The Buffalo Beauts have added their seventh Canadian-born player as the team continues to fill out its roster for the 2019-20 NWHL season. Word was released in the late-morning of Aug. 21 that Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) gradute and Brampton, Ontario native Kandice Sheriff had joined the team.
“Kandice’s experience at the NCAA Division I level has prepared her for this next step,” shared Beauts general manager Mandy Cronin, “and I’m confident she will contribute to our success this season.”
Sheriff is the Beauts’ 15th signing overall. She played for the RIT Tigers from 2015-16 up through the recent 2018-19 season. Sheriff played her junior hockey with the Toronto Leaside Wildcats in the Provincial Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) – a league often regarded as the highest level of junior women’s ice hockey in Ontario.
Time Spent at RIT
Sheriff had four decent NCAA campaigns while playing for RIT. A criminal justice major, the 5-foot-9 forward was a big body for her team around the net and suited up for 97 career games.
When her collegiate career came to a close earlier this spring, Sheriff had amassed six goals and 16 assists for 22 total points. Her point totals increased in each of her first three seasons, rising from numbers of four, six and then a career high of 10. Sheriff’s junior season was her finest offensively when she scored three goals and seven assists in 22 games – both of which were career high totals as well.
While Sheriff may not have scored often, she certainly made her tallies count. Of her six career goals, two came on the power play and two more were game-winners. Those kinds of markers were not just coincidence. Sheriff was able to generate such goals by working hard around the net and using her size to force opportunities.
It is something that Beauts head coach Pete Perram feels she can do at the NWHL-level too:
“We really like Kandice’s speed, strength and ability on special teams,” Perram said in the press release. “We believe she can develop into a solid power forward for us.”
Sheriff Answers Beauts Need for Size up Front
By adding Sheriff, the Beauts have addressed a need for some size up front. They do have some bigger bodies in players like Corinne Buie, Brooke Stacey, and Iveta Klimášová who can play defense or forward. However, they also have three forwards who are all 5-foot-3 or under. Bringing Sheriff into the mix gives a better balance to the overall size of the Beauts forwards.
Sheriff also blocks a fair amount of shots for a forward too. Her seasonal totals for blocks at RIT were 11, 18, 19, and six respectively. That career-high of 19 during the 2017-18 season was done in only 22 games.
We feel that Perram’s options for using Sheriff in his lineup are rather endless. There are a few notions that come to mind in particular. Knowing already that Perram is big on her ability for specialty teams, Sheriff could do really well as a screen in front of the net while working on the Beauts power play. She has a lot of strength and will not be pushed around. Having Sheriff create traffic and cause havoc helps players like Buie, Stacey, Maddie Norton and others be more offensively potent.
Another viable option could be to place her on a line with two of the more diminutive in stature forwards like Emma Ruggiero and Ashley Birdsall. Sheriff’s blend of size and speed can help take pressure off of her linemates, and may give them more room to maneuver in the opposing zone.
No matter where Sheriff is ultimately utilized, she is indeed eager to get the season going.
“I am very excited and grateful to have the opportunity to play for the Buffalo Beauts this season and to join the rest of the players of the NWHL,” Sheriff stated. “I’m really looking forward to the start of training camp and getting ready for the start of the season.”
As of Aug. 21, here is how the Beauts’ roster currently looks:
Goaltender: Mariah Fujimagari, Kelsey Neumann.
Defender: Meg Delay, Marie-Jo Pelletier, Iveta Klimášová, Lenka Čurmová.
Forward: Corinne Buie, Brooke Stacey, Kim Brown, Becki Bowering, Cassidy MacPherson, Emma Ruggiero, Ashley Birdsall (forward-defender), Maddie Norton, Kandice Sheriff.
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.