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.
Excited to be a Riveter & get the season started!! https://t.co/TU15RJeakI
— Kristin Lewicki (@Kwickk_25) July 31, 2018
On July 31 the Riveters signed Kristin Lewicki, making her the first player from another NWHL team to sign with the defending champions this off-season. Lewicki also becomes the third player in three summers to depart from the Buffalo Beauts to sign with the Rivs, following in the footsteps of Tatiana Rafter (2016) and Harrison Browne (2017).
“The Riveters reached out to me and gave me a fantastic opportunity to join them,” Lewicki said in the league press release announcing her signing. “I decided it would be a great fit and I couldn’t pass up the chance to be a Riveter, and play in the metropolitan area. This is a strong, competitive organization with a significant partnership with the New Jersey Devils. I’m excited to become a part of it, help defend the Isobel Cup, and I can’t wait to meet my new teammates, move to a new city, and get the season started.”
In 14 games as a rookie with the Beauts, Lewicki put up seven points (5g-2a) that also included two game-winning goals. She was named to the 2018 NWHL All-Star Game in Minnesota and during the Saturday skills portion, ‘Wheels’ won the Fastest Skater competition. During the previous All-Star Weekend, her new teammate Rebecca Russo came away with the Faster Skater title. The 23-year-old was a scoring sensation at Adrian College with 179 points (90g-89a) in 111 games.
“I’d like to thank my Beauts teammates and the entire Beauts family for welcoming me and helping me to grow as a professional hockey player. We formed great friendships that will always make my rookie season in the NWHL a great memory for me,” she added. “To the fans and city of Buffalo, thank you for all your support during my first professional season.”
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.