Seven finalists for Female Player of the Year
by Andrew PODNIEKS|12 JUN 2024
photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation
The IIHF’s Historical Committee has selected the final candidates for the 2024 Female Player of the Year. The award, now in its second year, recognizes the players (Male and Female) who best exemplify skill, determination, team success, and sporting character on and off the ice during the preceding season.
The 2024 Women’s finalists are Sandra Abstreiter (G, GER), Alex Carpenter (F, USA), Kendall Coyne Schofield (F, USA), Jenni Hiirikoski (D, FIN), Alina Muller (F, SUI), Marie-Philip Poulin (F, CAN), and Natalie Spooner (F, CAN).
The criteria are simple. Players must have competed in at least one IIHF tournament at any level during the year (World Women’s Championship, Women’s U18 World Championship) as well as in a domestic league of the highest calibre for that country. The combined performances of the two will determine the winners. The inaugural winner last year was Hilary Knight (F, USA).
The awards will be voted on by members of the media and appropriate members of the IIHF family. Media will account for 70% of the vote while IIHF Family voting will constitute the other 30%.
Abstreiter had a sensational Women’s Worlds tournament in Utica, New York in April and was named IIHF Directorate Best Goalie. She posted a 1.19 GAA and .950 save % in five games and led Germany to an all-time best four wins at the WW. As well, she was the only German goalie in the PWHL during its inaugural 2023-24 season (with Ottawa, three games played).
Carpenter was named Directorate Best Forward at the Women’s Worlds and was also named to the All-Star Team. She co-led tournament in scoring with 10 points and helped the United States capture a Silver Medal. In the PWHL, with New York, Carpenter tied for the overall lead in assists and finished fourth in scoring. She was also named one of three PWHL MVP finalists (the winner has not yet been announced).
Coyne Schofield had a superb season after returning from a year off to start a family. She was second in scoring at the Women’s Worlds (nine points) and won a Silver Medal with the U.S. Equally impressive, she captained PWHL Minnesota to the Walter Cup championship in the league’s first season and finished 13th in scoring in the PWHL regular season.
The legendary Hiirikoski co-led Finland in points and captained her team to a Bronze Medal at the Women’s Worlds at age 37. This was her record 16th WW tournament, and she also holds the games-played record as well. Hiirikoski also captained Lulea to the SDHL championship (Sweden).
Muller scored the winning goal to keep Switzerland in Group A at the Women’s Worlds. Her overtime winner was highlight-reel material, but it wasn’t her only OT goal of the season. She also scored the only goal of the game in double overtime for PWHL Boston in Game 4 of Walter Cup finals to extend the series. Muller was the only Swiss skater in the PWHL in 2023-24.
“Captain Clutch,” Poulin had another sensational season. She wore the “C” for Canada again at the Women’s Worlds, capturing a Gold Medal. In the thrilling final game, Poulin scored two critical goals to help send the game to overtime. Poulin also captained her PWHL Montreal team and finished tied for second in league scoring. She is also a finalist for PWHL MVP honours (the winner has not yet been announced).
Spooner helped Canada win the Gold Medal at the Women’s Worlds, but perhaps more sensational was her play in the PWHL with Toronto. She led the league in goals (20) and points (27), and was named a finalist for league MVP (the winner has not yet been announced). She also led the PWHL with five game-winning goals during the regular season.
The 2024 IIHF Female Player of the Year winner will be announced on Tuesday, 18 June, at 12 noon ET/18.00 CET.