Saturday, the Buffalo Beauts announced the signing of Kelly Babstock. She spent the previous three seasons with the Connecticut Whale where she is the franchise leader in points (23G, 27A).
Additionally, she had a record-setting career at Quinnipiac University. She posted 203 points (95G, 108A) in 147 career games at Quinnipiac. She graduated as the Bobcats’ single-game and career leader in every offensive category. In her senior year, Babstock was named Female Athlete of the Year. She was also a Patty Kazmaier Award finalist and Quinnipiac’s first All-American.
Since she was 17, Babstock has called Connecticut her home away from home. So, why move to Western New York?
“It was one of the hardest decisions of my life,” Babstock told The Ice Garden Sunday morning. Buffalo sought to sign Babstock before, but she ultimately decided to stick with the Whale. This time, Babstock accepted the offer to join the Beauts.
“I am excited to have this opportunity to play for the Buffalo Beauts in such a great city,” she said in the Beauts press release. “Next season is going to be a great one, and I am excited to contribute to this organization. The fan base has always been passionate, and I am excited to play in front of a great crowd.”
When she agreed to terms, she had no idea what the roster would look like. Rather, she put her faith in the vision general manager Nik Fattey has for the team. “I didn’t know about any of the signings,” said Babstock. “I believed in Nik’s vision, and I wanted to be a part of it.”
Fattey’s vision includes 10 players to date. Babstock joins Corinne Buie as the only original NWHL players to sign a league contract thus far. The pair will team up for the first time this season in Buffalo. Buie won the Isobel Cup with the Boston Pride in 2016, and again with the Beauts in 2017.
Maddie Elia and Hayley Scamurra, rookies in the 2017-18 season, re-signed with the Beauts, and so has 2010 US Olympian Lisa Chesson. Two 2018 US Olympians — Dani Cameranesi and Nicole Hensley — will start their professional careers with the Beauts in the 2018-19 season. Now having seen the Buffalo signees, Babstock is eager to hit the ice. “I’m super excited to play with such amazing hockey players. I wish it was October.”
As her Connecticut chapter closes, Babstock is proud of the time she spent with the Whale. “I want to say thank you so much to the fans, you guys mean a lot to this game. Thank you to the little fans out there; keep dreaming! You’ll be playing in the pros one day, [so] believe in yourself. To my teammates and coaches, it’s been an amazing journey; I appreciate you all.”
In her fourth season in the NWHL, Babstock looks to find success in a new challenge, one that will hopefully lead to the Isobel Cup. “In Buffalo, I just want to play the best I can and produce ... forecheck hard (laughs), battle hard, and do everything I can for the team.”