In a shocking move, Americans Kacey Bellamy and Brianna Decker have signed with the CWHL’s Calgary Inferno.
The Olympic gold medalists have played in the CWHL before. In 2014-15, they played for the Boston Blades together, winning the Clarkson Cup. Bellamy had played for the Blades for four seasons prior.
“I am beyond excited to have the chance to play for the Calgary Inferno this coming season. The organization is one of the top in the CWHL with state-of-the-art facilities and an incredible GM,” Bellamy stated in the Inferno’s press release. “To have the opportunity to play for Shannon Miller is a complete honour, seeing what she has done and continues to do for our sport. But I think I am most excited about meeting the team! It will be special to share this year beside players I have competed against for so many years and to try to win the Clarkson Cup”.
The forward and defender have played together as far back as 2010-11, when Decker made her first appearance on the US senior team at Worlds during her second year in college. After one season with the Blades together, they — and the rest of the US National Team players — left the CWHL for the newly formed NWHL. They won the inaugural Isobel Cup with the Boston Pride, making them one of the few women’s hockey players in the world to win a Clarkson, Isobel, Worlds gold medal, and Olympic gold medal.
They will reunite with Zoe Hickel, who they played with on the Pride and at two World Championships with Team USA. The Inferno recently named Shannon Miller as their head coach as well.
“I’m excited to be back in the CWHL and to join the Calgary Inferno,” Decker shared in the release. “I’ve always admired the league and what it stands for. Calgary was an easy choice as it offers so much – great group of players, world-class facilities, competitive coach and a beautiful city. I’m extremely excited to get going and continue to grow the game.”
Bellamy and Decker will fill some holes on the Inferno. This off season they’ve lost three players to retirement: defender Jacquie Pierri, goaltender Delayne Brian, and forward Brittany Esposito. They also traded goaltender Geneviève Lacasse and forward Jillian Saulnier to Les Canadiennes de Montréal for future considerations. In addition, CWHL Rookie of the Year Sophie Shirley will not be returning to the team as she’ll join the NCAA’s Wisconsin Badgers. Shirley kept her eligibility by not being paid last season.
Olympians Brianne Jenner and Blayre Turnbull did return to the team for their Clarkson Cup push last season; however, it’s yet to be seen if they or other Canadian Olympians will return to the team.