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.
The Boston Pride have added a second rookie forward to their roster for the 2019-20 NWHL season. Word was released on the morning of May 23 that Providence College graduate Christina Putigna had been signed to a $5,500 contract to play for the Pride this upcoming season.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to shape my game and learn from those around me with the Boston Pride in my first season as a pro,” said Putigna via a press release about her signing. “It’s exciting and humbling to have this opportunity to sign with the Pride. It means a lot to me to get the chance to remain in New England and pursue my hockey career. I have seen how much the NWHL has impacted the future of women’s hockey and I really wanted to be a part of the league and the development of girls’ and women’s hockey in the coming years.
A 100-Point NCAA Career at Providence
The 5-foot-8 Putigna is a native of Grimsby, Ontario, Canada. This makes her the second Canadian player that the Pride have signed for Season Five – the first being original NWHLer Kaleigh Fratkin.
Putigna is a left-handed shot and utilized her sleekness around the net to score more than 100 points in her career as a Providence Friar. From 2015-16 through this past 2018-19 season, she recorded at least 24 points in each of her four seasons.
It is important to note too that her lowest total of 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists) came in only 29 games during Putigna’s 2017-18 junior season. She missed seven games that season due to injury but still finished third in point scoring for the Friars and fourth in goals.
With a career consisting of 135 NCAA games, Putigna totaled 46 goals, 64 assists and 110 points. She set career highs for goals (15) and points (30) during senior season at Providence.
Some Nice Intangibles to Putigna’s Game
Speaking to her physicality, Putigna accumulated 130 penalty minutes in her collegiate career as well. She is not hesitant to use her body to make room for herself, and is also known to be aggressive on the forecheck.
“Christina will be a favorite of her teammates and Pride fans because of her skill and tenacity,” said Pride head coach Paul Mara. “I’m confident her game will continue to develop as a pro in Boston.”
What is particularly interesting to point out from Putigna’s time at Providence is her increased commitment to being responsible in her own end. Her plus/minus rating went up in each of her four seasons – from minus-18 to plus-2, plus-7 and finally a plus-15 respectively.
Putigna is a shot-blocking type of forward too. She put herself in front of vulcanized rubber 43 times during her freshman season, and followed that up with seasons of 36, 48, and 26 blocked shots. As Coach Mara spoke to, this former Friar is bound to be a fan favorite in the NWHL this coming season.
Putigna recognizes that her four seasons at Providence have better prepared her to begin her professional career with the Pride, and so has the support she has received over the years from loved ones.
“I also want to take this moment to thank my family, my coaches and my teammates at Providence,” said Putigna when she signed. “They have all been so supportive throughout this entire process.”
Here is a look at how the Pride’s roster is currently shaping out as of May 21:
Defense: Kaleigh Fratkin.
Forward: Tori Sullivan, Christina Putigna.
General Manager of the Buffalo Beauts (NWHL). Hockey history writer “The Hockey Writers”. Credentialed media for the NHL Combine and 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships in Buffalo, NY, USA. Born and raised in Buffalo, NY. Lifelong hockey fan for over 40 years. Proponent of the women’s game.