Connecticut Whale Host Inaugural NWHL Foundation Golf Classic
Setting: a perfect fall day; partly cloudy with temperatures in the low 70s. Rolling golf course hills surrounded by endless, end of summer tree tops. A light breeze, enough to cool down the hot sun when the clouds allowed him poke through. All in all, a beautiful day for a golf classic in Wallingford, CT.
The Connecticut Whale, one of the four teams in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), hosted the inaugural NWHL Foundation Golf Classic today, September 24, at Traditions Golf Club in Wallingford, CT. Heather Linstad, coach and co-GM of the Whale, was in attendance and offered some inside information about the 501c3 Foundation.
“The goal of the Foundation is to reach people, to continue to grow the game. We have our first futures tournament out in Buffalo this year where there will be teams that are Under-8 and Under-10, 12s, and 14s participating. The Foundation is here to bring light to women’s hockey, but also bring the young people along. We put our players, because they’re good at it, out in the limelight and be inspirations for youth. A lot of people want to say it’s for just women, but any time you can meet Olympians or pro athletes, it’s an inspiration for boys, girls. We’re trying to make sure hockey becomes popular! We’re the CT Whale, people love it here, people love the Whale. They still pray that the NHL brings the team back, but right now we’re here too. We would love to share the
limelight with them!”
To build on Linstad’s ideas, the foundation provides funding for hockey education and training women, leverages the sport of hockey to advance the lives of women and teach the core values of hockey (loyalty, sportsmanship, commitment, teamwork, and perseverance, provides opportunities to increase women’s participation in hockey throughout the country, and enhance the NWHL’s mission.
Interested players and fans had the ability to register as an individual and be placed on a team or to register in teams of four. The 18-hole course was played in “Best Ball Scramble” format, with prizes and games all along the course. The money raised from team/individual registration and dinner went to the NWHL Foundation.
Some current players were in attendance, however, not all of them playing the course. CT Whale F/D. Anya Battaglino was geared-up, ready to play. Hey, she has a mean slap shot, so golf, which she has played since she was a little girl, will be a walk in the park, right? Either way, Battaglino was there because of what the foundation means to her.
“For me it’s about the next generation. That’s the reason I play, the reason I come to practice, it’s the reason I go to work all day and then drive to practice, it’s making sure that we make a better place for the kids that are coming up. Its great for us, but it’s going to be even better for them.”
The most important part of being involved in the league for Battaglino is giving back, that’s why she plays, that’s why she goes to her day job doing sales, why she goes to practice and plays the game she loves, and why, on average, sleep is hard to come by. She works all morning and skates all night!
With the season starting just around the corner in a couple weeks, goaltender Shanae Lundberg has her first full season starting with the Whale. Last season she came in late, so starting fresh from the get go will be a change in itself. “Last season they had a lot of ups and downs, so I think we need a strong season for the whole time, becoming a good, strong unit, and ultimately going for a better outcome and winning in the end.”
Battaglino added in thought about the upcoming season, “We need to start the beginning of the year and end the year as one unit. The more we stick to being a team and do things like this together to build a lot of camaraderie, I think that’s going to be the difference between us getting close and getting the cup.”
The only thing between now and the start of the 2016-2017 NWHL season for the CT whale is 2 exhibition games (9/27 and 9/29) vs. Russia and two team practices. The international team from Russia is making it’s rounds across the league before puck drop on October 7. Catch the Whale now, as their home opener is not until December 10 at Northford Ice Pavilion! Tickets can be purchased for the games vs. Russia by the hyperlinked dates above.
Coach Linstad yelled “Let’s go Whale” as the golf carts started on their way towards the course. So, without further ado, Let’s Go Whale!
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