Beginning June 1, NWHL teams can start signing players for the 2018-19 season. For players who have completed their college eligibility and want to continue their hockey careers, the free agency period provides them an opportunity to continue playing at the highest level of professional women’s hockey. The fourth season of the NWHL will begin in October as the Metropolitan Riveters defend their Isobel Cup championship, and with the addition of a fifth team – the Minnesota Whitecaps – as well as the inclusion of players who participated in the 2018 Winter Olympics, this very well could be the most competitive season yet.
My colleague Nathaniel Oliver will keep THW readers up-to-date on Boston and Buffalo’s signings throughout the summer, while I post updates on Connecticut and the Riveters. Together we will collaborate to keep readers informed of all of Minnesota’s signings.
— Shannon Doyle (@SDoyle_6) August 14, 2018
On August 22 the Connecticut Whale re-signed defender Shannon Doyle, the first player on their roster for next season that has been a part of the franchise since it’s inception. She has tallied 17 points (2g-15a) in 48 career games for the Whale and last season the 26-year-old was an alternate captain.
“The Whale have worked hard to create a culture of hard work, dedication, and excellence from day one to this upcoming season,” Doyle said in a press release announcing her signing. “I’m excited to be able to continue playing a role in the development of the organization. It’s an honor to play alongside fantastic teammates who are equally valued for their talented on-ice abilities and their genuine love for the game we play.”
Doyle joins Rachael Ade, Cydney Roesler, Hanna Beattie, and Emily Fluke as the only players thus far that will be returning from last season’s roster. Doyle’s veteran leadership could be crucial on a team that may be filled with first and second-year players this upcoming season as they look to improve on their 3-11-2 record from 2017-18. Over her collegiate career with Colgate University and Boston University (2010-15) the Baldwin, Ontario native amassed 77 points (14g-63a) over 137 games.
“Being able to play for the Whale since its inaugural season has been a tremendous experience,” she added. “Seeing the growth of women’s ice hockey both through the talented players who compete in the NWHL year after year, and the ever-growing fan base has been an experience I am honored to be a part of.”