As we enter the second month of the inaugural NWHL season, the Buffalo Beauts announced today that they’ve designated their captains. Wearing the ‘C’ will be Buffalo’s own Emily Pfalzer, who is just returning from a championship run with Team USA in the Four Nations Cup held in Sweden from Nov. 4 to Nov. 8. Team USA captain Meghan Duggan and linemate Shleby Bram have been named assistant captains.
On-ice, Pfalzer is one of Buffalo’s strongest players. Beyond her stout defensive play, Pfalzer can often be found charging the net when the opportunity arises, and is not afraid to carry the puck from the point. She walks the blue line for the Beauts number one power play unit, and her calm, intelligent play keeps the cycle going where others may fire panicked shots into shinpads. Pfalzer recognizes the impact she has as local player who has risen to the professional ranks. As reported on NWHL.co, Pfalzer said, “I’ve always been very proud to be from Buffalo and to have the opportunity to represent my city, in this capacity, is something I am very grateful for.”
Co-coach Shelley Looney was quick to praise Pfalzer and her roots. “Having grown up in Buffalo, she understands what it means to represent the city and the team,” said Looney. In a city that’s dubbed itself ‘Hockey Heaven,’ it certainly is vindicating to have produced an excellent hockey player and a solid leader.
Pfalzer and the Beauts will have their hands full on Sunday, as they host the undefeated Connecticut Whale. They will also be facing a shake-up of their roster, as it appears that Buffalo will gain the Canadian players that have been delayed in entering the US after the processing of their P-1 work visas was held up by immigration. It will be interesting to see how the team is affected – the Beauts’ leading scorer, Kelley Steadman (4G, 1A, 1.67 PPG) is also tied for second in the league in points. Steadman is technically a practice squad player, so GM Linda Mroz will have some decisions to make, as former RIT star Erin Zach and CIS’s Wilfred Laurier University standout, Devon Skeats will cross the border for the first time to join the forward lines.
In the NHL, a team can place a player on waivers to open a roster spot. It is unclear whether or not the NWHL operates in a similar fashion. At this time, neither the league nor the team has responded to questions regarding in-season roster moves. The uncertainty will add a new level of excitement as the fans fill the Harbor Center for game four of the season.
NOTE: On Sunday, Nov 15, the Buffalo Beauts are holding a canned food/used jacket drive to benefit local charities. Fans bringing five cans or a jacket will receive a discount voucher for future tickets. Please consider helping the team and those in need in this season of giving.
— Buffalo Beauts (@BuffaloBeauts) November 3, 2015
I am a proud lifelong Buffalo fan and an avid Jack Eichel defender. I have had a lot of fun covering the NWHL – it has been an exciting inaugural season and I look forward to sharing that excitement. For more of this season’s NWHL and Sabres coverage, check out http://www.bonushockey.com and http://www.716sportspodcast.com.