The National Women’s Hockey League announced their 2017 Award Winners on Tuesday afternoon across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
New York Riveters netminder, Katie Fitzgerald was named as the NWHL’s 2017 Top Goaltender. The award was voted on by members of the NWHL press association.
Riveters captain, Ashley Johnston was selected as the winner of the Denna Laing Award. The award is presented to the player that best represents the qualities of sportsmanship, perseverance and dedication to her sport. The recipient of the Denna Laing Award is chosen by the NWHL Players Association.
The newest award, which was put in to give fans a chance to nominate their favorite players was the NWHL Fans’ Three Stars Award. Rebecca Russo, of the Riveters, joins Harrison Browne, of the Buffalo Beauts and Anya Battaglino, of the Connecticut Whale as the players selected through the 8,000 fan votes.
Battaglino said, “To be selected alongside two of the leagues brightest stars, Harrison and Rebecca, is such an honor. They are both such amazing pioneers and have done so much to move our sport forward and develop deep connections with our fans.”
She added, “The fans are the lifeblood of the NWHL and their support is the reason why we are able to chase our dreams. Thank you for all of the love, the support and the fun. The league is made better every single day and I could not imagine this journey without them.”
The NWHL Foundation Award which is presented to the players who best apply the core values of hockey to her community, while helping to grow the game and improving the hockey culture was voted on by the general managers for the four teams. The 2017 recipients of the award were; Michelle Picard, of the Riveters, Elena Orlando, of the Whale, Kelsey Neumann, of the Beauts and Alyssa Gagliardi of the Boston Pride.
The Most Valuable Player for 2017 went to Brianna Decker of the Pride. The NWHLPA also selected the player they felt was most deserving of the MVP for the 2016-2017 season. The Best Defender went to Megan Bozek of the Beauts. The members of the NWHL media were given the opportunity to vote on the top defensive player in the league.
By putting up the best record during the regular season, the Pride also were named the Regular Season Champions. The Pride had not lost a game since January of 2016, until the Riveters ended the streak on the final day of the regular season, this past Sunday at the Barnabas Health Hockey House in Newark, New Jersey.
The NWHL Playoffs will face-off on Thursday and Friday night, March 16 and 17. The Pride will host the Whale at the Warrior Ice Arena in Boston, Massachusetts on Thursday and the Riveters will be the home team against the Beauts on Friday at the Barnabas Health Hockey House. Both games are scheduled for 7:30 PM faceoffs.
The Isobel Cup Final will take place on Sunday March 19 at the Paul E. Tsongas Center at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell with the winners from both semi-final matchups. Faceoff is scheduled for 6:00 PM. Ticket information can be found at www.nwhl.zone/tickets.