The Connecticut Whale announced the signing of 2018 Isobel Cup champion defender Rebecca Morse, who spent the first four years of her NWHL career with the Metropolitan Riveters franchise.
The 5-foot-8, left-handed shot defender was first linked to the Whale this offseason when she skated at Connecticut’s free agent camp before participating in the Riveters’ camp. So, this signing isn’t come out of the blue but it still marks a big change to the Riveters’ team identity and another wrinkle in a fascinating offseason for the Whale.
WATCH: MOOOOOSE! @moose_X_ing scores the first goal of the @LabattUSA Buffalo Believes Classic! Playing goal outside can be tricky, and this one tricks Fujimagari to give the @Riveters a 1-0 lead. #LabattBlueBuffaloBelievesClassic— NWHL (@NWHL) December 29, 2019
: https://t.co/mx5FVvQzaM pic.twitter.com/8V9E1Qxrzk
Morse is the fourth defender to sign with the Whale this offseason, joining Tori Howran, Hanna Beattie, and Allie Munroe. “Moose” also joins former Riveter Cailey Hutchison, who signed with the Whale on July 26. This is also a reunion for Morse and Austrian center Janine Weber, who played with Morse at Providence College in 2013-14 and on the then New York Riveters in 2016-17.
The New Jersey native brings 58 games of NWHL experience to Connecticut. Over the past few seasons, Morse has established herself as a physical top-pair defender with offensive upside. She led all Riveters’ defenders in scoring in the 2019-20 season with four goals and seven assists in 24 games but didn’t get into the box score beyond taking 14 PIM in three games at Lake Placid.
Interestingly enough, just before the Whale announced the Morse signing the Riveters announced the addition of Slovakian defender and former Buffalo Beaut Lenka Čurmová. There’s a good chance that Čurmová will step into Morse’s role and see similar ice time for the Riveters. She has 12 points in 29 NWHL career games and played for HPK in Naisten Liiga at the end of the 2020-21 season, after Lake Placid.
With the addition of Moose, the Whale may have found a player who can help replace some of the passion and presence that Shannon Turner (nee Doyle) brought on and off the ice. Morse was an alternate captain for two years with the Riveters. Like the Whale’s former captain, she doesn’t shy away from the physical game and plays much larger than her frame. She can eat up top pair minutes and is known for her charisma on and off the ice.
For all of those reasons and more, Morse should be a great fit in Connecticut. Expect her to eat up a lot of minutes on the first or second pair at even strength and to kill penalties. Her big shot could also prove to be a weapon on the Whale’s first or second PP unit, which should be much improved from what we’ve seen in recent years.