NWHL Names Forwards for Battle in Florida with Team USA
The National Women’s Hockey League on Wednesday, announced the 12 forwards who will represent Team NWHL as they battle the United States Women’s National Team in Tampa, Florida, with four Metropolitan Riveters and one Connecticut Whale making the squad.
Team NWHL will face off against Team USA at the United States Training Complex at Florida Hospital Center Ice in the Tampa suburb of Wesley Chapel in two pre-Olympic tune-ups, on Saturday January 13 and Monday January 15. The two games will be Team USA’s final preparations before they head over to PyeongChang, South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
4 Riveters & 1 Whale Heading to Tampa
Riveters forward and NWHL leading scorer Alexa Gruschow, will be joined on the Gulf Coast of Florida by teammates, Miye D’Oench, Rebecca Russo and former US Olympian Erika Lawler. Former Quinnipiac University forward Kelly Babstock will be the Whale’s lone representative on Team NWHL.
4 Pride Players & 3 Beauts on Team NWHL
The rest of Team NWHL will be represented up front by four Boston Pride forwards and three Buffalo Beauts. Former Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute forward, Jordan Smelker, will travel down to the Florida sun with her Pride teammates, Jillian Dempsey, Emily Field and Dana Trivigno. Corrine Buie, Jess Jones and Hayley Scamurra will represent the Beauts for Team NWHL.
Deputy Commissioner, Hayley Moore, who will serve as the general manager for Team NWHL selected the roster with consultation from the four coaches of the league’s “Founding Four” clubs. Riveters coach, Chad Wiseman will lead Team NWHL behind the bench as Pride coaches, Thomas Poeck and Lindsay Berman will serve as Wiseman’s assistants.
10 Americans to Help Team USA Prep for Gold
Ten of the twelve forwards representing the league as they prepare to battle Team USA are American born. Babstock and Jones are Canadian. All 12 of the players played Division I hockey during their collegiate careers. Eight colleges are represented amongst the Team NWHL roster.
Boston College (Field and Trivigno), Harvard (D’Oench and Dempsey) and RPI (Gruschow and Smelker) are represented by two players. Boston University (Russo), Wisconsin (Lawler), Northeastern (Scamurra), Mercyhurst (Jones) and Providence (Buie) are the other five schools.
Buie, the only two-time winner of the Isobel Cup (Pride 2016 & Beauts 2017) said, “I am happy and grateful to have this opportunity. I am honored to represent the NWHL. It is going to be high-quality hockey and I am excited to be able to play the Olympians right before PyeongChang. This is a great opportunity for the NWHL to show the depths of talent in women’s hockey and grow the game. It will also be fun to see the Olympic training facilities. I have some family that might be able to come watch. I am really looking forward to it.”
New York, NY native, D’Oench added, “It is an honor to be selected for Team NWHL. It will be exciting to play with so many great players from other NWHL teams, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help prepare Team USA to bring home the gold medal from the Olympics. I want to give them the hardest game that they can play, to get them as prepared as possible. I am going to forecheck my best, make it hard on their defense, and make them earn any win. That is the goal of our whole team.”
Former USA Team Members to Represent NWHL
Three-time National Collegiate Athletic Association champion and former Olympian, Lawler added, “I am so pumped to play in the games and honored to be a part of it. Being a USA Hockey alum, I am a close friend to a lot of the players on the current roster. My very best friend is [captain] Meghan Duggan. We met playing hockey in eighth grade, and were teammates throughout high school and college.”
She continued, “In 2010, we found ourselves walking side by side, with our jaws dragging on the floor in disbelief as we took that final lap during the opening ceremonies in Vancouver. We became Olympians together. We make each other better. We empower one another. We have the best friendship in the world and I could not feel more honored to step back on the ice with her and the rest of my buddies currently on Team USA to help them prep for success in South Korea.”
Westport, Connecticut native, Russo said, “I am very excited and honored to be representing the NWHL in the two-game series in Tampa against Team USA. This will be a great experience playing with and against the most skilled players in the country. It will also be fun to play against my good friend and former roommate, Amanda Kessel. It will be two amazing games and I am hoping to see some NWHL fans in attendance because it is going to be some great hockey. Let’s bring the gold back to the USA.”
Trivigno, from Setauket, New York added, “Having recently been part of the National Team Program and Team USA, I am very excited for the opportunity to go down to Florida and play against not only some of the best players in the world, but also some of my best friends.”
Field noted that having Team USA invite the NWHL down to help them prepare for the 2018 Olympics this close to them departing for South Korea, shows how far the league has progressed in its first three seasons. She added that USA Hockey would not have invited them for the tune-up games if they did not believe that the talent within the league was a deep as it is.
The battles will take place on Saturday January 13 at 6:15 pm and Monday January 15 at 2:15 pm at the Florida Hospital Center Ice in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Ticketing and broadcast information will be announced shortly. The NWHL will announce the six defenders and two goalies, that will round out the team on Thursday, December 28.
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