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.
On July 26 the Whitecaps signed Kendall Coyne-Schofield, the third member of Team USA’s Gold Medal winning squad from the 2018 Winter Olympics to sign with the newest NWHL team this off-season. In college at Northeastern University, Coyne-Schofield racked up an amazing 249 points (141g-108a) in 133 games, highlighted by her 50 goals and 84 points over 37 games (!) during the 2015-16 season. Over the last two Winter Olympics, she amassed nine points (4g-5a) over ten games.
“I’m excited to return to the Minnesota Whitecaps,” said Coyne-Schofield, who played with the Whitecaps during the 2016-17 season when they were an independent club. “For over 12 years the Whitecaps have laid the foundation, giving women a place to play hockey after college. Everyone that makes up the Whitecaps organization is first-class and I am excited to be a part of that again.”
The 26-year-old enters the league as one of the most talented and decorated players, she is a five-time gold medalist at the World Championships in addition to her gold and silver medals at the Olympics. At the inaugural NWHL Draft (2015) she was the third overall pick by the Boston Pride. She joins her Olympic teammates Hannah Brandt and Lee Stecklein in Minnesota.
“Come to watch us play – you won’t regret it,” Coyne-Schofield added in the press release announcing her signing. “In fact, you’ll probably come back!”
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.