The Connecticut Whale have a commitment from star defenseman Kelli Stack to sign a one-year, $26,000 contract, the team announced Sunday. That ties a league-high salary set by Amanda Kessel earlier this summer when she signed on with the New York Riveters.
“Kelli is a dynamic player with speed and phenomenal hands to match,” said head coach Heather Linstad. “She is a difference-maker in our lineup. Kelli will be counted on to lead the offense and bring continuity to the locker room this season.”
We look forward to signing our contracts this week and helping advance the league to new heights in our second season.
— Kelli Stack (@kstack16) August 1, 2016
Stack put up eight goals and 22 points in 17 games for the Whale last year, adding two goals in the team’s three postseason games before they were eliminated by the Buffalo Beauts in the opening round of the postseason.
Stack is a U.S. National Team regular, having participated in five World Championships, six Four Nations Cups and two U-22 tournaments. She also skated for the U.S. at the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, garnering two silver medals while posting four goals and 13 points in 10 games.
“I am excited to be back playing for the Whale, and have high hopes for this group,” said Stack. “I am looking forward to this season and our quest for the Isobel Cup.”
Like other U.S. National Team players, who negotiate their deals collectively, she hasn’t actually put ink to paper despite the announcement coming from the NWHL on Sunday, their self-imposed free agency deadline. Those players have committed to signing deals and terms are in place, but they have not officially signed on yet.