Over the past week, NWHL teams have begun to hit the ice for their training camps ahead of the league’s fifth season and during that time the last two Isobel Cup champions have added a total of seven players to their rosters. The Metropolitan Riveters recently came to terms with three defenders, one of which has NWHL experience. The Minnesota Whitecaps signed two defenders and two forwards and only one of those players will be looking to make her professional debut.
Riveters Revamp Blue Line
On Sept. 13 the Riveters signed defender Nichelle Simon after a successful tryout in front of the GM and head coach. At 36-years-old she may be one of the league’s older players, but she is a dedicated athlete who will be looking to defend the Rivs’ crease at all costs. Simon not only competed on the NBC show “American Ninja Warrior” during season 9, but she also is a breast cancer survivor who completed her treatments in June 2018.
“I’m extremely proud and honored to be selected to represent the Riveters and the NWHL on and off the ice,” said Simon, who played 87 games collegiately for Hamline University and Neumann University. “I’m looking forward to the challenge of competing with and against great hockey players and the opportunity to be a role model for girls and women coming up in the sport. My message is that it’s never too late to follow your dreams!”
Five days later the Rivs added two more blueliners to their roster, coming to terms with Cassie Dunne (who appeared in five games with the Connecticut Whale two seasons ago) and Leila Kilduff who played 92 games for Minnesota State University. Before turning pro, Dunne played four seasons for Penn State University’s ACHA team. Both players will have an opportunity to play decent minutes as the Riveters rebuild their defense corps; the only returning players on the blue line are Rebecca Morse and Lexi Slattery.
Here’s how the Riveters roster looks as of September 18:
Goaltender: Sam Walther, Dana DeMartino
Defense: Colleen Murphy, Mallory Rushton (D/F), Lexi Slattery (D/F), Nichelle Simon, Cassie Dunne, Leila Kilduff
Forward: Madison Packer, Cailey Hutchinson, Rebecca Morse (F/D), Kendall Cornine, Tatiana Shatalova, Nicole Arnold, Bulbul Kartanbay, Brooke Avery, Brooke Baker
Welcome Home Whitecaps
With a total of 22 players currently signed, the Whitecaps may be done signing players this offseason. That is unless they decide to add a third goaltender before the start of the season on October 12 when Minnesota raises a championship banner and hosts the Riveters in the first of back-to-back games.
On Sept. 18 the Whitecaps added former Whale players Sam Donovan and Nina Rodgers to their group of forwards in addition to signing defenders Emma Stauber and Rose Alleva; all four are Minnesota natives. You can read more about the Stauber and Alleva signings on our NWHL page.
Donovan was the fifth overall pick by Connecticut in the 2017 NWHL Draft and played in six games over two seasons for the Whale, registering one assist. In 116 games at Brown University, she had 68 points, leading the Bears in scoring as an alternate captain during both her junior and senior years.
Rodgers was also drafted by Connecticut in the 2017 NWHL Draft, 17th overall, and finished her rookie season with four points (2g-2a). Prior to turning pro, she won two NCAA titles with the University of Minnesota before transferring to Boston University for her final two seasons.
Here’s how the Whitecaps roster looks as of September 18:
Goaltender: Amanda Leveille, Allie Morse
Defense: Amanda Boulier, Lisa Martinson, Chelsey Brodt Rosenthal, Winny Brodt Brown, Sydney Baldwin, Kelsey Cline (D/F), Emma Stauber, Rose Alleva
Forward: Allie Thunstrom, Jonna Curtis, Nicole Schammel, Brooke White-Lancette, Haylea Schmid, Meghan Lorence, Audra Richards, Stephanie Anderson, Meaghan Pezon, Kalli Funk, Sam Donovan, Nina Rodgers
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.