The Minnesota Whitecaps have just bolstered their blue line and in a major way. Word was released on the morning of Sept. 3, 2019 that University of Minnesota star Sydney Baldwin had been signed by the team. Baldwin is now the fifth defender the Whitecaps have brought aboard, and she will be one of their most decorated players on their 2019-20 roster.
“Sydney was a great star in high school and college,” said Whitecaps GM and co-head coach Jack Brodt in the press release. “We have no doubt she’ll be an outstanding player in the NWHL and a leader of our defense.”
Baldwin is a two-time NCAA champion with the Golden Gophers and a two-time silver medalist for Team USA in IIHF Women’s U18 World Championship competition. She has partaken in multiple USA Hockey development camps and competitions since 2012.
Baldwin’s Teenage Success and Beyond
Baldwin is a native of Minnetonka, Minnesota. She stands 5-foot-8 and around the 150-pound mark. Possessing a left-handed shot, Baldwin can be quite lethal from the point – particularly with a hard wrister through traffic.
Widespread notice of the sizable defender’s abilities first took shape during her teenage years at Minnetonka High School. Baldwin was a three-time all-state honoree and led Minnetonka to an unprecedented three-straight Minnesota Class AA State titles in 2011, 2012 and 2013. She was named to the all-tournament team in each of those seasons as well.
Baldwin’s 2014 senior year saw her captain her high school, and be named Ms. Hockey Minnesota. The award is presented annually to the top senior girls’ high school hockey player in the state.
Upon graduating from high school, Baldwin would embark on her NCAA career for the Golden Gophers beginning with the 2014-15 season. The accolades continued to abound from there. The team would win the National Championship in both her freshman and sophomore seasons. Baldwin was named to the WCHA All-Rookie Team in her first season as well.
Things only got better.
Baldwin recorded double digits in points during all four of Golden Gopher campaigns. Her career numbers finished at 24-57-81 in 158 games, while her career plus/minus come out to a staggering plus-132.
In her senior 2017-18 season, Baldwin was named co-captain of the team, set career highs in goals (12), assists (20) and points (32), was named a CCM/AHCA First Team All-American, a Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award top-10 finalist, the WCHA Player of the Year, the WCHA Defensive Player of the Year, and All-WCHA First Team honoree.
Beginning Her NWHL Career Back Home
Having wrapped up her time with the Golden Gophers, Baldwin played the 2018-19 season in the EWHL for Austria’s EHV Sabres Wien. She would help her team finish at the top of the standings with a record of 14-1-0-0, while Baldwin herself went 8-14-22 in 12 games before the Sabres lost in the final.
Now she is back Stateside and ready to enjoy her first season of NWHL play.
“I am incredibly passionate about the game of hockey and am excited to continue my journey on the ice and be a part of the Whitecaps,” said Baldwin. “My goal is to start the year strong and give the fans entertaining games and help the team defend the Isobel Cup. I’m very grateful for this and looking forward to the start of the NWHL season.”
With this signing, the Whitecaps have undoubtedly signed their premier defender, and one who more than fills the shoes of the departed Lee Stecklein. If Minnesota decides to partner Baldwin with Amanda Boulier, they could arguably have the best defense pairing in the entire league.
It would stand to reason that Baldwin would also be excited about rejoining her former Golden Gophers teammates Amanda Leveille, Meghan Lorence, and Nicole Schammel – all four are now Whitecaps.
Here is a look at how Minnesota’s roster looks as of Sept. 3:
Goaltender: Amanda Leveille, Allie Morse.
Defense: Amanda Boulier, Lisa Martinson, Chelsey Brodt Rosenthal, Winny Brodt Brown, Sydney Baldwin.
Forward: Allie Thunstrom, Jonna Curtis, Nicole Schammel, Brooke White-Lancette, Haylea Schmid, Meghan Lorence, Audra Richards, Stephanie Anderson, Meaghan Pezon.
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 Dan Rice will keep THW readers up-to-date on Metropolitan and Connecticut’s signings throughout the summer, while I post updates on Buffalo and Boston. Together we will be keeping readers informed of all of Minnesota’s signings.
General Manager of the Buffalo Beauts (NWHL). Hockey history writer “The Hockey Writers”. Credentialed media for the NHL Combine and 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships in Buffalo, NY, USA. Born and raised in Buffalo, NY. Lifelong hockey fan for over 40 years. Proponent of the women’s game.