It was a big day for the NWHL on July 22. Not only did they reveal the home and road uniforms for the Connecticut Whale, but they also broke the news that five more players have signed up for Season 6 – bringing the current league total to 98. Of those 98 players, 17 are from the 2020 NWHL Draft which took place back at the end of April.
All of the announcements were made via the league’s Twitch channel during the return of the program “NWHL Open Ice” which interviews players from the league weekly during the season. Following the day’s two interviews (Tori Sullivan of the Boston Pride and Rebecca Morse of the Metropolitan Riveters) the league also re-aired their first outdoor game which took place back in December in Buffalo.
For the past five seasons each of the teams in the league has sported just one jersey, but with the addition of a sixth team this off-season they have decided to add (at least) a second jersey for each team. On June 26 the Toronto Six revealed their three jerseys – red, white, and black.
Last season the Whale wore green jerseys with blue trim and blue gloves and blue helmet. This season that will be their road uniform and the new, sleek white uniform introduced will be the one worn at home. It looks a tad different than the white jerseys that the franchise has worn in the past (Season 3 & 4).
That wasn’t the only news of the day for the team in Connecticut. It was also announced that longtime NWHLer Janine Weber would be returning to the team a second season. She adds experience and proven scoring ability to a lineup that is expected to make some waves this upcoming season.
In four NWHL seasons (two with the Riveters, one with the Pride) Weber has put up 42 points (16g-26a) over 56 games, highlighted by her 22-point campaign with the Riveters in 2016-17 (Season 2). She also has two points (1g-1a) in six playoff games.
Weber joined the Whale this past season in January and suited up for eight games (four assists) and two playoff games (one assist). The 29-year-old Austrian forward was the first-ever player to sign a contract with the NWHL back in 2015.
After signing Weber, the Whale now has 20 players signed for the upcoming season. She joins forwards Emma Vlasic, Kaycie Anderson, Amanda Conway, Melissa Samoskevich, Nicole Guagliardo, Alyssa Wohlfeiler, Kayla Friesen, Katelynn Russ, Grace Klienbach, and Sarah Schwenzfeier, defenders Shannon Doyle, Elena Orlando, Taylor Marchin, Hanna Beattie, Tori Howran, Laurel Hill, and Maggie LaGue, and goaltenders Brooke Wolejko and Abbie Ives.
The Buffalo Beauts announced that they have signed veteran forward Kayla Meneghin for the upcoming season. This will be her third season in the NWHL after playing the two prior seasons in Connecticut. Over 24 games she has put up ten points (5g-5a) and has played in one playoff game.
This past season Meneghin set career-highs in goals (4), assists (4), and points (8). From Oct. 20-Nov. 30 she had a four-game goal streak. She brings grit, and hustle to a Beauts lineup that is reimagining its roster for a second straight off-season.
With the signing of Meneghin, the Beauts now have 18 players signed for next season. She joins defenders Lenka Čurmová, Alyson Matteau, Marie-Jo Pelletier, Lisa Chesson, Whitney Dove, Dominique Kremer, Meg Delay, forwards Taylor Accursi, Cassidy MacPherson, Autumn MacDougall, Neve Van Pelt, Iveta Klimášová, Kristin Lewicki, Emma Ruggerio, and goaltenders Carly Jackson, Kelsey Neumann, and Caty Flagg.
The Boston Pride announced that they have signed defender Taylor Turnquist from Clarkson University. She was the fourth of their six draft picks (24th overall) at the 2020 NWHL Draft, and with her signing, they now have signed all of their picks.
She played 158 games for Clarkson, recording 40 points (8g-32a) and was an alternate captain as a senior this past season. She won an NCAA title as a sophomore (2017-18) and this past season spent some time playing forward when her team was depleted by injuries.
With the signing of Turnquist, the Pride now have a total of 19 players signed for next season. She joins forwards Christina Putigna, Lexie Laing, McKenna Brand, Sammy Davis, Jillian Dempsey, Tereza Vanisova, Carlee Turner, Mary Parker, Meghara McManus, Taylor Wenczkowski, and Sullivan, defenders Kaleigh Fratkin, Lauren Kelly, Mallory Souliotis, Jenna Rheault, and Paige Capistran, and goaltenders Lovisa Selander and Victoria Hanson.
The Metropolitan Riveters announced that they have signed forward Theresa Knutson from the University of Connecticut/Frauen-Bundesliga. She played 135 games at UConn from 2014-18 where she recorded 79 points (51g-28a).
She is only the third player to score at least 50 goals in UConn’s program history. While playing in Germany she scored an amazing 66 points (48g-18a) in just 28 games during the 2018-19 season.
With the signing of Knutson, the Riveters now have signed 19 players this off-season. She joins goaltenders Tera Hofmann and Sonjia Shelly, defenders Bridgette Prentiss, Sammy Kolowrat, Morse, Saroya Tinker, Leila Kilduff, Samantha Fieseler, Kiira Dosdall-Arena, and forwards Madison Packer, Kendall Cornine, Cailey Hutchison, Mallory Rushton, Emily Janiga, Kate Leary, Brooke Avery, Jayne Lewis, and Tatiana Shatalova.
The Toronto Six announced that they have signed forward Mackenzie MacNeil from the University of Vermont. After four seasons in the NCAA, the Ontario-native played one season for the CWHL’s Toronto Furies and last season was a part of the PWHPA.
She had four points (2g-2a) in 25 CWHL games and 37 points (17g-20a) in 140 games for Vermont.
With the signing of MacNeil, the Six now have 18 players signed for their inaugural season. She joins defenders Sarah Steele, Emma Greco, and Kristen Barbara, forwards Shiann Darkangelo, Taylor Woods, Kelly Babstock, Sarah Eve Coutu-Godbout, Brooke Boquist, Mikayla Grant-Mentis, Jenna McParland, Amy Curlew, Breanne Wilson-Bennett, Lindsay Eastwood, Emma Woods, and Natalie Marcuzzi, and goaltenders Elaine Chuli and Samantha Ridgewell.
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.