Having been quiet on the signing front since August, the Boston Pride added a proven leader to their forward corps on Sept. 18. Word was released by the NWHL that former University of New Hampshire Wildcats captain Carlee Toews was signed by “The Pack” for the 2019-20 season.
Toews is the 18th player that Boston has added to their roster, and their ninth forward (that is not including Whitney Renn who has been listed as a defender-forward). Of those 18 players, 12 of them including Toews are new to the Pride organization.
This particular signing is also the first to be announced since the news on Sept. 17 that the club had been purchased by a team of investors led by Cannon Capital managing partner Miles Arnone.
“My investors and I believe in the NWHL, and we are honored to take on the responsibility of leading the Boston Pride during this important era of growth for women’s sports,” Arnone said in the press release. “We will build the Pride into a world-class team and an innovative and thoughtful business venture that demonstrates the power of professional women’s hockey and the value of the game’s remarkable athletes.”
The addition of Toews is a step – one of many more to come – in seeing Arnone’s vision come to fruition.
Toews NCAA Success at UNH
Toews is the second player that Boston has added this season from UNH. She joins former Wildcats teammate Jenna Rheault, a defender, who signed with the Pride back on May 28.
Toews’ NCAA career spanned from the 2014-15 season up through 2017-18. She assembled a rather impressive streak during that time, appearing in every Wildcats game for her freshman, sophomore and junior seasons. Toews would miss only a single game in her entire collegiate career, and that came during her final season.
The Grande Prairie, Alberta native’s point totals went up in each of her seasons at UNH. While she would set a career high for goals (7) during the 2016-17 season, Toews’ finest season offensively was her senior campaign. Playing 35 games, she set additional career highs of 13 assists and 17 points.
When all was said and done, her career totals came to 14 goals, 28 assists and 42 points in 142 games.
While Toews never scored more than seven goals in a season, the ones she generated were oftentimes difference makers. Toews scored a pair of game-winning goals in each of her last three seasons with the Wildcats.
How Toews Fits With the Pride
Toews stands at 5-foot-5 and is a right-handed shooter. She is also a product of the highly regarded Okanagan Hockey Academy.
Since the Pride already possess high-end scorers like Jillian Dempsey and McKenna Brand, some might be thinking that Toews will fill more of a depth role. That is not necessarily the case at all.
Toews has the drive and the gumption to play first or second line minutes. Combining her on a line with a player such as Dempsey and/or Brand could accentuate their goal-scoring abilities. Toews has playmaking skills, and can get pucks to shooters.
When looking at their overall semblance, the Pride have arguably the top goaltending tandem among the NWHL’s five teams. Their defense is very solid too – to the point of being enviable – particularly with strong returners like Kaleigh Fratkin, Lexi Bender and Mal Souliotis.
Where they may need some additional fine-tuning is up front. The scoring cannot just rest on the shoulders of Dempsey, Brand, and Tori Sullivan. This is where Toews will be a factor – she can help bridge any gaps, and push her teammates to reach their fullest potential. While still an NWHL rookie herself, Toews is a very mature hockey player.
Here is how the Pride’s roster currently looks as of Sept. 19:
Goaltender: Victoria Hanson, Lovisa Selander.
Defense: Kaleigh Fratkin, Jenna Rheault, Lexi Bender, Mallory Souliotis, Lauren Kelly, Briana Mastel, Whitney Renn (defender-forward).
Forward: Tori Sullivan, Christina Putigna, Lexie Laing, Mary Parker, Jillian Dempsey, McKenna Brand, Alyssa Wohlfeiler, Marisa Raspa, Carlee Toews.
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.