Chloe Primerano, 15, has made history as the first female skater ever drafted to the Canadian Hockey League.
The defender, who hails from North Vancouver, was drafted 268th overall in the 13th round of the 2022 Western Hockey League (WHL) prospects draft.
The WHL, along with the Ontario and Quebec Junior Leagues, make up the Canadian Hockey League — the highest level of junior hockey in the country.
While there have been appearances by female goaltenders in the Canadian league, Primerano is the only female skater to be drafted to a team.
“I was just shocked,” said Primerano, speaking Friday on The Early Edition.
The British Columbian teen played last season with the Burnaby Winter Club’s under-15 program, notching two goals and 17 assists. She has been on skates, she said, since she was three years old.
Now she says she is thrilled to be an inspiration to little girls in rinks all over Canada.
“It takes a lot of sacrifices to get up early, stay up late, just put in the extra work, but it’s going to be all worth it,” Primerano said.
Humble and hardworking
Vancouver Giants general manager Barclay Parneta said the team is happy to add the strong player to its roster.
“Chloe’s play this season in the top U15 league in Canada made her fully deserving of this selection today,” Parneta said in a written statement.
Richard Matvichuk, hockey director of the Burnaby Winter Club, said Primerano joined the club’s hockey academy two years ago after she had been training at the North Shore Winter Club in her hometown.
Joining Primerano on The Early Edition, Matvichuk described her as humble and hardworking, saying such a historic draft choice could not have happened to a more deserving kid.
“She comes with amazing leadership qualities. Her work ethic and her determination to get better every day not just made her better, but her teammates better,” he said.
The Burnaby Winter Club has helped launched the careers of dozens of of National Hockey League players, including winger Paul Kariya and goalie Curtis Joseph.
Matvichuk called the place a “little hockey factory,” where young players focus on fundamentals with the goal of playing in the big leagues.
It’s the big leagues now for Primerano and, despite the fervour surrounding her as the first female skater, she comes off calm and focused on the road ahead, which she hopes leads to a spot on the Canadian Olympic team.
According to a press release from the Vancouver Giants, the first female player to appear in a regular season WHL game was goaltender Shannon Szabados, who played for the Tri-City Americans in 2002.
Three female players have appeared in games in the Quebec Major Junior League since the 1990s, all of them goaltenders, including Eve Gascon, Charline Labonte and Manon Rheaume.
In 2021, goaltender Taya Currie was the first female player drafted to the Ontario Hockey League, when the Sarnia Sting picked her up in the 14th round.
The Early Edition6:36First female skater to be drafted into the Canadian Hockey League