NEW YORK AND TORONTO (May 21, 2024) — The Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) today announced that PWHL Montréal defender Erin Ambrose, PWHL Boston defender Megan Keller and PWHL New York defender Ella Shelton have been voted as the three finalists for the 2024 PWHL Defender of the Year award.

The PWHL Defender of the Year award is presented to the defender who showcases the most outstanding ability at the position throughout the regular season.

An 18-member selection committee cast their votes for six regular-season PWHL awards, including Defender of the Year, during the gap between the regular season’s end and the playoffs’ beginning. The three players who received the most voting points have been named finalists. Winners of all PWHL Awards, presented by Woody Creek Distillers, will be announced in June.

Details about each of the three finalists, listed in alphabetical order, can be found below:


Erin Ambrose of PWHL Montréal is voted a finalist for the PWHL Defender of the Year award after accumulating 18 points (4G, 14A) in 24 games, finishing the regular season as the second-highest scorer among all defenders. Her 14 assists tied her for the league lead among defenders and tied for third overall amongst all PWHL skaters. The native of Keswick, ON finished with the second-highest point total on Montréal, while accumulating the most helpers on the team. Ambrose’s impact extends to special teams, where she ranks second in powerplay points among defenders with seven (1G, 6A). A standout moment in her season was her historic four-assist performance against Minnesota on April 18, marking the first and only time a PWHL player recorded four points in a single game. A stalwart on Montréal’s blue line, Ambrose averaged 26:26 minutes per game and finished the regular season +5, the third highest mark on her team.


Megan Keller of PWHL Boston is a finalist for PWHL Defender of the Year after making significant contributions at both ends of the ice. On the offensive end, Keller ranked third among all PWHL defenders with 15 points (4G, 11A), finishing second on her team in the category, just one behind the leader Alina Müller. Her playmaking abilities are highlighted by her 11 assists—the third most among defenders across the league— and tied for the most on Boston. Keller’s four goals placed her tied for third among all PWHL defenders. Defensively, Keller boasted the highest plus-minus ranking at the position, finishing the regular season at +9. Her significant ice time, averaging 25:22 per game, underscores her importance and reliability for her team, as Keller suited up for all 24 regular season games. Born in Farmington, MI, Keller was one of PWHL Boston’s original free agent signees and serves as an alternate captain for the team.


Ella Shelton of PWHL New York has proven herself to be a standout defender in the PWHL, earning her place as a finalist for the Defender of the Year award. With an impressive 21 points (7G, 14A) accumulated over 24 games, she finished the regular season as the top scoring defender in the PWHL and was second in points on her team. Her offensive output ranked fifth in overall league scoring and her seven goals ranked first at the position – two more than the next highest mark. Shelton famously made history on January 1 when she scored the PWHL’s first-ever goal in the season opener. Her 14 assists tied her for first among defenders—just one helper shy of the league-high. The defender was a key contributor to a New York powerplay unit that led the league with 19 goals on the advantage. Shelton hit the scoresheet on more than half of New York’s powerplay markers, racking up 10 powerplay points (2G, 8A), placing her at the top of the PWHL leaderboard in the category alongside teammate Alex Carpenter. A native of Ingersoll, ON, Shelton averaged 26:45 of ice time per game and added 60 shots on goals, the third highest total among PWHL defenders.

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