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Three former London Devilettes chosen in inaugural PWHL draft

From the hamlet of Foldens, Ont. to the bright lights of New York City.

Ella Shelton is headed to the Big Apple after being chosen in the first round of the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) draft Monday.

“Just to be selected in the fourth pick in the first round was I think just blacked out at that point,” said Shelton, 25, an Olympic gold medal defender for Team Canada. “I don't even remember much, I just remember hugging my mom and my dad and my brother.”

After the honour of shaking hands with Billie Jean King on stage, Shelton is about to join New York in the inaugural season of the six-team PWHL.

The league has sponsorship backing, investors, and a goal of being sustainable for years.

Salaries haven't been disclosed, but players are expected to make between USD$35,000 to $80,000, but there are other incentives built into the contracts.

“This will be best league in the world in terms of the talent on the ice,” said Jayna Hefford, PWHL senior VP of hockey operations. “We have an ownership group that includes some of the most prominent sport owners in the world.”

Hefford added, “We have a CBA (collective bargaining agreement) in place in advance of launching this league which is incredibly unique. The CBA provides a lot of certainty to players around working conditions and player safety and meals and housing, so this is unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the women’s game, so the best players in the world want to be part of this league.”

Over the years, the best women’s players in the world have been living paycheck to paycheck. They know making millions is not realistic, but they want to make enough money to not need a second job to make ends meet, or pay for training and living expenses while trying to win Olympic medals.

“Now to able to be a part of this league that grows and will be there for generations I hope that I’m doing it justice,” said Shelton. “To all the little girls out there, they know now that they can grow up and this is their profession. They can be a professional hockey player, and that they don't have to worry about anything else but do what they love.”

Two women from St. Thomas, Ont. also heard their name called on draft day.

Brittany Howard, 27, who finished fifth in league scoring in the PHF last season for the Toronto Six, will remain in the big smoke after being chosen in the eighth round.

Lexie Adzija, 23, will make her professional debut after being drafted by Ottawa in the eleventh round. Adzija is coming off a five-year career at NCAA Quinnipiac University.

Shelton, Howard and Adzija are all former London Devilettes junior players.

Play will begin in January and Shelton can't wait to get started on her newest adventure.

“The only New York I've ever been to as Potsdam, New York for Clarkson University, so this will be a big change,” said Shelton. Top Stories

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