junior campaign, would be her coming out party. Named a Hockey East First Team All-Star, along with a New England All-Star nod, she logged a 21-point effort. Ranking in the top ten in practically every statistical category with BC, her contributions helped the program rebound from the graduation of superstar Kelli Stack in 2011.
In her senior season with BC, she appeared in every game, proudly donning the C on her sweater. A sparkling 29 point season made her a nominee for the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Award was highlighted by a Halloween night performance against rival Boston University where she logged a career-best four assists. Having graduated second all-time among BC defenders in points, her final year ended with several accolades – a New England Women’s All-Star team nod and a Second-Team All-America honor.
With the retirement of team captain Caitlin Cahow, Bolden is a remarkable replacement on the blue line. As the Blades rebuild following the retirements of Cahow, Molly Engstrom, Jaclyn Hawkins and Karen Thatcher, Bolden shall emerge as one of the building blocks towards their ambitious championship goals for 2014.
One of the key advantages in the selection of Bolden is the fact that she has competed for the United States National Team. As the black and gold face the loss of nine players (including scoring sensations Hilary Knight and Kelli Stack) to the United States centralization camp, in anticipation of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, Bolden brings the experience of competing at the international level to the squad.
From playing for Winter Games gold medalist Katie King Crowley at BC, to joining the Blades, led by Digit Murphy, the first NCAA women’s coach to win 200 and 300 games, she is surrounded by strong women with remarkable acumen for the game. With an offensive flair and a skill quarterbacking the power play, Bolden may emerge as the premier defensive player selected in the draft. With every draft pick in 2013 being crucial for a Boston squad facing a huge loss of talent, Bolden may be what is needed to remain on top of the league standings.