The New York Riveters resigned forward Tatiana Rafter for the 2017-2018 National Women’s Hockey League on Thursday.
Rafter, one the Riveters top three scorers from the 2016-2017 season said, “I really feel at home with the Riveters and in the NWHL. Coming into next season, I feel like there is unfinished business. I fell in love with my teammates, so there was never any question in my mind. I was determined to see them again in October and I could not be any happier to re-sign.”
In 18 regular season games last season, Rafter put up six goals and an assist. She also added a goal during the team’s playoff game against the Buffalo Beauts.
During the 2015-2016, inaugural season of the NWHL, Rafter scored two goals and one assist in 17 games with the Beauts.
A five-year player with the University of British Columbia, Rafter was named Canada West Player of the Year, during the 2013-2014 season as she put up 20 goals and 18 assists to lead her team. She was also team leader in power play goals (8) and game winning goals (6) in 2013-2014.
Rafter represented Team Canada at the 2013 Winter Universiade, as she put up for assists on the way to helping her country to the gold medal.
Rafter added, “It was an adjustment period transitioning from the Canadian Interuniversity Level to the pro level in the NWHL. I feel my university career prepared me, and [Riveters coach] Chad Wiseman really helped me nail down keys to taking my game to the next level. With opportunity and guidance, it resulted in a bit of a break for me last season. I try to focus on my size and speed. Driving to the net, getting shots off and getting to the net are big parts of my play.”
When she is done playing hockey, Rafter hopes to one day transition into the broadcasting field. She said, “My dream job is to be an ice level broadcaster in the National Hockey League. The past few years, I have broadcasted the NWHL All-Star Games, which ignited a new passion.”
Rafter added, “For now, I am involved in youth hockey skill development in a few areas. I coach U10, U12 and U14 groups of the Vancouver Angels hockey program. I also run private lessons through the Richmond Olympic Oval, [Richmond, British Columbia], with various ages and skill levels.”
Amongst the athletes both inside and outside of hockey she is inspired by include P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators and former Detroit Red Wing, Pavel Datsyuk and the Williams sisters.
Rafter said, “I have always looked up to P.K. Subban because he is such a phenomenal player and dedicated to his team and community on and off the ice. His work with the children’s hospital in Montreal is amazing. I used to wear number 13 because of Pavel Datsyuk, I was mesmerized by his stickhandling ability.”
She continued, “I have forever been a fan of Venus and Serna Williams. Their focus and dedication is incredible. I love their approach to playing and to life.”
Rafter was grateful to be given the chance to compete in the NWHL for its third season and is looking forward to the upcoming year.
She added, “I love being part of it and I am proud of what we have done so far. Since my contract was drawn up early, I will have time to set myself up in New York with work and a schedule that allows me to be my best for the Riveters and the fans.”
The 2017-2018 season is slated to begin in October, as the Founding Four franchises, Riveters, Beauts, Boston Pride and Connecticut Whale will play their full slate of home games, plus a few neutral battles as well.
The NWHL compensates its players, as well as gives them a share of the proceeds from the sales of their jerseys and shirtseys.