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NWHL Offseason: News Roundup 7/19

A lot happened in the league last week. Let’s get all caught up.

Connecticut Whale defender Elena Orlando in Lake Placid, NY.
Michelle Jay

Lots to go over on the NWHL circuit, and so little time!

  • Let’s start with perhaps the most intriguing news of all: this cryptic tweet from the league account on July 14 regarding a “rebranding.”

There hasn’t been anything since this, but it will be incredibly interesting to see what comes of it.

  • Of course, almost immediately following that little tidbit was the announcement of two new scouting directors. Bill Flanagan (a familiar name if you follow the PWHPA) will oversee the American scouting office, while Ken Dufton takes over the post for Canadian scouting. Both men have extensive girls’ and women’s hockey experience on the coaching and scouting ends, though it would have been nice to see women in women’s hockey scouting roles.
  • The league announced July 16 that it had fined the Metropolitan Riveters $500 for violating NWHL by-laws by communicating with a drafted player before the start of free agency. General manager Anya Packer took responsibility for the gaffe publicly via Twitter:
  • On a more team-specific level, the Boston Pride announced a new general manager in former Brown University standout Danielle Lorouco. The Rockland, Mass. native has deep roots in the New England hockey community alongside her business and leadership acumen, which definitely bodes well for an already successful franchise with two Isobel Cups under its belt.
  • The Riveters, meanwhile, added to their bench leadership by bringing Kelly Nash on as associate head coach and head scout for the organization, which is one hell of a hire. Nash is another former player with coaching experience and a strong connection to the Rivs in general, and I can’t wait to see what she does behind the bench for Metro.
  • Lastly, we round out the roundup with the announcement of two retirements. After losing longtime captain and stalwart defender Shannon Doyle, the Connecticut Whale had to say goodbye to another veteran in Elena Orlando. The blueliner was the fifth-longest tenured player in league history and part of the Original Eight (as in eight players who had played in the NWHL since Year One).

With her departure, the Whale are definitely going to be in search of a new identity, but I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point in the future Orlando made a comeback in another capacity.

  • Buffalo Beauts forward Kristin Lewicki also announced her retirement from the game in a post from July 15, in order to pursue a new career:

Lewicki hangs up the skates after two full seasons with the Beauts and Riveters, leaving briefly to join the PWHPA before coming back to Buffalo for six games in 2019-20. She also played for the Beauts in the single-site season in Lake Placid, displaying her signature speed and drive to the net — both of which will be missed in Year Seven.