An NWHL forward from the inaugural season has come back to the league. Word was released on the morning of Aug. 2, 2019 that Alyssa Wohlfeiler – a member of the 2015-16 Connecticut Whale – has made a return to the NWHL by signing with the Boston Pride.
“I am looking forward to being part of Season 5 of the NWHL and showing the game to even more people and growing those fan bases,” said Wohlfeiler in the press release about her signing. “I am very excited and honored to be back in the NWHL and joining the Pride. It’s always fun to play with and against many of the best players in the world.”
A Saugus, California native, the 30-year-old Wohlfeiler has done a bit of everything as a women’s hockey player. Following four seasons of NCAA play with the Northeastern Huskies – her senior season as team captain – she has played at the professional level in the NWHL, CWHL, Sweden’s SDHL, Germany’s Frauen-Bunesliga, and Switzerland’s Women’s Hockey League A.
Wohlfeiler becomes the seventh forward to sign to the Pride for the upcoming season.
Wohlfeiler First Go-Round in the NWHL
During Wohlfeiler’s first tour of NWHL duty, she played in 17 of the Whale’s initial 18 games. She would score three goals and four assists, while also compiling 20 penalty minutes.
Wohlfeiler scored her first goal in the league during a 5-2 Connecticut win on the road in Buffalo on Oct. 18, 2015. She seemed to have much success that first season whenever the Whale played the Beauts. Four of her seven points (2G, 2A) came against Buffalo.
Wohlfeiler would play in one of the Whale’s three postseason games against the Beauts that season. She would appear in the decisive 4-3 loss to Buffalo on Mar. 6, 2016 which saw the Whale eliminated and the Beauts vaulted onto the Isobel Cup Final.
Signing with the Pride also means that Wohlfeiler is reunited with her former Whale teammate Kaleigh Fratkin, who had already been signed by Boston. Of the 12 players that the Pride have signed thus far, there are now three players who are original NWHLers. The other being captain Jillian Dempsey.
Returning From Europe
Save for her three seasons in the CWHL with the Boston Blades (2011-14), Wohlfeiler has played primarily – and very successfully – in Europe.
Prior to the NWHL getting underway, she played the 2014-15 season with Switzerland’s Lugano. Wohlfeiler generated 13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points in only 18 games. En route to the league’s championship, she led Lugano in scoring with a superb seven goals in eight games, and 10 total points.
Interesting to note that eventual Whale teammate Jordan Bricker was also a member of that championship Lugano squad with Wohlfeiler.
Following her lone season with the Whale, she briefly moved onto time spent with the SDHL’s HV71 for the 2017-18 season. In 14 games total, Wohlfeiler scored three goals and a pair of assists.
This past season she made a huge splash with EC Bergkamener Bären in Germany. Wohlfeiler simply exploded in scoring and led her team with 29 goals and 26 assists for 55 points in 27 games.
The Pride are hoping that Wohlfeiler can bring that same potent scoring touch to Boston. She is is definitely looking forward to the return to professional hockey in the USA and the excitement it can generate. Wohlfeiler knows firsthand that the NWHL’s scope reaches far beyond just North America alone.
“Having played in Europe on a few occasions, I have had fans tell me that they have specifically traveled to the U.S. just to be able to watch an NWHL game in person,” she stated. “When I was in California, I had another fan at a 5:00 am stick time tell me he watched games online. So the league is definitely reaching fan bases all over the world and it’s really exciting to think about the potential of women’s hockey right now.”
Here is a look at how the Pride’s roster is currently shaping out as of Aug. 2:
Defense: Kaleigh Fratkin, Jenna Rheault, Lexi Bender, Mallory Souliotis, Lauren Kelly.
Forward: Tori Sullivan, Christina Putigna, Lexie Laing, Mary Parker, Jillian Dempsey, McKenna Brand, Alyssa Wohlfeiler.
Beginning May 15, NWHL teams can re-sign players from their 2018-19 roster and their draft picks. Additionally, for those players who have completed their college eligibility and want to continue their hockey careers, NWHL Free Agency provides the best opportunity to continue playing at the highest level of professional women’s hockey. The fifth season of the NWHL will begin in October as the Minnesota Whitecaps look to defend their Isobel Cup championship.
My colleague Dan Rice will keep THW readers up-to-date on Metropolitan and Connecticut’s signings throughout the summer, while I post updates on Buffalo and Boston. Together we will be keeping readers informed of all of Minnesota’s signings.