The defense never rests and NWHL teams are starting to fill up their bluelines. On June 10 the Metropolitan Riveters signed their first defender of the offseason, coming to terms with Colleen Murphy. The Cary, North Carolina native played with the Connecticut Whale last season and with the Buffalo Beauts two seasons ago, all while commuting from North Carolina. Murphy will become the second player in league history (Fratkin) to play for three franchises.
The following day the Whale announced they had re-signed defender Jordan Brickner, who has been with the franchise and the league since it’s inception. Brickner joins teammates Shannon Doyle and Elena Orlando, Riveters forward Madison Packer, and Boston Pride defender Kaleigh Fratkin as the only players signed up for next season who have been a part of the NWHL from day one.
Hello My Name Is
Murphy, a reliable defender who has a sneaky good shot, is used to introducing herself to new teammates but a lot of players may be in that same situation with what will be a new-look league. “Since I’ll be a part of a new team, my goals are to get to know the organization and find a place for myself within it. I’m very excited to be with the Riveters and ultimately want to bring the Isobel Cup back,” said Murphy, who was on the losing side with the Beauts when the Rivs won it all.
“Colleen is a skilled and versatile defender who plays with a great deal of tenacity,” said Riveters GM Kate Whitman Annis. “Her dedication to playing in the NWHL and serving as a role model for young players in North Carolina is truly commendable. We’re thrilled she has decided to join the Riveters and she will be a vital part of our lineup.”
Typically, Murphy has only been able to get in one practice a week with her teammates once she flies up from North Carolina and following the last game of each weekend she is right back on a plane to her hometown. She also is an instructor at some clinics for young girls and works with the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes, so basically she is a superhero to the youth there.
“It’s rewarding knowing that I’m part of something that has a positive impact on an area that doesn’t even have an NWHL team close to it.,” said Murphy. “I think that speaks volumes to the outreach the league has conducted. I’ve received an incredible amount of support and I want to continue to be a role model for girls in my home state. Being in the league gives me that opportunity and it’s important to keep building on the momentum that’s been initiated.”
This is what the Riveters roster currently looks like:
Defense: Colleen Murphy
Forward: Madison Packer, Cailey Hutchison
Brickner has been a steady presence on the Whale blueline the past four seasons and the same should be expected this upcoming season. Brickner, Doyle, Orlando, and Taylor Marchin all played together last season and all are on board for the upcoming one; familiarity won’t be an issue there.
In 68 career games, Brickner has 23 points (2g-21) for the Whale, and like Orlando and Doyle she has blocked more shots than she probably has been given credit for. “I take pride in my ability to defend and am personally looking to contribute more in the offensive zone this upcoming season,” she said in the press release announcing her signing.
Connecticut’s GM, Bray Ketchum, played against Brickner for three seasons in the NWHL so she knows exactly what she’s getting in the veteran blueliner. “Jordan is one of the most solid defenders in the league. I know she is respected by her teammates and will bring her best every time she steps on the ice. We are thrilled to have Jordan back for a fifth season.”
There aren’t many players still active that played during season one and Brickner’s name will go down in history as not only one of the league’s founding members, but also one of those who did what she can to keep it going. “A lot of positive strides have been made in the offseason so far, and I think it’s important to continue building towards more successes,” she said in the press release announcing her signing.
“As a team and an organization, the ultimate goal is to win the championship,” she added, “I am looking forward to making this the most successful season for the Whale to date.” Each of the four other teams in the league has won the Isobel Cup. Is this Connecticut’s year?
This is what the Whale roster currently looks like:
Defense: Shannon Doyle, Taylor Marchin, Elena Orlando, Jordan Brickner
Forward: Kendra Broad
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.