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Tatiana Rafter signs in Russia

The Isobel Cup Champion will be playing hockey on the other side of the globe next season.

Tatiana Rafter warming up before a Riveters game during the 2016-17 season.
Al Saniuk

Today Tatiana Rafter announced, via her Twitter, that she will playing the 2018-19 season in Russia. Rafter has signed with Arktik-Universitet Ukhta; a club which will be relocating to St. Petersburg in November and will be re-branded as SK Gorny. Yes, that means that the club’s adorable logo might be changing.

Earlier this offseason Rafter announced that she was moving on from the NWHL so that she could play in the CWHL. In a recent interview with the Winnipeg Free Press she shared that her ultimate goal is to play for Team Canada at the Beijing Olympics in four years. Playing pro hockey in Canada was a logical step towards that goal. During her tenure with the Metropolitan Riveters, Rafter frequently displayed her valuable combination of size, speed, and soft hands. In her past two seasons in Newark she scored a total of 10 goals and three assists.

It’s worth mentioning that the Riveters played against Team Russia during the NWHL’s preseason the last two years. So Rafter has already shared the same ice surface with Fanuza Kadirova, Arktik-Universitet’s star forward. Kadirova led the team in scoring last season with 16 goals and 11 assists in 24 games. Arktik’s second-highest scorer, Diana Bulatova, finished the season with three goals and 11 assists. Kadirova, 20, was scoreless in six games at the Pyeongchang Olympics while playing for the Olympic Athletes from Russia.

SK Gorny will be hoping that the 5-foot-9 Canadian and the 5-foot-4 Russian will be able to develop some chemistry and give the team more bite in the offensive zone than it had last season. Kadirova and company finished outside the playoffs last year with a record of 4-17-3 and a -44 goal differential.