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.
Russian National Team Goaltender Maria Sorokina signs 1 year contract to play for Connecticut Whale of the National Women’s Hockey League. pic.twitter.com/gRtQUW5iCo
— Dan Milstein-Hockey (@HockeyAgent1) September 10, 2018
On September 10 the Connecticut Whale added more international flavor to their 2018-19 roster when they signed Russian goaltender Maria Sorokina. The 23-year-old netminder’s signing now gives the Whale at least one player from six different countries (USA, Canada, Russia, Sweden, South Korea, and the Czech Republic), by far the most in the NWHL.
Sorokina played in (and won) two preseason games last October with Team Russia besting both Connecticut and the Boston Pride, surrendering only three goals over a span of 45 shots. “The first time I came here, as part of the Russian National Team to play matches against the NWHL clubs, I decided for myself that I should definitely try to get into this league,” she said in a press release announcing her signing.
“I had very pleasant impressions, including the community where the Whale play. I’m ready to fight for the team, and all the people in solved in it to win the Isobel Cup.” Sorokina represented her country in the 2015, 2016, and 2017 World Championships in addition to playing the last four seasons in the ZHL with Dynamo St. Petersburg and Agidel Ufa (where she won a championship).
“I would like to thank the management and coaching staff of the Whale for their trust,” she added. “I’m very hopeful for a successful collaboration this season! My decision to play in the NWHL came after a lot of consideration. I believe that the time we spend together will benefit both sides. I will do everything in my power to help the team achieve success, and I will have the opportunity to develop my skills.”
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.