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Behind the Glass: Which U.S. states do NWHL players come from?

The NWHL is back in action and that means there are a lot of Minnesotans on the ice

Michelle Jay

After a brief holiday break, it’s time for another installment of Behind the Glass — our weekly column collecting stories, stats, trends, and observations from the world of professional women’s hockey.


  • Maddie Elia had four primary points in the Buffalo Beauts’ big victory against the visiting Minnesota Whitecaps on Sunday. Elia now has two three-point games and four multi-point games this season. She earned Player of the Week honors with a stat line of two goals, two assists, four SOG, and four PIM over the weekend.
  • Elia and Scamurra are now first and second among the NWHL’s top goal scorers with eight and seven goals, respectively. Together, they have just two goals less than the entire Riveters roster has in 10 games this season.
  • The Whitecaps’ power play went 1-for-11 against the Beauts at the KeyBank Center and the HarborCenter last weekend. Their 5.4 percent success rate on the power play is tied for the worst in the league with the Riveters.
  • Goaltender Nicole Hensley now has shutouts in two of her first three starts in the NWHL. On Sunday, she posted a 33-save shutout at the expense of the Minnesota Whitecaps. Needless to say, it was a far more impressive performance than her 10-save shutout against the Whale in her NWHL debut on Oct. 7.
  • Hensley’s shutout was also the first shutout recorded against the Whitecaps as an NWHL franchise. Minnesota scored 21 goals in their first five games of the season, but have scored just five goals in their last five games. Friends, this is why we identify exceedingly high shooting percentages and categorize them as unsustainable.
  • The Whale are 2-2-1 in their last five games. The last time Connecticut earned five points in the standings in five consecutive games was the NWHL’s inaugural season.
  • The Pride won Sunday’s tilt against the Whale in overtime thanks to a snipe from Haley Skarupa, but the game might not have reached overtime if not for Lauren Kelly’s diving stick check that appeared to erase a goal from the stick of Hanna Beattie.
  • This season, the NWHL’s players come from five different countries. On Sunday, the Connecticut Whale’s Michelle Löwenhielm made history as the first Swedish player to score a goal in the NWHL.
  • The 97 American players currently active in the NWHL hail from 21 different states. Fittingly, no U.S. state has more representation in the NWHL than the State of Hockey — 29 NWHLers have a town or city that they call home in Minnesota. Following Minnesota, New York and Massachusetts have the most representation in the league, followed by Illinois.
In the graphic above the different shades of green represent the quantity of NWHL players who are currently in the league. The darker the shade of green, the higher the number of American NWHL players call it home.
Mike Murphy
  • On Wednesday, the Riveters acquired Maria Sorokina from the Whale in exchange for future considerations. This is just the second time in NWHL history that “future considerations” have been part of a deal, the first being the Zoe Hickel trade on Feb. 7, 2017. Connecticut has taken part in five of the six trades in NWHL history — five of them being with the Riveters.
  • Shortly after the Sorokina trade, Erica Ayala reported that the Riveters released rookie forward Fiona McKenna. This leaves the Riveters with three contract spots left even after the acquisition of Sorokina.
  • Greg Wyshynski predicted that we will see the NWHL and CWHL merge in 2019, with NHL backing. We shall see.
  • The much-awaited two-game series between Luleå Hockey/MSSK and MODO at the close of December resulted in a series split. MODO won the first match on Dec. 27 by a score of 3-2, but Luleå out-shot MODO 86-49 in the series. Luleå is now three points behind MODO in the SDHL standings, but they have four games in hand.
  • SKSO earned two points in the ZhHL standings in the 2018 calendar year. Their most recent point was earned in a 2-1 OT loss to SK Gorny on Dec. 21. They were out-shot 49-24 by SK Gorny in that contest.
  • Anna Shokhina has a commanding lead of the ZhHL’s scoring race. She has 29 goals and 35 assists in 27 games for Tornado HK. Last season she led the league with 58 points in 24 games. Tornado has nine games remaining in the 2018-19 regular season.