The Buffalo Beauts’ roster for the inaugural NWHL season is continuing to shape up, as the Beauts have added three more players to their roster.
First, the Buffalo Beauts signed free agent forward Kourtney Kunichika (@kourtneyk26).
Former Tiger Signs with Buffalo
Kunichika is a California native who recently played four years of college hockey at Rochester Institute of Technology at both the Division I and Division III levels. She finished her collegiate career ranked fourth in RIT women’s hockey history with 136 points (54 goals, 82 assists) in 129 games played.
Kunichika set an NCAA Championship record her freshman year, registering 10 points in one tournament. She also owns the RIT record for postseason scoring, with 24 points in 17 playoff games.
She joins the Buffalo Beauts after a career at RIT that saw the Tigers win a Division III National Championship before their jump to Division I hockey, when the team later won its first College Hockey America Championship.
Throughout, Kunichika was an offensive leader for the team. She finished her senior year ranked fourth on the team in scoring and was named to the conference’s All-Tournament Team in 2014. Her college career also saw her named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team (2012), ECAC West All-Rookie Team Honors and more.
[quote_box_center author=”Kourtney Kunichika”]I’m very happy to be playing for the Buffalo Beauts and to learn from an impressive coaching staff…. I’m thankful to be a part of hockey history and the growth of women’s hockey.[/quote_box_center]
She joins fellow RIT Tigers alumnae Lindsay Grigg and Erin Zach in the Buffalo Beauts lineup this season.
Here’s some video of Kunichika’s performance back in 2013 with RIT, a game during which she had her second career hat trick.
Brock Standout Joins Beauts
Following Kunichika’s signing, the Buffalo Beauts also added forward Jessica Fickel (@jfickel).
Fickel, a Fort Erie native, spent the past five years with Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, where she competed in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS).
She ended her collegiate career as Brock’s all-time points leader, averaging nearly a point per game – 113 points, 114 games. That’s 51 goals and 62 assists throughout her career at Brock; as a result of her outstanding performance, her jersey number nine was retired.
Throughout her college career, Fickel was named Brock’s Female Athlete of the Year (2014) and earned Rookie of the Year honors in 2011. She also won a silver medal while representing Canada at the 2015 World University Games in Granada, Spain.
Fickel joins two other former CIS players on the Buffalo Beauts roster; Devon Skeats (Wilfrid Laurier University) and Tatiana Rafter (University of British Columbia) also signed with the team.
[quote_box_center author=”Jessica Fickel”]Women’s hockey has grown so much recently and seeing it progress to this level while being able to be a part of the inaugural season excites me, especially being able to play so close to home.[/quote_box_center]
Below, here’s video of the 2012 OUA Outdoor Classic, a game during which Fickel scored twice and was named Harrow Sports Player of the Game as Brock took a 3-2 victory over the UOIT Ridgebacks.
Former Adrian College Forward Joins Buffalo
Finally, the Beauts announced the signing of forward Hannah McGowan (@Hannah_Maccc), a former Adrian College standout.
During her college career, McGowan registered nearly a point-per-game, marking 100 points (47-53) in 103 games. She acted as captain for the Bulldogs in her senior year.
The 22-year-old Michigan native joins the Buffalo Beauts after a collegiate career that saw her earn a number of honors, including being named to the NCHA All-Rookie Team. She also helped lead the Bulldogs to the NCHA Quarterfinals in both her freshman and sophomore seasons.
[quote_box_center author=”Hannah McGowan”]I’m a huge team player, and that’s something I’ll bring to the table in Buffalo.[/quote_box_center]
The Buffalo Beauts have now signed 15 players for their upcoming inaugural season, which opens on October 11 at HARBORcenter against the Boston Pride.