On June 6 the Minnesota Whitecaps’ defense of their Isobel Cup title got a little stronger when they announced they had come to terms with winger Jonna Curtis. The 25-year-old finished last season with 19 points (8g-11a), which was second in the NWHL, added an assist in the postseason and following the season she was named the Newcomer of the Year.
Of her three game-winning goals none was more important than Curtis’ late goal against the Boston Pride during the final weekend of the campaign that pretty much locked up home-ice advantage for the playoffs. “I see myself as a hardworking player. I’m not the most skilled or fastest player, but I love making plays and getting to the net,” said Curtis of what her game on the ice is like.
Prior to joining the NWHL Curtis was a scoring star at the University of New Hampshire where she put up 106 points (54g-52a) in 161 games and she was twice named Hockey East All-Star Honorable Mention.
Curtis Making a Name for Herself
“Last year was my first in the NWHL and within that year, I felt the momentum for women’s hockey had grown so much,” said Curtis, who had five points in two games against the Metropolitan Riveters (Oct. 20-21) and was named the VEDA NWHL Player of the Week. She also was selected to play in the NWHL All-Star Game in Nashville in mid-February.
On a roster that featured names like Kendall Coyne Schofield, Hannah Brandt, and Lee Stecklein, it was Curtis who outscored them all and helped guide the Whitecaps to the league’s best record. In 18 total games, she was held off the scoresheet only five times and had four multi-point games – highlighted by a four-point performance (1g-3a) in a 9-0 waxing of the Connecticut Whale on Jan. 20.
Curtis’ quickness was on display throughout the season for Minnesota as she skated past opposing defenders on the regular. To say she was a big part of their championship would be an understatement, and she wants to win again.
Eyes on the Prize
“I just recently took the Isobel Cup back to my hometown (Elk River) and the amount of support and excitement around the NWHL and Minnesota Whitecaps was so thrilling to see,” she said in the press release announcing her signing.
“I want to continue to shine a light on our game for as long as I can,” she added. “It’s such a great experience and I couldn’t be more excited to play for the Whitecaps again.”
Curtis is the third member of the defending champs to re-sign since free agency began, joining forward Allie Thunstrom and goaltender Amanda Leveille. That’s a pretty good trio to start with when you are trying to put together a championship team.
“My goal this season is to continue to be an offensive threat and be a reliable teammate in all aspects of the game,” said Curtis. “For my team, the goal is to continue to have a fun yet hardworking team and ultimately take home the Isobel Cup again!”
There are a few players who were with the Whitecaps last season that may be sitting this season out, but that just opens up opportunities for other players from the State of Hockey to step up and make a name for themselves.
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.