Melissa Burgess

NWHL Notebook: A Whale of a Time

(Photo: TēMo Photo)

It's been a busy week in the NWHL, with seven player signings -- including six for the Connecticut Whale alone! The Metropolitan Riveters also added one player to their roster, while the Minnesota Whitecaps' coaching staff is now officially in place for the 2018-19 season.

First, the Riveters signed forward Audra Richards, a Minnesota native who played alongside former NWHLer Harrison Browne at the University of Maine. Richards said her decision to sign was inspired by the introduction of the Whitecaps to the league.

"Seeing the NWHL come to my home state of Minnesota made me realize I wasn't ready for my hockey career to come to an end, so I'm incredibly excited and honored to join the Riveters," she said.

Richards had 70 points (45A, 25G) in 132 games at Maine between 2012 and 2016.

Before we get to the plethora of Whale signings, the Whitecaps also made official their coaching staff for the upcoming season.

Ronda Curtin Engelhardt and Jack Brodt will be the team's co-head coaches; they'll be assisted by Laura Slominski. All three have had some sort of prior involvement with the Whitecaps organization.

Engelhardt played for the Whitecaps from 2004-2006. She has most recently been the head coach at Breck School in Golden Valley, Minnesota.

"I'm excited for the opportunity to coach the Whitecaps and help lead a talented group. It will be important to build chemistry while maximizing each player's skill set to best impact our team success," Engelhardt said.

Brodt is the co-founder of the Whitecaps organization. He has consistently been in the head coaching position, either solo or as part of a duo, since the team's first season.

Slominski played for the Whitecaps in their inaugural years as well. She coached at Edina High School (where Buffalo Beauts forward Corinne Buie played) until 2016.

The Connecticut Whale signed six players this week -- including five NWHL rookies. With this, they now have eight players signed for the upcoming season.

Players added this week include:

Randi Griffin: Forward; Olympian for the Unified Korean Olympic Team; former Harvard forward (2006-10); also played for South Korea at World Championships in 2017 and 2018

Sarah Hughson: Forward; former Elmira College player and AHCA First Team All-American

Hanna Beattie: Defender; played 12 games with the Whale last season

Michelle Löwenhielm: Forward; Swedish Olympian (2014); former University of Minnesota-Duluth player (42 points, 144 games, 2014-18)

Sam Walther: Goaltender; former Hamilton College netminder who set program records for GAA (1.08), save percentage (.960) and shutouts (10); AHCA All-American and NESCAC Player of the Year

Katerina Mrázová: Forward; Czech Republic national team member; former CWHLer and first European to win the Clarkson Cup; former University of Minnesota-Duluth player (75 points, 117 games)


As of July 12, here is each team's respective roster:

Boston Pride

Forwards: Emily Field
Defense: Alyssa Gagliardi, Toni Ann Miano
Goalie: Katie Burt

Buffalo Beauts

Forwards: Kelly Babstock, Corinne Buie, Dani Cameranesi, Maddie Elia, Julianna Iafallo, Jordan Juron, Hayley Scamurra, Annika Zalewski
Defense: Lisa Chesson, Jacquie Greco, Savannah Harmon
Goalie: Shannon Szabados, Nicole Hensley, Julia DiTondo

Connecticut Whale

Forwards: Emily Fluke, Katerina Mrázová, Michelle Löwenhielm, Randi Griffin, Sarah Hughson
Defense: Rachael Ade, Hanna Beattie
Goalie: Sam Walther

Metropolitan Riveters

Forwards: Amanda Kessel, Kelly Nash, Audra Richards
Defense: Rebecca Morse
Goalie: Katie Fitzgerald, Sarah Bryant, Kim Sass

Minnesota Whitecaps

Forwards: Hannah Brandt
Defense: Lee Stecklein
Goalie: Amanda Leveille

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