On August 13 and 14 NWHL teams continued to stockpile their rosters as they prepare for the start of the season on the first weekend of October. All five teams have made signings over the past two days and three of them are highlighted here.
Whale-come to Connecticut
The Connecticut Whale signed their first goaltender of the off-season, coming to terms with Cassandra Goyette who had a .952 save percentage last season at Nichols College. The Whale franchise has had numerous goalies over the past four seasons but with new GM Bray Ketchum steering the ship the hope is that she is able to put together a trio that will be able to push one another and play more than one season in green and blue.
“At 5’8” Cassandra has a big presence in net and a proven track record of excellent goaltending after a great career at Nichols,” Ketchum said in the press release announcing the signing. “We monitored her play closely this off-season and we are thrilled to welcome Cassandra for her first professional season with the Connecticut Whale.”
Goyette was an academic all-conference selection three times and finished her career at Nichols as the program’s all-time leader in wins, shutouts, save percentage, saves, and goals-against average. “I’m extremely excited and grateful to be given this opportunity to play for the Whale and in the NWHL,” the league’s newest netminder said. “I can’t wait to be a part of what we will accomplish together this season. (My approach is) keep it simple, work hard, and get better.”
Here is what the Whale roster currently looks like as of August 14:
Goaltender: Cassandra Goyette
Defense: Shannon Doyle, Taylor Marchin, Elena Orlando, Jordan Brickner
Forward: Kendra Broad, Jane Morrisette, Grace Klienbach, Emma Vlasic, Kayla Meneghin, Sarah Hughson
Youth is Served
The Riveters went International with their latest signing, coming to terms with Russian League and National Team forward Tatiana Shatalova, who turns 20-years-old at the end of the week. She spent the last five season in the Russian Women’s Hockey League and she represented her home country at the U18 World Championships in 2016 and 2017.
“Tatiana’s great quickness, smarts, and her strong shot will help lead our offensive attack,” said Riveters GM Kate Whitman Annis in a press release announcing the signing. “She may be the youngest player in the league, but she has significant experience at the club and international level and has played against tough competition her entire life. As her development continues, Tatiana is going to be a great player for us.”
Shatalova will be the third Russian-born player to suit up for the Rivs, following Luda Belyakova and Maria Sorokina. “Signing my first NWHL contract is a special moment for me. I’m dedicated to giving my all to the fans, and my teammates and coaches with the Riveters,” she said in the press release. “Being part of the NWHL and to have the opportunity to wear the Riveters jersey is a huge honor.”
Here is what the Riveters roster currently looks like as of August 14:
Defense: Colleen Murphy
Forward: Madison Packer, Cailey Hutchinson, Rebecca Morse, Kendall Cornine, Tatiana Shatalova
Anderson Returns Home
Following two seasons playing in China in the CWHL, St. Paul-native Stephanie Anderson is returning home to play forward for the Minnesota Whitecaps. Over 66 games she put up 25 points (13g-12a) for Kunlun Red Star (2017-18) and Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays (2018-19).
“Being able to play professionally and doing it in my home state couldn’t sound any better,” Anderson said in the press release announcing her homecoming. “For the past seven years my career has been away from home, and I can’t wait to represent the Whitecaps and NWHL here in front of my friends and family.”
Anderson began her collegiate career at the University of Minnesota before transferring to Bemidji State, where she was an alternate captain during her final two seasons. “I’m able to put down my roots where they belong. My fiancé and I will be planning our wedding and buying a house. I’ll be spending lots of time with my family, friends, and my dog, Otter,” she added.
“Steph will be counted upon for scoring goals and improving our overall team defense this season,” said Whitecaps GM and co-head coach Jack Brodt. The defending Isobel Cup champions now have the second most players signed and are tied with Boston with eight forwards currently under contract.
Here is what the Whitecaps roster currently looks like as of August 14:
Goaltender: Amanda Leveille, Allie Morse
Defense: Amanda Boulier, Lisa Martinson
Forward: Allie Thunstrom, Jonna Curtis, Nicole Schammel, Brooke White-Lancette, Haylea Schmid, Meghan Lorence, Audra Richards, Stephanie Anderson
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 Nathaniel Oliver will keep THW readers up-to-date on Buffalo and Boston’s signings throughout the summer, while I post updates on Connecticut and the Riveters. Together we will be keeping readers informed of all of Minnesota’s signings.
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.