The New York Riveters re-signed one of the team’s most crucial restricted free agents today. Ashley Johnston, the Riveters captain, has signed on for a third season of NWHL hockey.
Johnston joins her teammates Cheeky Herr, Lauren Wash, Sarah Bryant, Katie Fitzgerald, Rebecca Russo, and Tatiana Rafter on the 2017-18 Riveters roster.
“I’m proud to say I play in the NWHL,” Johnston shared in the league’s press release. “It’s providing a great stepping stone for female sports — especially female hockey — and it’s a humbling experience to be part of the foundation. Every year the Riveters have been more and more active in the community and in grassroots efforts. The league is really starting to catch fire. I’m looking forward to continuing that effort and supporting the league as it grows. Most importantly though, I’m looking forward to bringing Isobel to New York and New Jersey.”
Clearly, “Stretch” feels that she has some unfinished business to attend to. The Riveters were shocked by an early playoff exit at the hands of the eventual Isobel Cup Champion Buffalo Beauts. Johnston re-signing with the team is a big step in the right direction for the Riveters blue line.
Johnston played largely in a shutdown role in the 2016-17 season but proved that she has plenty of offensive upside in the NWHL’s inaugural season. She has three goals and eight assists in 33 NWHL regular season games.
The Riveters roster is slowly coming together now that the captain is back. With Madison Packer retired and Amanda Kessel lost to centralization, it will be interesting to see who else will wear letters on their jerseys. Kiira Dosdall was the team’s other alternate captain last season after the retirement of Morgan Fritz-Ward.