Defender Mallory Souliotis will be back on the Boston Pride’s blue line for a third straight season, and her second full one in the NWHL. Word was released by the league on the morning of Jun. 5, 2019 that the Massachusetts native had re-signed for the 2019-20 campaign. She is the fourth blueliner to be signed by the Pride thus far, and their seventh player total since free agency began on May 15.
“Nothing compares to the energy of a sold-out Warrior, and I can’t wait to get the season started,” Souliotis in the release on her signing, referring to the Pride’s home rink, Warrior Ice Arena. “I’m proud to play in the NWHL with so many young women and to provide little girls the role models to look up to in pro hockey that I never had. Our fans are the best and we want to bring Isobel to Boston this season!”
The Pride drafted Souliotis with the eighth overall pick of the 2017 NWHL Draft. After wrapping up her senior season at Yale University, she debuted in the Boston lineup at the tail end of of the 2017-18 regular season. Souliotis played her first two professional games on Mar. 3, 2018 against the Connecticut Whale and Mar. 10, 2018 against the Metropolitan Riveters.
Full Season Proof of Souliotis’ Immense Value
After her initial debut, Souliotis played her first full segment of duty with the Pride this past 2018-19 season. She suited up in 14 of “The Pack’s” 16 regular season games, plus the team’s lone playoff game. In the process she chipped in three goals and three assists for six total points.
Souliotis’ three goals during the regular season tied her with Toni Ann Miano for most goals by a Pride defender. She scored her first professional goal on Dec. 9, 2018 during a 5-2 victory over Metro. It was a power play goal, with Miano picking up the lone assist.
That particular game was an all-around solid one for Souliotis, as she added a shorthanded assist on Amanda Pelkey’s opening score of the game, blocked a shot, and fired three shots on goal. It was also her second of two 2-point games during the 2018-19 season.
“Mallory got better and better as the season went on for us because she is always working at her game,” said Boston head coach Paul Mara. “She has the potential to be one of our top defenders this season, so we’re really happy to have her signed.”
Souliotis’ Character in the Community
One final statistic to mention about Souliotis’ play is that her plus/minus rating came out to a plus-9 at the close of the regular season. Only Boston’s McKenna Brand (plus-11) had a better number among the team’s skaters. That same plus/minus has Souliotis tied among the top-10 skaters league-wide for this particular category.
In addition to her solid play on Boston’s back end, Souliotis very much involved herself with the local community. She became a fan favorite in a relatively short period of time and it was easy to see why. Positive interactions with youngsters at rinkside were a common occurrence whenever Souliotis was around.
Additionally, this summer she began running her own hockey business, Mallory Souliotis’ Elite Summer Hockey Training.
“With the help of a few friends, I wanted to gear the camp towards girls, but I have left it open to boys, too,” Souliotis stated about the program. “I am just hoping to get them on the ice and keep them from getting rusty over the summer. There are lot of tournaments and showcases over the summer so hopefully I can help them prepare for those, too. For the off-ice program, I want to get kids to the gym so they can start learning proper form and understanding the benefits of strength and conditioning.”
Initiatives such as these saw Souliotis become Boston’s recipient of the 2019 NWHL Foundation Award. The honor is bestowed annually to one player from each of the league’s teams, deeming the chosen player as the individual most actively applying the core values of hockey to her community, as well as growing and improving hockey culture.
Already re-signing three of their eight defenders from last season – and those three also being their top-3 rearguards for scoring – has the Pride sitting in a very good position already. Boston finished the 2018-19 season with a record of 11-5-0. They also scored the most amount of goals – 60 in 16 games – out of all of the five NWHL teams.
Here is a look at how the Pride’s roster is currently shaping out as of Jun. 5:
Defense: Kaleigh Fratkin, Jenna Rheault, Lexi Bender, Mallory Souliotis.
Forward: Tori Sullivan, Christina Putigna, Lexie Laing.
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 Dan Rice will keep THW readers up-to-date on Metropolitan and Connecticut’s signings throughout the summer, while I post updates on Buffalo and Boston. Together we will be keeping readers informed of all of Minnesota’s signings.