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 Dan Rice will keep THW readers up-to-date on Metropolitan and Connecticut’s signings throughout the summer, while I post updates on Buffalo and Boston. Together we will be keeping readers informed of all of Minnesota’s signings.
The day after announcing that they had re-signed a veteran defender, the Boston Pride announced that a new face will be joining their roster for the 2019-20 NWHL season. Word was released on the afternoon of May 21 that Northeastern graduate Tori Sullivan had signed a $5,000 contract to play for the Pride this upcoming season.
“It’s awesome to be able to keep playing here,” Sullivan said in the press release about her signing. “I love the city of Boston. We’re pretty lucky as a sports city… we have a lot of successful pro teams. The NWHL and the Pride have been a fantastic addition to that and the league is on the rise. Growing up, I didn’t know of any pro hockey, so when the NWHL started my freshman year, I thought, ‘Wow, I could see myself playing in that.’ I thought college was pretty much it. This is a great opportunity to keep playing.”
A native West Bloomfield, Michigan, Sullivan is a 5-foot-5 forward with a right-handed shot.
NCAA Career Shared Between Two Boston-Based Schools
Sullivan’s excitement about playing professionally in Boston stems from her collegiate hockey career being so deeply immersed within the city. She spent the 2014-15 and 2015-16 NCAA seasons, along with a small portion of the 2016-17 campaign in which she redshirted, as a member of the Boston College Eagles. Sullivan would then transfer across town to Northeastern where she played her junior and senior seasons with the Huskies.
In each of her four full seasons of NCAA play, Sullivan reached the 20-point plateau. Her finest season offensively came during her freshman year with the Eagles when she set career highs for goals (11), assists (17), points (28) and plus/minus (plus-37) – all of which came in 39 games. Sullivan would equal her high in assists during her sophomore season at BC.
What is perhaps most noteworthy about her collegiate career is that between both schools she finished as a very solid plus-88. It was only during Sullivan’s redshirt season of 2016-17 when she finished as a minus-1 in just two games of play. Otherwise, she accumulated totals of plus-37, plus-34, plus-10, and plus-8 in her four full seasons.
A Scoring Touch Which Will Help the Pride
Sullivan wrapped up her NCAA career this past 2018-19 season with the Huskies. Across the 154 games played in her career, she totaled 36 goals, 62 assists and 98 points. She provides a decent scoring touch that is bound to prove useful to the Pride.
“Tori is a very talented player who excels in every situation, so she’s an important addition to the Pride,” Boston head coach Paul Mara in the release on her signing. “I’m really looking forward to working with her.”
Amid all of the strife that seems to be surrounding women’s hockey at the moment, Sullivan made a decision that is right for her and it is a respectable one.
“I want to enjoy the year – win games, have fun, meet new people,” Sullivan said. “It will be exciting to get acclimated to the team and the league and enjoy the culture and loyal fan support of the Pride.”
“Win games” – “have fun” – “meet new people”. That is a very good mindset to have, and one that could pay quality dividends for both Sullivan and Boston once the season gets underway. Having the right attitude goes a long way in sports, and Sullivan’s outlook is the type of positivity that professional hockey needs. Factor in her skill set, and there is a likelihood that she will be a top-two line forward for “The Pack”.
Here is a look at how the Pride’s roster is currently shaping out as of May 21:
Defense: Kaleigh Fratkin.
Forward: Tori Sullivan.
General Manager of the Buffalo Beauts (NWHL). Hockey history writer “The Hockey Writers”. Credentialed media for the NHL Combine and 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships in Buffalo, NY, USA. Born and raised in Buffalo, NY. Lifelong hockey fan for over 40 years. Proponent of the women’s game.