Sault Ste. Marie native Abby Roque was among the early signings for the New York franchise of the newly-formed PWHL, a women’s professional hockey league that will begin play this winter.

Roque was one of three players signed by New York prior to the league’s draft which was held this past Monday, Sept. 18. Each team was permitted three free agent signings prior to the draft.

She then went on to star at the University of Wisconsin, where she was part of a National Championship team in 2019. She was also a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award in 2020.

She was a part of the United States Olympic team in 2022 that earned a silver medal.

The new league will begin play in January of 2024, with the team names and full schedule to be announced soon. The league will start with six teams playing a 24-game regular season. The six franchises will be located in New York, Boston, Minnesota, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

New York was the final PWHL team to announce their inaugural signings, as the team inked Team USA members Abby Roque and Alex Carpenter, along with Team Canada member Micah Zandee-Hart.

“When you’re building a championship-caliber team, you look for your cornerstone players,” said Pascal Daoust, General Manager of PWHL New York. “Signing Abby Roque, Micah Zandee-Hart, and Alex Carpenter isn’t just about roster building, it’s about setting the tone in the locker room and on the ice. They represent the heart of our foundation, the compete every player and coach respects, and the spirit our fans will rally behind. With them lacing up for us, every play and every moment will be a step closer to the culture of excellence we’re crafting.”

Roque, 25, has blossomed as one of Team USA’s most impactful forwards combining a powerful, in your face approach, and scoring skills in tight. Roque only joined USA’s national team in 2021 following her graduation from Wisconsin, scoring nine points in seven games this year to help USA win gold, her first with the nation. In the PWHPA, Roque finished her season with Team Sonnet with 16 points in 20 games.

“I’m so thrilled to be one of the first women signed in the PWHL,” said Roque. “New York is an amazing city and such a great place to start a women’s ice hockey franchise. I couldn’t be more excited about the future of this league and this team. As the great Taylor Swift once said, welcome to New York!”

“We are thrilled to announce Abby Roque as an inaugural player for our New York franchise in the PWHL,” said Daoust. “As a center, Abby embodies exceptional skills and leadership. Her unparalleled work ethic, both on and off ice, represents the values and vision we have for our team as we strive for excellence. We’re confident that our fans will soon embrace Abby with the same enthusiasm and pride that we feel.”