The Buffalo Beauts have signed star forward Kelley Steadman, the team announced Wednesday. They have agreed on a one-year pact worth $15,000.
Last season, Steadman was a practice squad player for the Beauts in part due to commitments at Robert Morris University where she was a graduate assistant. She nonetheless lead the NWHL in points per game (2.0) and shots per game (7.8).
Despite only playing 10 games, her 13 goals ranked third in the league. She was also selected to play in the NWHL All-Star Game and was ultimately named the All-Star Game MVP.
“When you talk about impact players, automatically the name Kelley Steadman comes to mind,” said general manager Ric Seiling. “This year, she will no longer be a practice player. As part of last season’s run for the Isobel Cup, she has felt our pain of falling just shy of it. I look for Kelley to pick up where we left off and help lead us to complete our goal.”
She is the first practice squad player from last season to earn a full contract for the 2016-17 season.
“I’m really excited to be back in the NWHL next season, and there’s no team I would rather play for than the Buffalo Beauts,” said Steadman.
“The end to our season last year showed the blue collar, hard-working attitude of the organization, and I’m excited to play for Ric and for a chance at the Isobel Cup for the second year in a row. I hope to help contribute to the Beauts success next year any way I can and play in front of the best fans in the NWHL again.”
NWHL free agency opened May 1 and runs through July 31.
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.