The NWHL’s Connecticut Whale have announced the team’s practice players for the 2016-17 season. They have added Anya Battaglino (F/D), Laura Brennan (G), Celeste Brown (F), Shannon Doyle (D), Elena Orlando (D) and Jackie Raines (F) to the team.
“The Whale is very confident in the abilities of this group of players and firmly believe they will have no problems stepping into the lineup when called upon,” said general manager Lisa Giovanelli. “As witnessed last season, the practice players play a huge role in the success of an NWHL team, and we expect this group to make huge contributions in our quest for the Isobel Cup.”
The Whale’s practice squad features a few familiar names, with the return of defenseman Shannon Doyle, who played with the Whale last season, scoring two goals and five points in 18 games. Battaglino too played with the team last year, suiting up as a part of the team’s practice squad. She played eight games and didn’t register a point.
“I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to continue to chase my dream,” said Battaglino. “Being a player that works hard day in and day out to see my team and the league improve is so important to me. I look forward to getting back on the ice and fighting to make my teammates better and to get called into a game.”
Brown and Orlando arrive with the Whale after being a part of the last-place New York Riveters roster last season. Brown put up four assists in 18 games. Orlando played a key part in the team’s aggressive defense. She posted one assist in 17 games.
Forward Jackie Raines will play her first season in the NWHL after finishing up her collegiate career at Yale, where she put up 37 goals and 29 assists in 101 games.
Goaltender Laura Brennan arrives in the NWHL after playing three years at Minnesota State and a season at Quinnipiac, finishing her college career back in 2007. She was found by the team after attending free agent camp in Buffalo over the summer.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.