For a good portion of this off-season, the Metropolitan Riveters had the least amount of players signed as the other four NWHL teams kept announcing signings of players in bunches. Fast forward to today and now the Rivs now have 19 players on their roster for the upcoming season, currently the second-most behind the defending Isobel Cup champion Minnesota Whitecaps (23).
Kate the Great
Major kudos go to GM Kate Whitman Annis who ferociously took on the challenge of rebooting a franchise that had lost so many familiar faces this offseason. After this week’s two signings, Whitman Annis has now brought in 15 new faces to complement the four returning Riveters players.
One of the new faces is Kate Leary, a forward who led the Swiss Hockey League (SWHL) in scoring last season and the previous two seasons she led the CWHL’s Boston Blades in goals and points. Prior to her turning pro and joining the Blades Leary played 149 games for Boston College where she put up 85 points (42g-43a).
“I jumped at the chance to play pro hockey back in the U.S. in a great league,” Leary said in the press release announcing her signing on Sept. 23. “I cannot wait to get started with the Riveters.” Last season in the SWHL Leary posted a league-high 33 goals in 20 games while helping Lugano win the championship after a regular season where the team was 18-1-1. Her 33 goals are the fourth-highest total in over a decade of Swiss pro women’s hockey.
Much to the delight of NWHL fans and especially Riveters fans, on Sept. 24 defender Kiira Dosdall re-signed for her fifth season with the team and league. Dosdall joins teammate Madison Packer, Corinne Buie of the Buffalo Beauts, Jillian Dempsey and Kaleigh Fratkin of the Boston Pride, and Jordan Brickner, Elena Orlando, and Shannon Doyle as the remaining eight players who have been a part of the NWHL since its inception.
Dosdall and Dempsey are tied as the NWHL all-time leaders in games played and her 23 career points are second among all defenders in franchise history. “We are incredibly happy to welcome Kiira back for her fifth season,” said Whitman Annis in the press release. “As an original Riveter, she will bring her years of experience in the league to help lead this young, talented team to the Isobel Cup once again.”
Her experience, tenacity, and length will be a huge boost to the defense corps of the Riveters as they try to put last year’s disappointing season in the rearview mirror. “I am inspired by the mission and work of the NWHL, and I am proud to play for a league that was founded by women, and for female athletes and the fans who believe in them,” said Dosdall in the release.
“I believe that future generations deserve more, and I am motivated to further build on this foundation with the NWHL. Can’t wait to start season 5!”
Here’s how the Riveters roster looks as of September 24:
Goaltender: Sam Walther, Dana DeMartino
Defense: Rebecca Morse (D/F) Colleen Murphy, Lexi Slattery (D/F), Cassie Dunne, Leila Kilduff, Kiira Dosdall
Forward: Madison Packer, Cailey Hutchinson, Kendall Cornine, Tatiana Shatalova, Mallory Rushton (D/F), Nicole Arnold, Bulbul Kartanbay, Brooke Avery, Brooke Baker, Nichelle Simon, Kate Leary
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 Nathaniel Oliver will keep THW readers up-to-date on Buffalo and Boston’s signings throughout the summer, while I post updates on Connecticut and the Riveters. Together we will be keeping readers informed of all of Minnesota’s signings.
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.