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The Tale of the Tape: Tatiana Rafter’s Unique Jersey

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New York Riveters forward Tatiana Rafter warming up before an NWHL game at the HarborCenter in Buffalo on Oct. 8 2016. (Photo by Al Saniuk)
Al Saniuk

On Saturday night Tatiana Rafter played in her first game with the New York Riveters.

Nine weeks ago Rafter didn’t think she’d be in the NWHL for a second season. She had plans to continue her hockey career in Sweden after not re-signing with the Buffalo Beauts. But New York Riveters general manager Chad Wiseman offered Rafter a contract at the eleventh hour. She jumped at the opportunity to stay in the NWHL and be a key cog in the a greatly improved Riveters team.

Nine weeks ago Rafter didn’t think she’d be playing for the Riveters. She didn’t think she’d have new roommates and a bed frame to put together before the Riveters’ first preseason game against Team Russia. And Rafter certainly didn’t think she’d be wearing a jersey with her number taped on the back.

When Rafter took to the ice for warm-ups on Saturday night there was a little problem with her jersey. The patch of the Riveters’ logo on the front of the jersey had managed to come off. A change of sweater was necessary.

Tatiana Rafter’s blank jersey that later had tape added to it for an NWHL game at the HarborCenter on Oct. 8, 2016

Rafter lined up for the national anthem with her teammates with a blank Riveters’ jersey (no number or name on the back) with an intact logo patch. Sometime before puck drop Rafter’s number was added to her jersey’s back and sleeves. With white hockey tape.

Rafter played her first game with her new NWHL team without her name on the back of her jersey. But fans didn’t have any trouble identifying her when she jammed home a loose puck at the 6:33 mark of the third period.

Nine weeks ago Rafter was prepared to cross the Atlantic Ocean to continue her hockey career. On Saturday night she scored her first goal in her first game with her new NWHL team. Rafter’s excitement was palpable. Her enthusiastic celebration was one of the highlights of the NWHL’s opening weekend.

The Riveters lost their first game of the season to the Pride, but they showed signs of having a deep, dangerous hockey team. Rafter is one of the new faces that gives the Riveters the offensive depth that they lacked in their inaugural season. She showed that with her speed, size, and quick hands on Saturday night.

She also proved once and for all that hockey tape can do pretty much anything.