This past week in the NWHL we saw 23 more players sign up for Season 7, highlighted by the Boston Pride dropping 18 signings on us all at once. We also saw the release of the full schedule for the upcoming season which will start on Nov. 6 with a triple-header involving all six franchises, and ending on Mar. 13 with another triple-header.
Also, the league announced that they have removed the interim tag from commissioner Ty Tumminia’s job title, which she has held since Oct. 2020 when she succeeded founder Dani Rylan at the top of the league’s management structure.
As previously announced, Season 7 in the NWHL will start on Nov. 6 when the Metropolitan Riveters host the Connecticut Whale at 1:45 pm ET. A few hours later the Boston Pride will watch their 2021 Isobel Cup Championship banner go up before they host the Minnesota Whitecaps. 30 minutes after puck drop in Boston the Buffalo Beauts will host the Toronto Six at 7 pm in the final game of the day.
Buffalo and Toronto will only play once that weekend, and the other four teams will also face-off on Nov. 7. Toronto will be back in Buffalo on Feb. 21, 2022, when they play an outdoor game at Buffalo IceWorks – the same venue that hosted a Beauts-Riveters game in December of 2019.
All teams will play 20 regular-season games in Season 7, ten at home and ten on the road. Each team will play the other five teams four times each, two at home and two on the road. The Riveters are the only team changing rinks this season and they will play their first two home games at Mennen Arena in Morris County, New Jersey before playing the remaining eight home games at Barnabas Health Hockey House in Newark where they played for three seasons (2016-2019) and won their lone Isobel Cup championship (2018).
Boston’s busiest month will be in November when they play six games (two home, four away) over three consecutive weekends. They will be the last team to visit Toronto, on the league’s final weekend. The Pride will be home for six straight games before the Toronto trip – from Jan. 10 – Mar. 11.
Buffalo will hit the road for four straight games after their season opener, but the Beauts will follow that up with their remaining nine home games in an 11-game stretch. Home stands of four and five games will be broken up by a mid-January trip to Toronto. Following the outdoor game in Buffalo, they will be in the New England area for the remaining four games.
Connecticut will alternate two road games, two home games for their first ten games of Season 7 before a four-game homestand, which will be immediately followed by a four-game road trip (with the four games separated by a month). The Whale will be the first NWHL team to visit Toronto in late November.
The Riveters will open with four consecutive home games, and six of their first eight games will be at home. After the calendar turns to 2022 the Rivs will be road-tripping for eight straight before ending their schedule with four straight home games. February will be their busiest month with six games on the slate in a span of 15 days. They will play in the first and last games of the entire season.
Minnesota will open their fourth season in the NWHL playing Boston four consecutive times in their only November games. December will be their busiest month with six games scheduled and they will only play (4) road games in January. They have two four-game homestands sandwiched around their January trips.
Toronto will finally play their first home game on Nov. 20 when they host the Whale for a weekend of games. After only playing only three games in the season-opening month, the Six will play six games in both December and January. Their longest homestand is four games (Jan. 8-16) and the following weekend they will start a five-game road trip before returning home to host Boston.
Beauts Dip Into International Pool Again
On August 4 the Buffalo Beauts finished their off-season roster construction ahead of Season 7 with the announcement that they had signed Finnish scoring ace Jenna Suokko. Word on the street is that at least three other teams were vying for Suokko’s services and that she chose Buffalo over the other three. One team had wanted to select her in the NWHL’s International Draft, but we hear that she politely told them not to because she was interested in signing with the Beauts.
“I decided to sign with the Beauts after getting familiar with their strong will to work hard for women’s professional hockey. After seeing how much the organization is working for their players, I knew I’d love to become a Beaut,” Suokko said in the press release announcing her signing.
“I’m a speedy, all-around winger with good offensive ability,” Suokko added. “I hope my strong work ethic both on and off the ice will best help the team.” Over 249 Naisten Liiga games she racked up 223 points (116g-107a) and also played one season in the SDHL.
“She came strongly recommended to us by a former member of the Finnish Women’s National Team, and we really liked her as soon as we met her,” said GM Nate Oliver. “She is a bonafide sniper and she further accentuates that skill by having a great deal of speed. Jenna is very dangerous, and you always have to be aware of her at all times.”
With the signing of Suokko, the Beauts are up to 23 players under contract for Season 7. She joins forwards Taylor Accursi, Amy Budde, Autumn MacDougall, Kennedy Ganser, Cassidy MacPherson, Erin Gehen, Anjelica Diffendal, Grace Klienbach, Brittany Colton, Taylor Wasylk, Missy Segall, and Cassidy Vinkle, defenders Marie-Jo Pelletier, Lisa Chesson, Dominique Kremer, Emilie Harley, Samantha Fieseler, Allison Attea, and Emma Keenan, and goalies Carly Jackson, Caty Flagg, and Lovisa Berndtsson.
Curlew Stays with the Six
On August 4 the Toronto Six announced that they had re-signed forward Amy Curlew for her second season in the league/with the team. She appeared in all six regular-season games (four assists/points) and one postseason game in the Six’s inaugural season. Curlew was the eighth overall pick (Round 2) by Toronto in the 2020 NWHL Draft.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to play a full season in the six with a great group of girls. Last year was just a glimpse of our potential as a growing organization,” Curlew said in the press release announcing her signing. “I’m super excited to get back with the girlies.”
“I am so appreciative for all of the support we’ve received,” she added. “The past year has presented new and challenging obstacles for myself, the organization, and the world. Those who backed us last year helped aid us through challenging times.”
Curlew is the 12th player signed by the Six for the upcoming season. She joins forwards Shiann Darkangelo, Mikyla Grant-Mentis, Emma Woods, Maegan Beres, and Leah Marino, defenders Emma Greco, Taylor Woods, Lindsay Eastwood, and Saroya Tinker, and goaltenders Elaine Chuli and Samantha Ridgewell.
Anderson Stays with The Pod
On August 9 the Connecticut Whale announced that they have re-signed forward Kaycie Anderson for her fifth season with the team/in the league. In 46 career regular-season games she has recorded 14 points (5g-9a), and Anderson has also appeared in four playoff games with the Whale. Three of her five NWHL goals have come against the Riveters.
“We are very excited to have Kaycie returning for her fifth season with the Whale. She tied for the team lead in scoring two seasons ago and is a player that is trusted to play up and down the lineup,” said Connecticut Head Coach Colton Orr in the press release announcing the signing. “Kaycie has strong attention to detail and a great work ethic pushing her teammates to make them better. She continues to improve her game every season, and we know she will come ready to compete again this season.”
Anderson is the 14th player under contract with the Whale for the upcoming season. She joins forwards Alyssa Wohlfeiler, Kennedy Marchment, Emma Vlasic, Cailey Hutchison, Emma Polaski, Taylor Girard, Janine Weber, and Catherine Crawley, defenders Allie Munroe, Hanna Beattie, and Tori Howran, and goaltenders Abbie Ives and Mariah Fujimagari.
Rivs Bring Back Russo, Avery
On August 10 the Riveters announced a pair of re-signings – forwards Rebecca Russo and Brooke Avery. This will be Russo’s fifth NWHL season and Avery’s third season, all with the Rivs.
Russo has recorded 43 points (18g-25a) over 53 regular-season games and has three points (1g-2a) in five playoff games. She won an Isobel Cup with the Riveters in 2018, is a two-time NWHL All-Star and won one of the Fans’ 3 Stars of the Season following her rookie season. Avery has put up six points (5g-1a) in 24 regular-season games and appeared in one playoff game.
The Riveters now have 14 players signed for the upcoming season. Russo and Avery join forwards Kendall Cornine, Madison Packer, Mallory Rushton, Theresa Knutson, Haley Frade, Nora MacLaine, and Emily Janiga, defenders Leila Kilduff, Allie Olnowich, and Kristen Barbara, and goaltenders Sonjia Shelly and Brooke Wolejko.
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.