Whitecaps select five in 2021 NWHL Draft

by Hannah Bevis

The Minnesota Whitecaps drafted a lot of home state talent during the 2021 NWHL Draft on Tuesday night.

The Whitecaps used their first round pick to select defender Mak Langei from Bemidji State University. The East Grand Forks, Minnesota native scored 47 points in her NCAA career, and finished her senior season leading the WCHA with 73 blocked shots, also good for second best in all of Division 1 hockey. Before her time at Bemidji State, she won gold with Team USA’s U18 team at the 2016 IIHF World Championships.

“I am extremely excited. Getting to play for my home state team is amazing, and the opportunities that that team has decided to offer me is something I’ll cherish forever,” said Langei. “Whatever they need me to do, I’m going to try and do that to the best of my ability.” 

"We watched her [Langei] closely in her college career and felt she was one of the better defenders in the WCHA,” said Minnesota general manager and co-head coach Jack Brodt. “We look for her to hopefully make an impact with our defense and create some additional offense for our team."

Minnesota used their second round pick to grab another player from Bemidji State University, defender Tina Kampa. The Maple Grove, Minnesota native finished her NCAA career with 33 points in 127 total games. She ranks ninth on BSU’s career points list by a defender, and ninth in career assists by a defender. 

In the third round, the Whitecaps drafted Taylor Wente, forward from the University of Minnesota. Wente finished her NCAA career with 73 points in 127 games, and is a two-time gold medalist with the Team USA’s U18 national team. 

The fourth round saw the Whitecaps draft Jenna Brenneman, a goaltender from Penn State University. She spent her first two years at Clarkson University, where she was a member of two national championship-winning teams before moving on to Penn State. The Eagan, Minnesota native ranks third all-time among Penn State goalies with a 1.77 career goals-against average, fourth in history with .925 save percentage, and third in history with 13 career wins. 

The Whitecaps used their final pick in the draft to select forward Kendall Williamson in the fifth round of the draft. The Edina, Minnesota native played her college hockey at Colgate University, where she finished with five points in 107 total NCAA games. She was also named Colgate’s Most Improved Player during the 2018-19 season. She can add speed to an already quick Whitecaps team and has a work ethic and tenacity that should fit in easily with Minnesota.