In the span of just two short days, two NWHL teams bolstered their rosters for the upcoming 2020-21 season. Just three days after the Boston Pride traded up to make her the first overall pick in the 2020 NWHL Draft, the team announced that they had signed Sammy Davis to her first pro contract after a stellar career at Boston University.
The following day the league’s newest team, the yet-to-be-named Toronto franchise, signed Kelly Babstock – adding the NWHL’s fourth all-time leading scorer. Babstock will reunite with fellow NWHL veteran Shiann Darkangelo in Toronto after the two were teammates at college (Quinnipiac University) and at the pro level (Connecticut Whale).
Sammy’s Sweet Music
“I’m very grateful that the Boston Pride made me the first overall pick in the NWHL Draft, and I’m excited to sign with the team to play pro hockey in my favorite city,” said Davis in the press release announcing her signing. In 147 games with the Terriers, Davis racked up 142 points (66g-76a) and she was named the MVP of the Beanpot Tournament last season.
The Pride were already powerfully potent offensively this past season – to the tune of a 23-1-0 record and a league-leading 120 goals – and with the addition of Davis, it’s safe to say that the best just got better. “As talented and determined as Sammy is on the ice, her selflessness and leadership make her a perfect fit for the team we are building in Boston,” said Pride GM Karilyn Pilch said in the press release.
Boston thought so highly of Davis that they were willing to trade the sixth overall pick in the 2020 Draft as well as their first and second-round picks in the 2021 NWHL Draft in exchange for the right to draft the collegiate star and Toronto’s fifth pick in the 2020 Draft (Meghara McManus from the University of New Hampshire).
“There is no doubt in our minds that as she is challenged by her teammates and the competition across the NWHL, Sammy’s game will continue to develop and she will reach even higher goals as a player,” added Pilch.
Davis joins Christina Putigna, Lexie Laing, Kaleigh Fratkin, and McKenna Brand as players currently under contract for the Pride next season. The number one pick will not be eligible when Boston plays the Minnesota Whitecaps for the 2020 Isobel Cup.
Before stepping away from the NWHL last season Babstock tallied a total of 60 points (27g-33a) over four seasons with Connecticut and the Buffalo Beauts in 65 games. She’s a two-time All-Star in the league, fifth on the league’s all-time goals list, and a recipient of the NWHL Foundation Award (2018-19). She finished her collegiate career as the Bobcats all-time leader in goals (95), assists (107), and points (203).
“There are no words to describe my joy over returning to the NWHL for a fifth pro season,” said Babstock in the press release announcing her signing. “I missed having the hunger to win a championship – the Izzy Cup, and I embrace this opportunity that Toronto has given me.”
“It’s a dream come true to represent my hometown team. Once we get back to playing hockey, I’m giving everything I have to Toronto, the league, our game, and the fans,” added the Mississauga, Ontario native. “Let’s Go!”
Babstock is still first on the Whale’s all-time leaderboard for points (50), goals (23), and tied for first for points in a single season (22). “The 50/50 revenue split was huge, okay. There was a lot of improvement that happened over the past year. The salary cap is $150,000…you’re not making much. It is tough, but when you are so passionate and you love the game you’ll do anything for it,” said Babstcok on the Token CEO Podcast that broke the news a day before the league announced her return.
The 27-year-old joins Darkangelo, Elaine Chuli, Emma Greco (who she played with on the Whale), Taylor Woods, and Kristen Barbara as players under contract for Toronto’s upcoming first season in the NWHL.
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.