The Buffalo Beauts seem to have had more than their fair share of goodbyes this 2018-19 NWHL season. Less than a week after parting ways with All-Star defender Sarah Edney – who is going to Australia for dental school – the team had to say a “so long” to fan-favorite defender Sarah Casorso. In the midst of the Beauts 5-1 victory over the Metropolitan Riveters on Jan. 12, 2019, she not only went out on top but with a bang as well.
Casorso will now be focusing on her career as the head brewer at Bench Brewing Company in Beamsville, Ontario, Canada. She has worked with a company for a bit over a year now and was quickly promoted through her hard work.
How do you bid farewell to a player who has had multiple heartfelt moments with her team? Far from easy that’s for sure. Casorso – a third-year Buffalo Beaut – is saying goodbye to the game in order to delve further into leading the team she has at Bench Brewing. Although a difficult change at first to leave pro hockey behind, Casorso has come to terms with it and seems to be having an easier go with the transition than what fans are at the moment. Of course, she has had some time to think it through and process it.
“Right now, I think I’ve already coped with the harsh parts,” Casorso told the media after the game. “Leaving a big part of your life behind is extremely hard. It was very, very emotional for me to get through these last couple weeks as I’ve been thinking about it more seriously. Right now, I think I’m just feeling relief and excitement for the next steps in my life, and really, really looking forward to putting my all into a new passion.”
Casorso Went out Fighting
With well-liked players such as Casorso, one always hopes that when the time comes for them to bid adieu that there is something that makes their departure special or unique. She indeed received one final moment in the sun. No matter how you splice it, Casorso went out fighting.
The Beauts had stated on Twitter a few hours beforehand that the showdown against Metro would be Casorso’s final game. There was also a public address announcement made shortly before puck-drop to notify the fans in attendance as well. The game was the 42nd regular season contest of Casorso’s NWHL career – all played with the Beauts across three seasons. Within those 42 games she accumulated 18 assists.
Numbers aside, no one could have foreseen or scripted how her final moments as a Beaut were to have been played.
Sarah Casorso leaves the ice for the final time as a Buffalo Beaut. 👏 pic.twitter.com/oiEU2MWAtU
— Buffalo Beauts (@BuffaloBeauts) January 12, 2019
At the 6:25-mark of the second period, Casorso ended up in a scuffle behind the net with the Riveters Madison Packer. Casorso had played multiple rough and tumble games against the Riveters in the past – especially during the 2017-18 season – and she and Packer were quite familiar with one another. Packer ended up getting Casorso in a headlock and proceeded to rip the Beaut’s helmet off. From there, gloves were dropped and both players had a brief exchange of fisticuffs.
“Packer and I, we have a bit of history,” Casorso said after the game. “There had been some friendly exchanges already in the game. I think that that was a bit of a boiling point. I kind of got her pinned against the boards, and before I knew what was happening my helmet was off and then it was over. I can’t tell you too much about it. I wouldn’t call it a fight – it was more a bit of a wrestle. But those are the rules, so that’s what it is.”
“Buddy, You’re a Legend!”
Initially both Casorso and Packer were sent to their respective penalty boxes. As the officials sifted through the proper rulings on what transpired, it quickly became clear that both players were going to receive fighting majors and game misconducts. Five minutes apiece were put up on the scoreboard, and each team sent a player to the box to take Casorso’s and Packer’s places. As Casorso made her way across the ice to head to the dressing room, she proudly waved to the fans with a big smile on her face and received a tremendously deserved standing ovation in return.
You could say @scasorso went down fighting… 🤣
What an exit. pic.twitter.com/st0HE9CQeQ
— Buffalo Beauts (@BuffaloBeauts) January 13, 2019
Certainly not the way anyone would have predicted the game to go, but one which afforded a special moment all of her own. A moment that will not be readily forgotten in Beauts lore.
“When I was skating off the ice and saluted the fans and looked at my team,” Casorso recalled, “I kind of wasn’t rattled yet. But when I looked at my team and they’re all patting me, and I stepped off the ice – it sunk in that ‘that was your last second on the ice’, and I got extremely emotional. I entered the dressing room, and I was like ‘that’s it’. Then Shannon Szabados walked in and she goes, ‘Buddy, you’re a legend!’ That was a legendary moment!’. After that, I was like – ‘you know what? What a fun way to go out I guess’. Having my moment to salute the fans was very special.
Favorite Casorso Moments
Ending her career with a fighting major is far from the only legendary moment in Sarah Casorso’s career with the Buffalo Beauts. During Casorso’s rookie season, she played in 16 of the team’s 17 regular season games plus both of their playoff games as the Beauts won the 2016-17 Isobel Cup Championship. She was one of just eight players on the current roster to have played on that Cup-winning team.
Casorso will forever hold the historic mark of first game-winning goal for a Beauts home playoff game in the team’s history. During their 2017-18 run to the Isobel Cup Final, the Beauts first had to dispel the Boston Pride in the opening round. Facing each other on Mar. 17, 2018, it was the first time in three seasons of NWHL play that the Beauts hosted a home playoff game. With the score knotted 2-2 after regulation, Casorso fired a shot from the point just 1:21 into overtime to win it for Buffalo. The roof just about ripped off of the HarborCenter in that moment.
This would be the only NWHL goal of Casorso’s career, but one would be hard-pressed to find a more meaningful one. With her father in the stands – having come all the way from British Columbia to see her play – Casorso had tears in her eyes after the game.
“That was only his second game that he’s ever seen me play as a Beaut,” Casorso said at the time. “The first one was last year at the beginning of the year (2016). It’s definitely emotional for me to have my dad here and get that for him because he’s been my number-one fan and coach my whole life. I owe my success to him. 100-percent.”
Thank You, Sarah!
We know that this is not a “so long” as much as it is a “see you later”. Beamsville, Ontario is just under an hour away from Buffalo, and Casorso has given assurance that she will be around the HarborCenter from time to time. And who knows – if the Beauts proceed to win the Isobel Cup this season, we feel for certain she would be part of the celebration with the team.
We wish Casorso the very best in her career with Bench Brewing, and in all of her future endeavors. We humbly thank her as well for helping to bring a professional hockey championship to Buffalo and for giving us more than one thrill on the ice. Casorso is not only a Buffalo Beaut for life but a Buffalonian as well.
Thank you, Sarah!
General Manager of the Buffalo Beauts (NWHL). Hockey history writer “The Hockey Writers”. Credentialed media for the NHL Combine and 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships in Buffalo, NY, USA. Born and raised in Buffalo, NY. Lifelong hockey fan for over 40 years. Proponent of the women’s game.