The Buffalo Beauts bolstered their blue line in a big way by adding 4-foot-11 Marie-Jo Pelletier from the University of New Hampshire Wildcats. When THW interviewed Pelletier nearly two years ago, we donned her with the nickname of “Mighty Mouse”. Despite her diminutive size, she plays a much more robust style than most, and excels in every aspect of her position. Pelletier is indeed “mighty”, and that’s an understatement.
Word was released on the morning of Aug. 5, 2019 that the Dalhousie, New Brunswick native is now the newest Buffalo Beaut.
“MJ is a spitfire on and off the ice and we could not be more proud to have her representing the Beauts,” said Buffalo general manager Mandy Cronin in the press release for the signing. “She is the epitome of the type of player and person that we want to fill our roster with. She is a proven leader and will be a respected player in the league and in our organization.”
Pelletier served as team captain for the Wildcats beginning with her sophomore season of 2016-17. She kept the captaincy until she graduated in 2019.
No Part of Pelletier’s Game Is Lacking
While the Beauts have just seven players signed to their roster, it is quite possible that they have already found their top defense pairing. First they announced that they had signed Clarkson Cup champion and emerging defender Meg Delay on Aug. 1. Now, they have added Pelletier just four days later. The two defenders together make an enviable combo.
Pelletier is a superb shot blocker. Among all UNH skaters, she was never lower than fourth on the team in blocks. She tied for the team lead in 2016-17 with 69 of them in 35 games. Plain and simple, Pelletier plays with no fear.
Beauts Head Coach Pete Perram had this to say about his newest player: “MJ is an enormous talent and the whole package. She will anchor the defense and contribute to the offense.”
Pelletier has 143 NCAA games to her credit. In that time she scored 13 goals and 39 assists for 52 career points. Her finest season offensively was 2016-17 when when she tallied eight goals and 11 assists in 35 games.
Pelletier’s Leadership and Character
When THW asked Pelletier nearly two years ago if she would ever consider playing in the NWHL once she graduated from UNH, here was her response:
“I hope to keep playing hockey as long as I can… I guess it’s always been a dream of mine to play professionally after college. As long as my body allows me to, hopefully that will be in my future. I am going to keep working at it and hopefully that is going to be my future.”
Fast-forward to the present, and that day has now come – Marie-Jo Pelletier is a Buffalo Beaut. The heart and character she possesses are very much in tune with her new city. She is a natural born leader, and has exhibited such qualities since a very young age.
When Pelletier participated in the Atlantic Challenge Cup back in 2010- before she was even 15 years old – she was awarded “Hard Hat Cup” award. The award is given annually to the “best overall contributor” for her/his team, with the individual chosen having demonstrated outstanding work ethic, a team player first attitude, leadership and a commitment to excellence.
Pelletier followed that honor up by being voted Most Sportsmanlike for the Atlantic team at the 2012-13 U18 Canadian Nationals.
Point being, there are some really outstanding intangibles that Pelletier brings to Buffalo, that she has exuded all of her life. She is eager to show her new teammates and the community what she is capable of.
“It’s an absolute privilege to have the opportunity to continue playing the game that I love and contribute to the growth of the NWHL and female hockey as a whole,” said Pelletier about her signing. “I am incredibly blessed and thankful for this opportunity. “I look forward to contributing to the success of our team with my work ethic and the passion that I have for the game. I am so excited to be part of the Buffalo Beauts organization and play in the NWHL.”
Make no mistake, this is a first-rate signing for Buffalo.
As of Aug. 5, here is how the Beauts’ roster currently looks:
Goaltender: Mariah Fujimagari.
Defender: Meg Delay, Marie-Jo Pelletier.
Forward: Corinne Buie, Brooke Stacey, Kim Brown, Becki Bowering.
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.