When Marissa Gedman returns to the Boston Pride for her fourth straight season she will do so as a member of the team’s coaching staff. That will be instead of the dependable blueliner that she has been since Day One of the NWHL. Word was released on the evening of Aug. 23, 2018 that Gedman – an inaugural member of the team and player for the first three seasons – has retired from playing and is the team’s new assistant coach. Her passion for the Pride and her experience as a Isobel Cup-winning, steady defender make her the ideal choice for this position.
“Marissa’s experience as a really outstanding defender, a respected leader, an Isobel Cup champion, and an original member of the Pride is going to be such as asset to me personally and to our team,” said Boston head coach Paul Mara in the press release about the signing. “I want to congratulate her on a great playing career, and I’m so pleased that she has embraced this opportunity to coach professionally with me in Boston.”
Gedman has 33 regular season NWHL games to her credit, plus four more in the postseason. She helped the Pride win the 2016 Isobel Cup – the first in the history of the NWHL. THW takes a closer look at this announcement and what it will mean for Boston for the 2018-19 season.
Knowing the Defense Position and the Defenders
Gedman was the consummate defender through the Pride’s first three seasons. Not known for generating a lot of offense, her size and positioning were what made her valuable to the team. In her 37 career games with the Pride she did not score any goals but notched eight assists. Gedman gave the Boston defense corps the depth that made it successful, especially through the first two NWHL seasons.
What might be missed most about Gedman as a player is her size. At 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, she has been one of the collection of defenders that has made playing in Boston’s zone so difficult and tedious in the past. Looking at the team historically, defenders like Gedman, Paige Harrington, Kaleigh Fratkin, Kaliya Johnson, Blake Bolden and others are what really gave the Pride their edge and tenacity in their back end. While Boston will still be plenty tough for the 2018-19 season, they will miss having Gedman among the mix.
?Coaching Alert ?: Former Pride defenseman Marissa Gedman is returning to The Boston Pride as an assistant coach.
— NWHL (@NWHL) August 23, 2018
It is conceivable to think that with Gedman retiring as a player and losing her size in their lineup played a factor in Boston re-signing veterans or adding new players that either have the same physicality and/or size as her. Still, Gedman’s familiarity with the team’s current defense and overall structure will better enable her to fulfill her role as a coach and ultimately bring out better results among the players. Five of the seven defenders Boston currently have under contract were teammates of hers with “The Pack”.
Ready for This Next Step in Her Career
It is right for Gedman to now take this next step. If there is anything to be perceived as being unfortunate about this move it is that there is now one less original NWHLer playing in the league. There are still players from the inaugural season that have signed contracts for Season Four, and a few more who likely will soon be signing too, but their number is dwindling. At least Gedman is remaining in the NWHL even though it is in a different capacity.
— NWHL (@NWHL) August 26, 2017
“This is a great opportunity for me and I’m really proud to continue to support the NWHL in a new role as a coach with the Boston Pride,” Gedman said in the same press release. “As a player, I had three great years with the Pride and now I cannot wait to continue with the team behind the bench in 2018. Having an experienced coach like Paul Mara is a very positive addition for the Pride organization, and I’m looking forward to learning from him and helping in any way that I can.”
Here is how the Boston Pride presently look at the time of Gedman’s addition to the coaching staff. Now Aug. 23, Boston still needs to get their goaltending situated and sign a few more skaters:
Goalie: Katie Burt.
Defense: Alyssa Gagliardi, Toni Ann Miano, Lauren Kelly, Lexi Bender, Kaleigh Fratkin, Mallory Souliotis, Kaliya Johnson.
Forwards: Emily Field, Dana Trivigno, Denisa Křížová, Haley Skarupa, Jillian Dempsey, McKenna Brand, Amanda Pelkey, Taylor Wasylk.