The NWHL signings continue to roll in and this week the still-defending Isobel Cup champion Minnesota Whitecaps re-signed a crucial piece to their puzzle and the Buffalo Beauts – and their new GM – found themselves a new player from overseas.
On May 11 the Whitecaps announced that they had re-signed forward Jonna Curtis for her third season with the team. All she has done in her two seasons is climb up to sixth on the NWHL’s all-time leading scoring list. The following day the Beauts, who a day earlier named THW’s own Nathaniel Oliver their new GM, signed defender Dominique Kremer who played this past season in the SDHL.
Oliver steps into the role vacated by Mandy Cronin who is now the GM of the NWHL’s newest team in Toronto. The other four teams are retaining their GMs from last season: Karilyn Pilch (Boston), Bray Ketchum Peel (Connecticut), Jack Brodt (Minnesota), Kate Whitman Annis (Metropolitan).
Curtis + Caps = a Perfect Match
This past season Curtis showed that her rookie campaign was no fluke, finishing tied for first in points per game (1.7), second in the NWHL in assists (22), tied for second in power-play goals (4), and tied for third in points (36) with teammate and league co-MVP Allie Thunstrom. Just imagine what her totals would have been if she didn’t miss three games.
She also had the lone assist on the lone goal in Minnesota’s 1-0 overtime win in the semifinals against the Metropolitan Riveters, helping her team advance to the Isobel Cup Final for the second consecutive seasons. In 37 career regular-season games Curtis has amassed 55 points (22g-33a) and she also has two assists in three career playoff games.
“Season 6 is going to be one for the books, and I’m looking forward to being back in front of the best fans,” said Curtis in the press release announcing her signing. “The growth from one year to the next in my two seasons in the NWHL has been substantial. The level of sponsorship was unmatched this past year and the 50-50 revenue split for the players drives the growth of salaries even more. So I’m thrilled to re-sign with the Whitecaps for another year.”
As a rookie, she won the award for NWHL Newcomer of the Year and has been named to the All-Star Game in both of her pro seasons. Curtis and Thunstrom are the only two players currently signed to play next season for Minnesota.
Kremer Comes to Buffalo
The new Beauts GM wasted little time adding to his roster and adding Kremer to the roster adds depth to the blueline. Before playing last season with Djurgardens IF, Kremer played 138 games over four seasons at Merrimack College and was drafted 17th overall by the Connecticut Whale in the 2018 NWHL Draft.
Last season in the SDHL she led her team’s defenders in points with 16 (5g-11a) and her team allowed the third-fewest goals in the league. “Our coaches and I followed Dominique’s career at Merrimack and in the SDHL very closely, and we hoped to sign her because she is a perfect fit for our lineup,” said Oliver in the press release announcing the signing.
“I decided to sign with the Buffalo Beauts in the NWHL because I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself,” said Kremer. “I am confident that by partaking in this league I can inspire the younger generation of girls to one day become a Beaut too! This has given me another opportunity to hopefully showcase my abilities on and off the ice.”
Kremer is the fifth player under contract for the Beauts next season, joining fellow defenders Lisa Chesson and Marie-Jo Pelletier, forward Taylor Accursi, and rookie netminder Carly Jackson who was drafted third overall at the 2020 NWHL Draft.
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.