A day after Kelly Babstock announced the news on a podcast, the NWHL made it official - the Canadian forward is signing with the to-be-named Toronto team.
Babstock played four seasons in the league - three with the Connecticut Whale and one with the Buffalo Beauts - before joining the PWHPA in the Tri-State region last season. She was never on a Dream Gap Tour roster, however.
Babstock opens the interview saying "One f-ing good thing is that I'm home with my family and I actually just signed a contract with the Toronto team in the NWHL ... I'm excited to play hockey" (starts 13:00)https://t.co/q48W1SntpM— Michelle Jay (@michelle_jay3) May 1, 2020
“Last year I took the year off, I joined the [PWH]PA. I realized the PA’s goals didn’t match mine and the NWHL’s matches with my goals. So I’m excited to play hockey again,” said Babstock on the podcast. She also cited “a lot of improvements” in the past year such as the 50/50 revenue split and a raised salary cap.
In her previous four seasons, Babstock was twice named to an All Star Team and was also on Team NWHL when they faced off against Team USA in two games ahead of the 2018 Olympics. She had 60 points in 65 games.
“I missed having the hunger to win a championship — the Izzy Cup, and I embrace this opportunity Toronto has given me. It’s a dream come true to represent my hometown team. Once we get back to playing hockey, I’m giving everything I have to Toronto, the league, our game and the fans,” she said in the league’s press release.
She’ll reunite with two former NWHL teammates - Shiann Darkangelo after playing together on the inaugural Whale team and Emma Greco from the 2017-18 Whale. However, on the podcast, Babstock said she’ll still be living in Connecticut as she still works in the area.
“Kelly Babstock is an awesome fit for our team in Toronto,” said Toronto NWHL President Digit Murphy in the league’s press release. “She’s highly-skilled, hard-edged, experienced, fierce, dedicated to winning. To have this great hockey player back home playing before the GTA fans is cause for celebration.”