As the Minnesota Whitecaps wait for the all-clear to finally get back on the ice in preparation for the postponed Isobel Cup Final they made a key transaction as NWHL teams begin to prepare for their sixth season. On April 7 Allie Thunstrom, who was named co-MVP (along with Boston’s Jillian Dempsey) at the end of the season, became the Whitecaps first player under contract for the 2020-21 season. Last summer she was also the first player that Minnesota re-signed as part of their title defense.
Thunstrom, a former Olympic caliber speed skater, not only won the Fastest Skater event during All-Star Weekend in Boston this past February, but she also led the league in goals (24) and finished tied with teammate Jonna Curtis for second in the league in points (36). The 31-year-old was also a recipient of the 2020 NWHL Foundation Award for her service to the game.
Not only is she a frequent guest of Minnesota elementary schools, where she speaks about the importance of being good students and citizens, but she also works with young players and teams of all levels in teammate Winny Brodt Brown’s Os Hockey program.
“The past two years playing with the Whitecaps in the NWHL have been nothing short of amazing – the most enjoyable of my entire career,” said Thunstrom in the press release announcing her signing. It was Thunstrom who scored the lone goal in Minnesota’s 1-0 overtime win over the Metropolitan Riveters.
In 40 career NWHL games the Maplewood, Minnesota native has amassed 48 points (30g-18a) and this past season she recorded nine consecutive multi-point games (Jan. 11-Feb. 29). While playing for Boston College Thunstrom racked up 141 points in 139 games, and was the winner of Minnesota’s Ms. Hockey Award in 2006.
“It’s not only the competitiveness of the league and the camaraderie with teammates who have become family, but the opportunity to grow the women’s game and put smiles on young kids’ faces, and give them something to dream about,” added Thunstrom. “It’s more than I could have hoped for. For a little girl who once looked up to Pavel Bure and didn’t understand why that couldn’t be my reality someday, this experience has meant everything to me.”
With the sports world shut down currently players, especially the Whitecaps and Boston Pride, are having to find creative ways to stay in shape. Thunstrom is no different and can be seen shooting pucks in a driveway in the tweet below. If one had to guess that’s probably not the only off-ice training that she’s been doing as well.
“I’m super excited to (officially) be back for NWHL Season 6 and can’t wait to play in front of the world’s best fans at TRIA Rink once again,” added Thunstrom. “We miss all of you guys and can’t thank you enough for all of the support you have given us over the years. Let’s all stick together through this tough time, and soon enough we’ll be back at TRIA with Kirk, Rick, Cappy, and the crew, playing the best game on the planet.”
In both of her seasons in the NWHL Thunstrom was named to the All-Star Game, but it was this season where she really flourished which was a byproduct of more ice-time and chemistry with her teammates/linemates.
Not only did she lead the league in goals this past season, but she also led the league in shorthanded goals (2) in addition to finishing third in points-per-game average (1.5), third in game-winning goals (3), third in shots on goal (142), and sixth in power-play goals (3).
Thunstrom alluded to the closeness of the current Whitecaps team, which was evident by 13 players from the 2019 Isobel Cup championship team re-signing this past summer. With her now assured of speeding up and down the ice in a black no. 9 jersey for her home team again, we will likely see a significant chunk of the team following suit and suiting up for Minnesota again.
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.