The NWHL’s fifth season begins in precisely one month and one day and on September 4 a total of six players signed with three different teams. For the Minnesota Whitecaps, they strengthened their title defense with the addition of a (
The Metropolitan Riveters found themselves a second goalie – they are the last of the five teams to have two goaltenders under contract. And the Connecticut Whale became the first team to have three goalies rostered for the upcoming season, in addition to adding a former CWHL defender and the re-signing of an important versatile player who returns for a third campaign in blue & green.
The Whale came to terms with defender Erin Hall who had played 17 games over the past two seasons for Boston/Worcester in the CWHL. Hall is the first of the five defenders signed by Connecticut GM Bray Ketchum Peel that wasn’t a part of the team last season.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue playing the game that means so much to me,” said Hall who scored 46 points in her collegiate career with Holy Cross. “I’m fortunate to be able to compete at the professional level and to help make more people aware that female athletes are talented, deserving, and endlessly hardworking. I’m thrilled to be a part of the NWHL and I can’t wait to work toward a set of goals with my new teammates on the Whale.”
Over the last two seasons, Hanna Beattie played in 30 games for Connecticut, as both a forward and a defender and when she re-signed she became the ninth member of last season’s roster to return to the Pod. “I can’t wait for another great year with the Whale,” Beattie said in the press release announcing her re-signing. “The past two seasons playing in the NWHL have been extremely rewarding, challenging, and fun.”
“I’m excited to build off of what this team has accomplished so far, and I’m eager to be back with our close-knit, talented group. This season I look forward to not only growing as a player and as a team but also continuing our commitment to pave the way for future generations.”
Connecticut’s final signing of the day was goaltender Brooke Wolejko who split her collegiate career between St. Lawrence University (2014-17) and SUNY Plattsburgh (2017-18). During her lone season at Plattsburgh State, she was teammates with current Whale teammate Kayla Meneghin and posted six shutouts. Wolejko will compete with Cassandra Goyette and Sonjia Shelly for the starting gig in Connecticut.
Here’s how the Whale roster looks as of September 4:
Goaltender: Cassandra Goyette, Sonjia Shelly, Brooke Wolejko
Defense: Shannon Doyle, Taylor Marchin, Elena Orlando, Jordan Brickner, Erin Hall
Forward: Kendra Broad, Jane Morrisette, Grace Klienbach, Emma Vlasic, Kayla Meneghin, Sarah Hughson, Kaycie Anderson, Hanna Beattie (F/D)
Whitecaps Ready to Roll
Minnesota re-signed forward Kalli Funk for her second NWHL season and her third season with the Whitecaps overall. The 26-year-old Roseville, Minnesota native appeared in six regular-season games and two playoff games, posting two points (1g-1a). Funk is the 11th player to re-sign from last year’s championship team.
“With her strength and pure skating ability, Kalli will play a key role
“With last year being our first in the league, it was awesome getting to compete for and win the Isobel Cup. Our goal remains the same for this season, so I’m really excited to get the season started and defend our title,” Funk said in the press release.
Minnesota also signed Kelsey Cline who played four years at the University of Minnesota primarily as a defender but also saw some time at forward. Cline is the seventh former Golden Gopher to sign a deal with the Whitecaps this offseason, four of which (Cline, Sydney Baldwin, Meghan Lorence, Nicole Schammel) will be making their NWHL debuts when they dress for a game.
“This season I plan to bring depth to the strong defensive corps the Whitecaps have built. I hope to connect with all of the fans that support the Whitecaps so strongly and bring them home another championship,” said Cline who never missed a game in college (161) and won two NCAA titles (2015, 2016).
“Kelsey is an important addition to our blue line,” said Brodt. “She is an excellent skater and with her speed and agility, she will be able to get the puck out of our defensive end.”
Here’s how the Whitecaps roster looks as of September 4:
Goaltender: Amanda Leveille, Allie Morse
Defense: Amanda Boulier, Lisa Martinson, Chelsey Brodt Rosenthal, Winny Brodt Brown, Sydney Baldwin, Kelsey Cline (D/F)
Forward: Allie Thunstrom, Jonna Curtis, Nicole Schammel, Brooke White-Lancette, Haylea Schmid, Meghan Lorence, Audra Richards, Stephanie Anderson, Meaghan Pezon, Kalli Funk
DeMartino Adds Net Depth
Long Island native Dana DeMartino had an impressive tryout for the Riveters coach and GM and it was enough of a strong performance for GM Kate Whitman Annis to offer the 24-year-old netminder a contract. She has suited up previously for Manhatanville College, Farmingdale State College, and the North Jersey Phoenix.
“Dana is going to open some eyes this season with her outstanding play,” said Whitman Annis. “From the moment she hit the ice at our tryout, you could not only see her competitive fire, but the excellent technique she has from putting in a lot of work at her craft.” DeMartino joins Sam Walther as the only two goalies on the Rivs roster currently.
Here’s how the Riveters roster looks as of September 4:
Goaltender: Sam Walther, Dana DeMartino
Defense: Colleen Murphy, Mallory Rushton (D/F), Lexi Slattery (D/F)
Forward: Madison Packer, Cailey Hutchinson, Rebecca Morse (F/D), Kendall Cornine, Tatiana Shatalova, Nicole Arnold, Bulbul Kartanbay, Brooke Avery, Brooke Baker
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.