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.
ICYMI: Former @PWIH teammates Kelsey Koelzer and Fiona McKenna reunite to defend the Isobel Cup Championship. McKenna signs with the Rivs for 2018-19!
— Metropolitan Riveters (@Riveters) August 10, 2018
On August 10 the Riveters signed a new player for the upcoming season, and they didn’t have to go too far to find her. Fiona McKenna from Princeton University signed her first pro contract with the NWHL team that plays in the same state in which she attended college. McKenna, a native of Illinois, played for the Tigers from 2013-17 and she also played soccer in college.
“I was determined to join the NWHL after seeing and hearing first-hand from one of my best friends and teammates at Princeton, Kelsey Koelzer, on the culture and pioneering success of the NWHL and specifically, the Riveters,” the 23-year-old said in the press release announcing her signing. “For the past year, I missed the game of hockey and being on a team. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to play for the Riveters and support the growth of women’s professional hockey.
McKenna is the third member of the Rivs with connections to the women’s hockey team in Princeton along with Koelzer and Kelly Nash, who is currently an assistant coach for the Ivy League school. She developed her game in the Chicago Mission Hockey Club program for six seasons where she was teammates with current Riveters goaltender and fellow Illinois native Katie Fitzgerald.
“My playing style revolves around strong skating and I like to focus on working as hard as I can each and every shift on the forecheck and the backcheck,” said McKenna who had 28 points (11g-17a) at Princeton. “I hope to contribute to the reigning Isobel Cup champions in whatever role and in whatever way the team needs.”
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.