After appearing in five games last season as a practice player with the Whale Anya Battaglino has signed on as a full contract player for the 2017-18 NWHL season.
Battaglino has played for Connecticut since the NWHL’s inaugural season. She has played in 13 games over two seasons. This is the first time that Battaglino has signed a contract to be on the team’s main roster.
“Signing a season 3 contract with the Whale is one of the proudest moments of my NWHL career,” Battaglino shared in the league’s press release. “I am a full contract player now after working hard as a practice player. I am so happy to have earned the full-time spot with the Whale.”
The Whale turned to Battaglino last season after the departure of Molly Engstrom and Ivana Bilic from the blue line. Later, the entire league turned to her when she became the director of the NWHLPA after the NWHL’s controversial salary cuts.
Battaglino is fast becoming one of the most recognizable faces of North American women’s hockey because of her leadership off the ice. She was one of three players to win the Fans’ 3 Stars Award last season.
In addition to carrying the Isobel Cup out to center ice before it was awarded to the Buffalo Beauts, Battaglino also served as a color commentator for the league last season when she wasn’t patrolling the Whale’s blue line.
“Watching how the team has grown and changed and succeeded and struggled has made me elevate all levels of my game,” Battaglino explained. “Joining the CT Whale and moving from my hometown was a humbling decision, but signing my season 3 contract feels like 'Hey Connecticut, I am here, and I am home.’ I am so inspired to continue to pave the way for the betterment of women in power positions. We are changing the world, and season 3 for the NWHL is just proof of that.”
Battaglino is the sixth Whale to come to terms with the team and the third defender under contract. She joins Shannon Doyle, Kelly Babstock, Sydney Rossman, Elena Orlando and Cydney Roesler on the 2017-18 roster.