On August 15 the Metropolitan Riveters continued to remake their roster with the signing of St. Louis native Nicole Arnold. She is one of five rookie forwards currently under contract with likely more coming as the Riveters go through their most radical roster transformation in the history of their franchise.
“Nicole plays the game with passion and intensity. She’s a perfect fit for our forward corps,” said Riveters GM Kate Whitman Annis in a press release announcing the signing. Arnold played two seasons at the University of Maine (63 games) and spent ten games last season with the St. Louis University men’s ACHA team where she put up seven points (2g-5a); she also appeared in three playoff games for Djurgardens IF in the SDHL last spring.
“Growing up, I never would have imagined the opportunity to play competitive hockey after graduation and the fact that this is a reality only adds to my excitement,” said the 23-year-old Arnold. “The enthusiasm of the Riveters’ staff has been evident from the first time we spoke, and I can’t wait to get on the ice in September.
Back home she worked for the St. Louis Blues in the Little Blues Learn to Play hockey development program. While playing in the NWHL, Arnold will continue to work remotely on domestic violence policy research.
Living the Dream
On August 16 the Rivs added more international flavor to the roster when they came to terms with Bulbul Kartanbay, making her the first native of Kazakhstan to sign in the NWHL. A few days prior it was announced that they had signed Tatiana Shatalova from the Russian National Team.
“We are really proud to welcome Bulbul to the Riveters and the NWHL. Her skill, dedication to the game, and incredible enthusiasm will make her a valuable player for our team, and a favorite of fans,” Whitman Annis said in the press release.
“My dream came true,” said Kartanbay in the press release announcing her signing. She had become well-known in the women’s hockey community over the past few years for her passionate pursuit of playing professional hockey in North America.
“I am grateful to life for the opportunities that have opened before me. Now it’s time to compete in the NWHL among many of the top players in the world,” added Kartanbay, who has been a part of the Kazakhstan National Team since she was a teenager. She has competed for her home country in five World Championships to date and last season she skated for the Calgary Coyotes in the Southern Alberta Women’s Hockey Association.
With only two players currently under contract that have played for the Riveters previously (Madison Packer, Rebecca Morse) and a total of three players (Colleen Murphy) who have played in the league previously, no one knows what to expect from the franchise this year as they aim to erase the memory of a lost season that followed the 2018 Isobel Cup championship.
Under new head coach Ivo Mocek the Rivs will be an intriguing team to watch for sure once the season begins in early October.
Here is what the Riveters roster currently looks like as of August 17:
Defense: Colleen Murphy
Forward: Madison Packer, Cailey Hutchinson, Rebecca Morse, Kendall Cornine, Tatiana Shatalova, Nicole Arnold, Bulbul Kartanbay
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.