Earlier this week the Connecticut Whale made another splash during free agency, this time re-signing defender Taylor Marchin and signing rookie forward Kendra Broad. Last week they made their first signing when they brought back veteran Shannon Doyle, who will also be patrolling the blue line in Connecticut.
Marchin joined the Whale early last season on a PTO (professional tryout) and then signed on for the rest of the season on Nov. 2. She played in 13 regular season games for Connecticut and also in their lone playoff game failing to record a point.
Broad spent the past three seasons playing in Europe, first in the SDHL with Sundsvall/Timra and then two seasons in the SWHL with NE Hockey Academy. “Kendra has been a top forward throughout her career,” said Connecticut GM Bray Ketchum. “We’re proud to welcome her to the Connecticut Whale.”
Prior to joining the NWHL, Marchin had a stellar 123-game career at Yale University where she put up 57 points (21g-36a) and won a share of the Team MVP award as a senior.
“We’re very excited to have Taylor back with the Whale,” said Ketchum in the press release announcing the signing. “She’s a strong defender who brings energy to the locker room. I’m looking forward to working with her.”
Rebuilding the Pod
After getting a late start Marchin started to find her groove at the end of the season and in the playoffs against the Metropolitan Riveters she had her best performance as a pro, recording three shots on goal and two blocked shots in the loss. In 13 games during the regular season, she had nine shots on goal and five blocked shots.
“I would describe myself as a player as a reliable defender and teammate, who isn’t flashy but loves to rip a slap shot,” Marchin said. “I always look to bring a strong work ethic, and a calming presence in the defensive zone to my team.”
Broad, an Ontario-native, is the first forward that Ketchum has added to the roster as the oft scoring-challenged Whale try to escape from the NWHL’s basement. After a 13-5-0 record in their inaugural season, Connecticut has been in last place the past three seasons, and during the past two, they were the lowest scoring team in the league.
“I see myself as a leader, an offensive threat, a playmaker, and someone that can be relied on to play a two-way game,” Broad added. “I really believe in the vision that Bray Ketchum has set forth and I’m honored to be a part of a league like the NWHL that has done so much to advance the women’s game.”
“I’m very excited to sign my first NWHL contract and to be a part of the Whale organization.”
Growing the Game
The 25-year-old Marchin is originally from Michigan and following her career at Yale, she played one season in the CWHL for Kunlun Red Star where she finished with nine points/assists in 22 games and one goal in four playoff games.
“This is a great opportunity to continue playing the game I love, and it is important that female hockey players have as many opportunities as possible,” she added. “I’m excited to be back for another season with the NWHL and the Whale. My goals for the season are to never stop getting better and to have fun every minute I spend with the team.”
The 28-year-old Broad is planning on coaching hockey somewhere in Connecticut when she gets there and she has other goals too. “The ultimate goal is for us to win the organization’s first Isobel Cup. So I want to contribute to that to the best of my ability,” she said.
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 Nathaniel Oliver will keep THW readers up-to-date on Buffalo and Boston’s signings throughout the summer, while I post updates on Connecticut and the Riveters. Together we will be keeping readers informed of all of Minnesota’s signings.
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.