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This 2024 PWHL draftee has a Burnaby hockey connection

Jennifer Gardiner, who will turn pro this fall, played three seasons with the Greater Vancouver Comets of the BC Elite Hockey League (BCEHL).
Greater Vancouver Comets alumna Jennifer Gardiner (middle) was taken 11th overall by Montreal in the PWHL Draft on June 10, 2024.

For a second consecutive season, an athlete with ties to Burnaby will compete in the Professional Women's Hockey League (PWHL).

Jennifer Gardiner was selected by Montreal in the second round, 11th overall in the 2024 PWHL Draft last Monday, June 10.

The 22-year-old forward, originally from Surrey, completed her fifth and final season with Ohio State University. As captain, she led the Buckeyes to its second NCAA Div. I national championship in two years (2022, 2024).

But before she moved out east to one of hockey's greatest schools, Gardiner played three seasons for the Greater Vancouver Comets.

The BC Elite Hockey League (BCEHL) franchise's home rink is Scotia Barn in Burnaby.

The green, blue and white host home games at the local facility each year, along with appearances in other Metro Vancouver communities as part of efforts to help grow the game.

Gardiner was dominant on the ice for the Comets, compiling a grand total of 181 points in 92 career regular-season games between 2016 and 2019, including 90 goals and 91 assists.

The Comets, thanks to Gardiner's talent and captaincy, went undefeated 32-0 in her senior season, 2018-19.

She also earned her first call-up to play for Canada at the 2019 IIHF Under-18 Women's World Hockey Championships. Despite no contribution to the scoresheet, she suited up for four games en route to the gold medal.

At Ohio State, Gardiner averaged nearly a point per game; 171 in 176 career collegiate contests, including 100 assists.

Her skills turned heads in her junior year, 2022-23, claiming a finalist nod for the Patty Kazmaier Award as NCAA Div. I's top women's hockey player of the year.

She joins a Montreal team that's looking to step up its game for the 2024-25 season after finishing second in the standings with a record of 10-3-5-6, but lost to Boston in the playoff semi-final series.

If Gardiner puts pen to paper this summer, she could play alongside hockey legends like Marie Philip-Poulin, Erin Ambrose, Laura Stacey and Ann-Renee Desbiens.

Burnaby born-and-raised athlete Kaleigh Fratkin, though not drafted, signed a one-year contract with Boston prior to the PWHL's inaugural season. She finished with three points in 24 games.

The 32-year-old defender, and now free agent, has said she hopes to play in the league's second-ever season.