A four-year career with the Dartmouth Big Green in the highly competitive ECAC hockey conference has prepared Sasha Nanji for the demands of playing in the Canadian Women's Hockey League against world-class talent.
If selected in the 2013 CWHL draft, Nanji would be the first person of East Indian heritage selected. Of note, her brother, Adam, played six games with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League.
Manning the blue line for Dartmouth, Nanji has displayed great offensive flair with 90 points in 120 career games. One word defines her storied career with the Dartmouth Big Green: consistency. Every year, Nanji produced at least 19 points, while earning All-ECAC honors in three seasons, respectively.
As a rookie with the Big Green, she led the squad in plus/minus rating while finishing ninth in the ECAC in rookie scoring.
Her sophomore season saw her break out with a 30-point season. In addition, she would log her first career hat trick in impressive fashion. Nanji would log all three goals (including the overtime winner) in a 3-2 road win against Princeton on November 12, 2010.
Her junior season resulted in 24 points (ranking fourth on the squad) while appearing in all 30 games. She would also log a career-high four points in a January 28, 2012, contest against the Yale Bulldogs.
She would duplicate the feat in an exhibition game versus the McGill Martlets on October 19, 2012. As her final season resulted in a 17-point effort, she would be named a Second-Team All-Ivy. The final points of her career would come in a memorable game with Dartmouth. As part of a senior-day victory on February 23, 2013, against the St. Lawrence Skating Saints, she registered a two-goal performance.
Having grown up north of Toronto in the suburb of Markham, Nanji would be a perfect fit for either of the franchises based in the Greater Toronto Area (Brampton Thunder and Toronto Furies). Both rosters feature veteran defenders that would serve as great mentors to Nanji. She could benefit greatly from the tutelage of Amanda Shaw and Shannon Moulson in Toronto or stalwarts such as Tara French and Lindsay Vine with Brampton.
Tessa Bonhomme, the star defender of the Toronto Furies, will be attending the Canadian centralization camp (in anticipation of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics), and Nanji could help ease the impact of that loss.
While Brampton has the second pick overall, it is highly likely that the pick will be an offensive player. This is attributed to the loss of four of their top forwards to Canada’s centralization camp. Should Nanji still be available in the second round, it would be to Brampton’s advantage to select her.
Courtney Birchard, Brampton’s most promising defender, will also be at the Canadian camp. Not only could Nanji fulfill Birchard's role, but she would make an ideal defense partner once Birchard returns to the roster.
Regardless which franchise selects her, Nanji provides great potential. Her dependable production in Dartmouth shows a reliable and steady game which should easily translate to the frozen perimeter of the CWHL.