Emily Fulton extends hockey career with Toronto Furies

Selected second overall by the Toronto Furies in the 2015 CWHL Draft, Emily Fulton brings the promise of strong offensive skill to a club that ranked near the bottom in league scoring last season. Having grown up south of Toronto, in Stratford, Ontario, the chance to don the Furies blue and white sweater represents a special homecoming for her.

Following her senior season with the Cornell Big Red, Fulton emerged as Cornell’s second leading scorer, accumulating an impressive 48 points, on the strength of 27 assists. Having earned All-Ivy and All-ECAC honors in her proud collegiate career, she brings the confidence and team-first approach that should enable her to duplicate such success at the CWHL level.

Fulton’s first brush with hockey greatness came in a historic gold medal effort with Team Canada at the 2010 IIHF U18 Women’s Worlds. Contributing to Canada’s first-ever gold in tournament history; she was joined on the team by fellow 2015 CWHL Draft Picks Jillian Saulnier, an eventual teammate at Cornell, along with Jenna McParland, who was claimed by Brampton.

Of note, such a legendary team also included players that would eventually be selected in the 2014 CWHL Draft. Said players included Brampton Thunder picks such as Jamie Lee Rattray and Erica Howe, along with Calgary Inferno selection Jessica Campbell, who would go on to become the first rookie to serve as a captain in CWHL All-Star Game play. In addition, all the roster players from that 2010 team were featured on hockey cards in Upper Deck’s World of Sport card set, representing a proud career milestone.

Perhaps even more impressive was the fact that the top four selections in the 2015 edition of the CWHL Draft consisted of alumnae from Hockey Canada’s Under-18 program. Fulton was joined by the likes of first overall pick Sarah Edney, Marie-Philip Poulin, who went third to Montreal, and Calgary’s pick, Brianne Jenner (who played with Poulin at the Sochi Winter Games), going fourth overall, all part of a very historical draft class.

Like Fulton, Jenner also carved a remarkable hockey legacy at Cornell, marking the first time in CWHL Draft history that two Cornell players were nabbed in the first round. As a side note, Saulnier went in the third round, resulting in the second straight season that the CWHL Draft Class featured three Cornell players among the Top 25 picks.

Last year, Calgary nabbed Hayleigh Cudmore with the eighth overall pick, while Jessica Campbell emerged as one of the steals of the draft, going to Calgary at 19th overall. Fellow Cornell alum Alyssa Gagliardi went 20th overall to Boston, culminating her rookie season with a Clarkson Cup championship.

Heading into this season, the biggest adjustment for Fulton may be competing against so many Cornell teammates that she experienced on-ice glories with. Whether it is Laura Fortino, Brampton’s first overall pick in 2014, Lauriane Rougeau with the Montreal Stars, or the large number that now call Calgary home, emotions will certainly be high in her inaugural games against each squad.

Should the Furies hope to emerge victorious in such games, an important element is the need to improve on their offensive output from last season. As the Furies will be looking for their second Clarkson Cup in franchise history, Fulton’s play-making abilities may prove to be crucial in such an effort. Last season, the Furies only managed 51 goals, ranking fourth in league play, while trailing third-ranked Montreal by 16 goals.

With several strong scoring talents on the Furies, it shall be imperative for Fulton to establish strong on-ice chemistry. Possessing the ability to help the squad improve on their past season scoring totals, she is not only a Rookie of the Year candidate, but she has the potential to provide the Furies with the opportunity to remain in the playoff picture.

Montreal Stars make long-term investment in selection of Cornell legend Lauriane Rougeau

After suffering a heartbreaking loss at the 2013 Clarkson Cup finals, the Montreal Stars goal of becoming the first franchise to win three titles in a row was foiled by the ambitious Boston Blades. While looking to avenge that loss in the upcoming season with the acquisitions of stars such as Camille Dumais, Fannie Desforges and Casandra Dupuis, the Stars have also made a remarkable investment in their future.

Lauriane Rougeau, a star defender with the Cornell Big Red was selected fourth overall by the bleu, blanc et rouge. Before departing for Cornell and starring for Montreal’s famed Dawson College program (where she led the Blues to a league title in 2009), she was a teenaged phenom who had the opportunity to compete for the preceding Montreal Axion, part of the former National Women’s Hockey League.

Donning the commemorative Livestrong jerseys, Rougeau tries to score on Jessie Vetter (Wayne Cuddington / Ottawa Citizen)

Donning the commemorative Livestrong jerseys, Rougeau tries to score on Jessie Vetter (Wayne Cuddington / Ottawa Citizen)

Part of Team Canada’s centralization camp, Rougeau hopes to be named to the final roster that shall compete for gold at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. As part of the Canadian contingent that competed at the 2012 and 2013 IIHF Women’s Worlds (where Rougeau earned a gold and silver medal), she should be a mainstay on the Stars blueline for at least a decade.

Once Rougeau joins the Stars, it shall signify her second tour of duty with pro hockey in Montreal. This is an even more mature and more polished player. While at Cornell, Rougeau also had stints with the Canadian Under-22/Development and Senior national teams, respectively.

Rougeau (left) and Laura Fortino, the most decorate pair of collegiate defenders in NCAA history (Image by Simon Wheeler)

Rougeau (left) and Laura Fortino, the most decorate pair of collegiate defenders in NCAA history (Image by Simon Wheeler)

In 133 career games at Cornell, Rougeau accumulated 116 points and a program-best career plus/minus rating of +150. Every year with the Big Red, she was a First-Team All-ECAC selection, a nominee for the Patty Kazmaier Award and a Second-Team All-American. She would also gain three consecutive ECAC Best Defensive Defender awards.

Playing with Laura Fortino at Cornell, the dynamic duo comprised the most distinguished pair of defenders in NCAA history. Overall, Rougeau would earn 22 major awards and honors while Fortino grabbed 20. Fortino has also joined Rougeau at Canada’s centralization.

Although Montreal has enough star power in players such as Ann-Sophie Bettez, Emmanuelle Blais, Cathy Chartrand and Vinny Davidson to weather the storm of losing nine players to Centralization Camps, Rougeau was such a talented prospect that she was worth waiting an extra season for.

Her eventual presence shall help to bolster a blueline that already features the likes of the aforementioned Chartrand, team founder Lisa-Marie
Breton-Lebreux, Alyssa Cecere, Carly Dupont-Hill and current national teammate Catherine Ward. Although the game has changed quite a bit since her tenure in the NWHL, the veteran presence of the Stars defense will allow her the needed time to adjust and elevate an already remarkable game.