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.
BREAKING: The @CTWhale_NWHL have signed Czech Republic National Team and UMD Forward Katerina Mrázová.
— NWHL (@NWHL) July 11, 2018
On July 11 the Connecticut Whale added more international flavor to their roster when they signed Katerina Mrázová, making her the first player from the Czech Republic to sign with an NWHL team. The 25-year-old most recently played at the University of Minnesota Duluth, a school which has already had a bunch of players play in the pro league (Zoe Hickel, Meghan Huertas). A day prior to Mrázová signing, her collegiate teammate Michelle Löwenhielm signed with the Whale also.
“I’m joining this great league and organization because I want to continue playing hockey at the highest level. I could not be more excited to be signing my first contract with the Connecticut Whale,” Mrázová said in the NWHL’s press release announcing her signing. “I want to say a huge thank you to the Whale team and organization for making it happen. I can’t wait to put the jersey on and represent the team.”
Over her four seasons with the Bulldogs Mrázová posted 75 points (25g-50a) over 117 games and she also played in the CWHL as a 20-year-old – helping the Boston Blades win the 2013 Clarkson Cup; she was the first European to win that trophy. She also represented the Czech Republic at the 2013 Women’s World Championships.
“I always have the highest goals and it will not be different with the Connecticut Whale, I want to help the team win the Isobel Cup,” added Mrázová. “On the international scene, I want to help our National Team qualify for the Olympics. It might look far away, but competing in the NWHL against incredibly talented players should help me further develop as a player, and hopefully help the Czech National Team in the future.”
Dan Rice is in his 9th year of reporting for THW & has covered NJ Devils home games for 15+ years at various websites. He began his journey working for legendary broadcaster/writer Stan Fischler from 2002-04 & completed an internship at the ECHL; he also has been writing features for the NWHL (nwhl.zone) website since 2016.