The second season of the NWHL is almost upon us, with camps set to open this week and the real games begin on the first weekend in October in Buffalo. For a league that has yet to secure a deal to air its games on television regularly, the best way to keep up with all of the players and events occurring is via social media channels and watching the games streamed over the internet. A lot of the players have been very active on social media channels, as the women know they must do their part to help grow the game, spread the message of the NWHL and it’s a great way for the fans to interact with and get to know these dynamic personalities.
This guide will help you to follow and get to know some of the great women of the Founding Four teams. The New York Riveters had a rocky inaugural season, finishing in last place among the four teams before being swept in the opening round of the playoffs by the eventual Isobel Cup champion Boston Pride. They were competitive most nights thanks to strong goalie play from Nana Fujimoto and Jenny Scrivens, often falling just short in games due to lack of scoring punch and were also part of the first trade in league history when they acquired goaltender Chelsea Laden from the Connecticut Whale for netminder Shenae Lundberg.
This upcoming season the Riveters roster will look a bit different than last season with the additions of a pair of former Golden Gophers – Amanda Kessel and Milica McMillen, a pair of former Whale players – Kaleigh Fratkin and Jaimie Leonoff, and a pair of players that earned contracts after impressive showings at the first NWHL Free Agent Camp – Rebecca Russo and Alexa Gruschow. Only eight players from last season’s team return – and two of those are on the practice squad. Coach Chad Wiseman was given the GM role after last season and was aggressive this summer in rebuilding the Rives, starting with acquiring an all-world talent in Kessel.
New York Riveters
The Riveters can be found on Twitter: @NYRiveters / Facebook: @newyorkriveters / Instagram: @nyriveters
Our regular season schedule has been released! Check it out! (then go buy tickets at https://t.co/i5LHbTp3cn) pic.twitter.com/XFw2NC0ObR
— Metropolitan Riveters (@Riveters) August 15, 2016
After playing their inaugural season in Brooklyn, New York at the Aviator Sports Center, the Riveters will now play their home games at the Barnabas Health Hockey House (@NJDHockeyHouse) in Newark, New Jersey, which is attached to the Prudential Center and is also the practice rink for the New Jersey Devils.
Courtney Burke (@courtyy6 on Twitter) signed with the Riveters this offseason after a stellar career with Wisconsin. The Albany-native was originally drafted fourth overall by the Buffalo Beauts.
Congrats to #Badgers captain @courtyy6, who signed with the @NYRiveters of the @NWHL today! pic.twitter.com/N1bD3NAOxi
— Wisconsin Hockey (@BadgerWHockey) May 5, 2016
Miye D’Oench (@Me_yay_doench on Twitter) was signed by the Riveters after they traded for her rights with Boston, who had selected the Harvard grad 15th overall in the 2015 NWHL Draft.
So cool to get to share the ice with this legend again next season. Welcome to being a New Yorker @shellfish20! #LGR pic.twitter.com/UcpHrFfKAq
— Miye D'Oench (@Me_yay_doench) June 19, 2016
Kiira Dosdall (@KDosdall on Twitter) is back for season two with the Riveters after really excelling at the tail end of last season. Her presence at both ends of the ice (and shootout!) was a bright spot in a rough season for New York.
Gabie Figueroa (@GabieFigueroa on Twitter) the only New Jersey native on the team will be a practice player this season after the Princeton-grad played in every game for the inaugural Riveters squad.
Rivals during the game today, but @PWIH forever. We're always thinking about you @dlaing14 #14Strong #2Denna4Ever pic.twitter.com/FSZFGRA6Pl
— Gabriella Figueroa (@GabieFigueroa) January 10, 2016
1. I'd be a pro hockey player&
2. Have a goal on @NHLNetwork & @MSGNetworks
Go @NYRiveters! #DreamBig pic.twitter.com/ISVDcCO1uq
— Gabriella Figueroa (@GabieFigueroa) October 20, 2015
Katie Fitzgerald (@kfitzy94 on Twitter) although it hasn’t been officially reported by the league as of press time, all signs indicate that Fitzgerald has signed with the Riveters with another goaltender (Shin) having possible visa issues.
"It's nice to be back doing what I love. It still feels pretty surreal"@kfitzy94 dishes on joining the @NYRiveters https://t.co/siA2HuanEo
— St. Cloud State WHockey (@SCSUHUSKIES_WHK) August 26, 2016
Kaleigh Fratkin (@fratkin13 on Twitter) joined the Riveters on the first day of free agency. Buffalo’s Megan Bozek may have the league’s hardest shot, but Fratkin led all blueliners in points in the first NWHL season.
.@fratkin13 led all defensmen in points last season (17). Will she repeat with the @NYRiveters? #NWHLStats pic.twitter.com/rwifI93AAt
— NWHL Statistics (@NWHLStats) August 17, 2016
Found Rosie the Riveter on @Snapchat this morning! Getting ready for October😉💪🏼 #JoinTheRush pic.twitter.com/eWYYPGYUBK
— Kaleigh Fratkin (@fratkin13) June 21, 2016
Morgan Fritz-Ward (@fritz_ward on Twitter) rejoins the Riveters after the Iowa-native played a solid two-way game last season – and the fan favorite of the first players to sign this offseason.
Guess who's back? @madison_packer_ and @fritz_ward! 🇺🇸💪😍❤️💙
Details: https://t.co/dn5ry8nD6M pic.twitter.com/16qKpDAEfy
— Metropolitan Riveters (@Riveters) April 6, 2016
Alexa Gruschow (@AlexaGruschow on Twitter) is an RPI grad from Pennsylvania (Mechanicsburg) and was signed by the Riveters this summer after performing well at the first free agent camp that was held in New Jersey.
Alexa Gruschow (@AlexaGruschow) has signed with @NYRiveters after attending Free Agent Camp https://t.co/Lgk6LRjuMd pic.twitter.com/W2JcvmJkJb
— NWHL (@NWHL) June 20, 2016
Taylor Holze (@taytwofour on Twitter) joins the Riveters as a practice player – with blazing speed – after her season was cut short last year due to an injury sustained after falling through an open bench door.
if this isn't the point I'm not quite sure what is #NWHL #futuredraftpick #likeAgirl pic.twitter.com/FnKmS3f205
— Taylor Holze (@taytwofour) November 17, 2015
Ashley Johnston (@strettyit on Twitter) returns for her second season with the Riveters as captain. The 24-year-old Union College grad brings a cannon from the blueline and is one of the taller players on the team at 6’0”.
Reason #1 why I love the game. Is it game day yet @NYRiveters ? #futuredraftpick pic.twitter.com/6nFg2JZRSS
— Stretch (@strettyit) July 29, 2016
Amanda Kessel (@AmandaKessel8 on Twitter) gives the Rivs what they sorely lacked last season – a star, and an impact player who can score goals. She’s also a US Olympian, which is another aspect the Riveters were without, the only of the four teams without one. Her decision to sign with them was easily the biggest move in the league during the offseason.
— Amanda Kessel (@AmandaKessel28) June 13, 2016
Bray Ketchum (@bdk27 on Twitter) was their leading goal scorer (10) and returns for season two with the Rivs. She wears 17 to honor her late teammate at Yale, Mandi Schwartz.
Thanks for having us, @a_nicodemo! "Reading with the Riveters" was fun! pic.twitter.com/D5EYEhA7RL
— Bray Ketchum Peel (@bdk27) August 15, 2016
#tbt to when playing professional hockey was just a dream! #HistoryBegins October 11. @NWHL_ @NYRiveters pic.twitter.com/HUIIFfKpw2
— Bray Ketchum Peel (@bdk27) October 8, 2015
Jaimie Leonoff (@jaimieleonoff on Twitter) signed with the Riveters after a fantastic inaugural campaign with the Whale: 10 games played, 7-3-0, 2.96 GAA, .936 save %. But she only has one career tweet.
Milica McMillen (@mamcmillen73 on Twitter) joins the Riveters after finishing her college career at Minnesota with two National Titles and as the fourth-highest scoring defender in program history. She’s a pretty fun follow on Twitter and even took over the Rivs account during the Olympics; highly recommended follow.
I'm tweeting about the #Olympics from the @NYRiveters account today! You can follow along from there @NWHL
— Milica McMillen (@MeatzMcMillen) August 20, 2016
ICYMI: My Q & A with Milica McMillen of the New York Riveters https://t.co/qIkEU7Z6gY via @TheHockeyWriter #NWHL #THW #NYRiveters
— Dan Rice (@DRdiabloTHW) June 30, 2016
Madison Packer (@madison_packer_ on Twitter) like Fritz-Ward was signed at the opening of free agency and is part of the core that Wiseman appears to be building around. After missing a few games due to injury, she could be a big contributor this season with a different dynamic of players on the roster.
Our @YouCanPlayTeam ambassador for this season will be @madison_packer_ !https://t.co/VP2cEOw0Y1 pic.twitter.com/1MNC0zPHXi
— Metropolitan Riveters (@Riveters) August 2, 2016
Meet our athlete ambassador, Madison Packerl! #IEXCELLE @madison_packer_ pic.twitter.com/qKv2IDQjsw
— Excelle Sports (@ExcelleSports) June 28, 2016
Michelle Picard (@shellfish20 on Twitter) drafted sixth overall by Connecticut in 2015 her rights were traded to the Rivs and it gives the team a total of two US Olympians (Kessel) after they had zero last season.
So honored and grateful for the opportunity to play in the @NWHL this season! Thank you @NYRiveters for welcoming me to the family!
— Michelle Picard (@shellfish20) June 20, 2016
.@harvardcrimson defenseman Michelle Picard (@shellfish20) signed w/ @NYRiveters yesterday https://t.co/zndPgK99p7 pic.twitter.com/oRVnAZ5sy6
— NWHL (@NWHL) June 14, 2016
Tatiana Rafter (@tatianarafter on Twitter) was the last player in the NWHL to sign this offseason and joins the Riveters after spending the inaugural season in Buffalo. She has done some writing for THW and Stanley Cup of Chowder.
Check out the Playoff Edition of my Blog – My Life as a #NWHL Pro, Behind the Scenes! https://t.co/HAK5440Yj7 via #THW @BuffaloBeauts
— Tatiana Rafter (@tatianarafter) March 10, 2016
Well.. I'm off to New York! 🏒 Read about the announcement here! #NWHL #RivsNation @NWHL @NYRiveters NWHL https://t.co/mmt7ereij6
— Tatiana Rafter (@tatianarafter) August 5, 2016
Rebecca Russo (@russooo18 on Twitter) signed with the Riveters after impressing Wiseman at the first NWHL Free Agent camp this offseason in New Jersey in Early June. She had 89 points in 144 games while at Boston University.
Rebecca Russo (@russooo18) signed with the @NYRiveters yesterday https://t.co/PbvA35ODsB
📷: Carolyn Bick/BU News pic.twitter.com/9ObsEuR4Ov
— NWHL (@NWHL) June 29, 2016
So happy to be doing "Reading with the Riveters" with my teammate and good friend @bdk27 on Monday! 📚 @NYRiveters pic.twitter.com/WOItMh40o1
— Rebecca Russo (@russooo18) August 12, 2016
Sojung Shin (@golri31 on Twitter) signed in late July to be the backup goalie, she may have work visa issues but the league, nor the team have made any announcements regarding it.
And with Fitzgerald signing with NY, sounds like Sojung Shin had some visa issues. Fitzgerald takes her spot. #NWHL pic.twitter.com/sC4JKkb79P
— Hannah Bevis (@Hannah_Bevis1) August 27, 2016
IIHF World Championship goalie Sojung Shin (@golri31) signed with the @NYRiveters yesterday https://t.co/oYQaKltBJL pic.twitter.com/Ri8hwX9MMK
— NWHL (@NWHL) July 28, 2016
Janine Weber (@j9weber15 on Twitter) returns for year two with the Riveters after playing in all of their games last season. With a better supporting cast, we expect her numbers to skyrocket in year two. She was the first ever player to sign in the NWHL.
Start bidding on these sweet pink jerseys and support @hopeheroes! https://t.co/pOzYT1u1Rv #StridesForTheCure pic.twitter.com/7glN1A1273
— Janine Weber (@j9weber15) October 30, 2015
Kiira Dosdall (@KDosdall) & Janine Weber (@j9weber15) are #ReppingTheRivs tomorrow at #WinterClassic. pic.twitter.com/2SMukEBtOj
— Metropolitan Riveters (@Riveters) December 30, 2015
Sarah Bryant, Julia Herr and Rebecca Morse were also added as practice players but at this time we are not sure if they have Twitter accounts yet.