Minnesota has selected forward Taylor Heise with the first overall pick of the inaugural Professional Women’s Hockey League draft.
Tennis legend Billie Jean King, an investor in the league, made the announcement.
Toronto selected veteran Canadian defender Jocelyne Larocque of Ste-Anne, Man., with the second pick.
Heise of Lake City, Minn., is coming off her fifth and final year at the University of Minnesota, where she was a first-team all-American after leading the NCAA in goals (30).
She was second in points (67) and tied for third in assists (37) in 39 games for the Gophers.
The 23-year-old closed a decorated career that included winning the Patty Kazmaier award in 2022 as the top player in NCAA Division I women’s hockey.
The five-foot-nine, 160-pound Heise has also starred for the U.S. national team.
In her senior team debut, Heise was named best forward and tournament MVP at the 2022 world championships, leading all players in goals (seven), points (18) and tied for first in assists (11).
She followed that up at this year’s worlds, finishing first in assists (11) and fourth in points (12), while helping the Americans claim gold in April in Brampton, Ont.
The club already has U.S. national team star forward Kendall Coyne Schofield, forward Kelly Pannek and blue liner Lee Stecklein, who were all signed during the free-agency period.
Toronto signed Canadian forwards Sarah Nurse and Blayre Turnbull and defender Renata Fast in free agency.