Shannon Szabados forgoes NWHL opportunity to re-sign in men’s pro league

Jared Clinton
Shannon Szabados. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Shannon Szabados has her eye on a starting job this season, but that doesn’t mean she’ll have to leave the SPHL to play in either of North America’s women’s leagues.

In an interview with the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson, Szabados said she was given the opportunity to join the NWHL — the newest professional women’s league in North America and one that will pay its players — but she has instead chosen to return to the Columbus Cottonmouths for her second full season in the men’s league.

“I definitely thought about (the NWHL),” Szabados told Matheson. “I wasn’t contacted directly by a team, but I was by the league. I got all the information about the draft and signing up and, yeah, I read it all.” Read more

Edney taken first overall at CWHL draft, Wickenheiser a second-round pick of Calgary

Jared Clinton
Hayley Wickenheiser  (Photo by Phillip Chin/WireImage)

Amidst an off-season that has seen the CWHL lose a number of players to the burgeoning NWHL, the primarily Canadian women’s league restocked its rosters at the 2015 draft Sunday afternoon.

The Brampton Thunder, which was the only club not to make the Clarkson Cup tournament in 2014-15, had the first overall selection at the draft and used it to take blueliner Sarah Edney. Edney, a product of the NCAA’s Harvard University, scored eight goals and 22 points in 32 games for the Crimson in 2014-15. Edney was a member of the Canadian under-22 women’s team that won gold at the Nations Cup in January.

Following behind Edney in the draft were Emily Fulton (Toronto Furies), Marie-Philip Poulin (Montreal Stars), Brianne Jenner (Calgary Inferno) and Kristina Brown (Boston Blades). Read more

Great Britain’s women’s national team goaltender signs professional men’s league deal

Jared Clinton
Sheffield Steeldogs logo (via Sheffield Steeldogs)

You won’t find Nicole Jackson at the Olympic games or the World Championships, but having established herself as one of the best women’s netminders not yet in the top level of international competition has opened the door for her to join the men’s English Premier League next season.

The EPIHL’s Sheffield Steeldogs announced this week that Jackson, 22, will be joining the club as a backup netminder. The contract is a two-way deal that will also allow her to play in an amateur league so she can continue to get starting work.

Jackson won’t be making her EPL debut, however, as this past season she had played alongside the Steeldogs in the English Challenge Cup. Read more

NWHL rosters complete, but several players awaiting releases before announcing NWHL deals

Jared Clinton
NWHL Flag

Even if there has been a slight roadblock, the NWHL announced Monday that they’ve reached one of the first major goals as an upstart league.

The paid North American women’s league announced that the rosters for each of the league’s four teams has been filled. However, only 61 of the 72 players have been formally announced as member’s of the league. According to the NWHL, the league has, “agreed to not announce the remaining players’ intent to play in the league until they receive official releases from other leagues.”

One of the players whose contract has yet to be announced is Hilary Knight, the women’s hockey superstar and member of the CWHL’s Boston Blades in 2014-15.

Less than a week ago, Knight said that she would be joining the NWHL for the league’s inaugural season, but there has still yet to be word on which team she would be joining. In her interview with New York Magazine’s ‘The Cut,’ Knight only confirmed her participation in the league. Read more

Canadian Olympian Jennifer Wakefield ‘excited’ to play in Swedish Div. 2 men’s league

Jared Clinton
Jennifer Wakefield (Abelimages/Getty Images)

Even with the inception of the NWHL and the ever-growing prominence of the CWHL, Jennifer Wakefield isn’t going to resist the opportunity to play against the toughest men’s competition she can find.

Wakefield, 26, has spent the past two seasons in Sweden, but this will be the first time she’s playing solely men’s hockey.

In 2013-14, Wakefield suited up in Riksserien, Sweden’s women’s league, as well as playing in the Olympics in Sochi, but this past season she got her first shot at men’s action. As she has done just about everywhere she has played, Wakefield made the most of the opportunity. Read more

Hilary Knight says she’s leaving CWHL, will sign in NWHL

Jared Clinton
Hilary Knight (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Being that she’s one of the greatest women’s players in the world, Hilary Knight has almost all her options available when it comes to women’s club teams to play for. And it appears she’s made the first big choice.

It has long been speculated that Knight would be leaving the CWHL’s Boston Blades to play in the burgeoning NWHL, especially after she joined NWHL commissioner Dani Rylan at the league’s launch party and on Sports Illustrated’s SI Now promoting the league. However, there had yet to be confirmation Knight would head to the NWHL. Until Tuesday, that is.

In an article about the new women’s league published by New York Magazine’s ‘The Cut,’ Knight was asked about what her future would hold and confirmed that she would be NWHL bound. Read more

Buffalo Beauts tag two-time Olympian, former NHLer as co-coaches for inaugural season

Jared Clinton
Ric Seiling and Shelley Looney. (via NWHL/NWHL.co)

The Buffalo Beauts will be enlisting in the help of a two-time Olympian and longtime Buffalo Sabre to help guide the way during the franchise’s inaugural NWHL campaign.

It was announced Monday that Shelley Looney, a longtime U.S. women’s team forward, and Ric Seiling, who played in more than 700 NHL games, will be co-coaches of the Beauts for the NWHL’s debut season, which kicks off Oct. 11.

It won’t be the first foray into a leadership role for either Looney or Seiling. For the past two seasons, Looney has been the hockey director for the Buffalo Bison Hockey Association, and she previously undertook the same role with the New Jersey Colonials from 2006 to 2013.

Looney also spent time with the Under-17 National Team Development Program and served as an assistant coach at University of Vermont. As for Seiling, the former Sabres winger spent three seasons patrolling the bench in the Central League and had stint as a coach in the OHL and an assistant coach in the AHL. Read more

NWHL alters logos for Buffalo, Connecticut, opens online store

Jared Clinton
NWHL Shop with new Beauts and Whale gear. (via NWHL)

The NWHL’s free agency period closes in less than two weeks, but the biggest changes that happened Wednesday for the Buffalo Beauts and Connecticut Whale were purely aesthetic.

Though the two teams have yet to hit the ice, it was announced by the NWHL that the Beauts and Whale were making modifications to their logos. While the modifications — the addition of a Buffalo to the Beauts logo and locating an updated whale inside a large ‘C’ for the Whale’s new look — may not have seemed like a necessity for the clubs, the new logos are fantastic upgrades over the former look. Read more