From May 1-31 NWHL teams can re-sign players from their 2016-17 roster and their draft picks during the restricted free agency period, and beginning on June 1 any unsigned players left will be free to sign with any team. The third season of the NWHL will begin on October 28 as the Buffalo Beauts begin defense of their Isobel Cup championship, and with up to 12 players unable to participate in the league this season due to their selection for Team USA’s 2018 Olympic team, this will be the most competitive season yet.
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 New York.
On August 24 Connecticut added blueliner Cassie Dunne, who just finished four years at Penn State University, to their roster. Dunne, who hails from Philadelphia, had six goals in 20 games last season and 29 points (13g-16a) in 93 games during her collegiate career. She was a participant at the NWHL’s Free Agent Camp that was held in Massachusets in the spring.
“I’m honored to sign with the Whale and join a league whose commitment to growing the game is one that I wholeheartedly share,” said Dunne in a press release. “There is so much potential for the Whale this year. I’m excited to join Coach Ryan Equale in his first season (with CT) and see how we grow as a team.”
Four days later they added more blueline depth when they agreed to terms with Amanda Boulier who was a standout at St. Lawrence University. Boulier will also be spending time this season as an assistant coach at Yale University. The 24-year-old holds the school records for career goals and points by a defender with 104 points and 28 goals over 150 games.
“Hockey is my passion, so to be able to coach and play is really amazing,” Boulier said in a press release. “NWHL Deputy Commissioner Hayley Moore brought up the opportunity this summer and I was excited about it. I love coaching, but everyone knows there’s nothing like playing the game.”
“I’d like to pick up where I left off as a player in my college career, but time will tell,” she added. “I hope to be an impact player for the Whale, but for now, the goal is to earn a spot and a regular shift.”
— Connecticut Whale (@CTWhale_NWHL) August 29, 2017
On August 30 Connecticut signed forward Kaycie Anderson who was a point-per-game player (118 points in 118 games) during her four seasons at Norwich University (2011-15). Anderson’s addition increases the Whale’s total forwards to six, and the signings of Dunne and Boulier boost their total of blueliners to eight.
“I’m thrilled and honored to be joining the Whale and grateful for the opportunity to play the game I love in the highly-competitive NWHL,” said Anderson in a press release. “I look forward to meeting my new teammates and getting to work in the quest for the Isobel Cup.”
“I am very excited to play a part in growing the game of women’s hockey and women’s professional sports,” Anderson added, “and I particularly thankful for the unwavering support of my family, friends, and former coaches.”
Here is the Whale roster as of August 31:
Goalie: Sydney Rossman
Defense: Cydney Roesler, Shannon Doyle, Elena Orlando, Anya Battaglino, Rachel Ade, Jordan Brickner, Cassie Dunne, Amanda Boulier
Forward: Kelly Babstock, Juana Baribeau, Stephanie Mock, Sam Faber, Emily Fluke, Kaycie Anderson
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.