The Minnesota Whitecaps announced seven signings over the past eight days, bringing their roster total to 23 as organized practices have just gotten underway around the league.
On Oct. 27, the 2019 Isobel Cup champions re-signed forward Brooke White-Lancette and defender Rose Alleva, and also signed defender Sara Bustad who played last season (her first in the NWHL) with the Buffalo Beauts.
On Nov. 4 Minnesota announced the re-signings of forwards Lauren Barnes, Nina Rodgers, and Haylea Schmid, and the signing of forward/defender Lynn Astrup from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
“Brooke is a team leader and the hardest worker on our team. Rose’s good hands and quick moves are a great asset in breaking out the puck,” said Minnesota GM and co-head coach Jack Brodt of the latest signings. “Sara will bolster our defense and her ability to make quick plays should add to our offense. I’m confident that all three players will play important roles in helping the Whitecaps retain the Isobel Cup.”
“Haylea has been one of our best all-zone forwards, while Lauren’s unstoppable enthusiasm and gritty play sets the example for our whole team,” added Brodt. “Nina’s stickhandling ability and accurate shot make her an important weapon for us this season. And we are excited to welcome Lynn. She has outstanding speed and plays with determination. This is a very important group of signings for the Minnesota Whitecaps.”
It certainly is important, as it means that 18 of the 23 players signed for the upcoming season were on the team this past season. Two players (Bustad, Corinne Buie) have joined the team from Buffalo. Astrup is only the third rookie on the Whitecaps roster this season.
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White-Lancette is an original member of the Whitecaps (before they joined the NWHL) and this past season she netted her first NWHL goal (Oct. 26 at Connecticut). She finished with three points (2g-1a) in ten games after registering one assist in two games the previous season.
“I’m so proud to be a part of the Minnesota Whitecaps,” said White-Lancette in the press release announcing the signing. “Nothing compares to being on the ice with your teammates, and to have the opportunity to defend and compete for the Isobel Cup is something truly special.”
“As always, I’d like to thank the NWHL, the Whitecaps organization, our coaching staff, loyal fans, TRIA Orthopedic, TRIA Rink, the Minnesota Wild, my teammates, and my family for making it possible to be a part of the game we’re all blessed to play.”
Alleva returns for her second season on the Whitecaps blueline. She appeared in 17 of 24 games as a rookie and blocked 14 shots after playing the previous two seasons in the CWHL which followed a four-year career at Princeton University.
“It is an honor to be playing again for the Whitecaps,” said Alleva. “I love what our team stands for and our efforts to grow the game. I can’t wait to start (playing) games in the new year!”
Barnes is back for a third season with the league/Whitecaps and was a part of the 2019 Isobel Cup championship team. This past season she set career-highs in points (13) and assists (11) – highlighted by a four-game point streak from Jan. 11-19. She was also the best of Minnesota’s centers in the face-off circle (.473 winning percentage). In 32 career games, she has 16 points (4g-12a) and has one goal in three playoff games.
“The Whitecaps have truly become family to me,” Barnes said in the press release announcing the signing. We’ve gone through so much together from winning the Isobel Cup, to advancing to the 2020 Cup Final (canceled due to the pandemic). This season will look completely different than anything we have ever seen. These women and coaches are people I admire and I am thankful to stand by them each day as we inspire the generations to come after us.”
“To the fans: none of this would be possible without you! The State of Hockey continuously has shown up for us year after year and we can’t thank you guys enough. ROLL CAPS!”
Like Barnes, Schmid was also on the Isobel Cup-winning squad and also like Barnes, she had a fantastic campaign this past season. After only registering one assist in six games as an NWHL rookie, Schmid responded with 13 points (4g-9a) in 24 games, including three game-winning goals. She made her playoff debut this past season.
“I’m looking forward to a fun year with the Whitecaps and fighting to bring the Isobel Cup back to the State of Hockey,” she said in the press release.
Rodgers played in seven games last season for the Whitecaps after appearing in 15 the year before with the Connecticut Whale. In both seasons she recorded four points and has eight (3g-5a) career points.
“I’m super excited to be a part of the NWHL, and the Whitecaps once again,” said Rodgers. “Especially during these uncertain times, I am so grateful for this opportunity to showcase our sport as well as being a role model for all of the youngsters out there.”
Bustad Comes Home
A native of Stillwater, Minnesota, Bustad returns to the State of Hockey after one season in Buffalo. She played in 23 games last season, tallying 11 points (2g-9a), blocked 14 shots, and was tied for second on the team in assists (9). The former Minnesota Maverick also played a bit a forward for the Beauts, so she gives the Whitecaps some flexibility in a pinch if needed.
“I’m beyond excited to join the Minnesota Whitecaps for my second season in the NWHL,” Bustad said in the press release announcing the signing. “It’s great to be back in the Minnesota hockey community. I’m looking forward to being teammates with the women I grew up playing with and against.”
“Thank you to the Buffalo Beauts organization, my teammates, and the supporters for my professional hockey experience in New York last year.”
Here is how the Whitecaps roster looks as of Nov. 4:
Forwards (13): Allie Thunstrom, Corinne Buie, Jonna Curtis, Audra Richards, Meaghan Pezon, Meghan Lorence, Nicole Anderson, Haley Mack, Brooke White-Lancette, Haylea Schmid, Nina Rodgers, Lauren Barnes, Lynn Astrup.
Defenders (8): Chelsey Brodt-Rosenthal, Winny Brodt Brown, Amanda Boulier, Emma Stauber, Lisa Martinson, Maddie Rowe, Sara Bustad, Rose Alleva.
Goalies (2): Amanda Leveille and Allie Morse.
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.