At the beginning of the PHF off-season, I was told to keep an eye on the Buffalo Beauts, and that they would be making a pair of roster moves that would have us saying wow. Check, and check.
The first of those moves was reacquiring Mikyla Grant-Mentis, who’s played at an MVP level for the past two seasons, and the second was signing standout netminder Kassidy Sauvé, who was coming off an 8-0-0/0.88 GAA/.964 save pct. performance in Finland’s Naisten Liiga. Now, I’m no math expert like my colleague Mike Murphy, but even I know that those are impressive forking numbers.
“People realize that Sauvé is a very skillful goaltender, but I think sometimes they may overlook how much of a battler she is too. She takes the competitive aspects of the game very seriously,” Beauts GM Nate Oliver told us about one of his prized free agent signings this summer.
“Kass possesses a great deal of talent — that’s pretty widely recognized — but I think it’s important to give her full props for how hard she works, too. Her work ethic combined with her great skill is a dynamic combination that routinely pays dividends. When a player like that is on the market, you need to do what you can to secure them. Fortunately, we did.”
Make no mistake about it, the Beauts are trying to find their way back to the Isobel Cup Final. A place where they resided for the first four seasons of the NWHL’s existence, and a place they have yet to return to since Lee Stecklein’s shot found the back of the net in overtime, in Minnesota, in March of 2019. In fact, the Beauts have spent more time in the bottom portion of the standings than any other PHF team since then. But with MGM, Sauvé and co. they are expected to be light years better for Season 8.
“As a group, we all put a lot of work in this summer,” Sauvé told me after her preseason debut in Beauts’ blue. “I don’t know what happened here in the past all that much, but what I do know is that everyone did what they needed to do this summer to come to training camp in excellent shape and ready to perform. I think we have a committed group that is willing to do whatever it takes to compete on the ice.”
Here’s the rest of our interview where we spoke about a myriad of topics:
The Ice Garden: Let’s start here, you’re obviously a very talented goaltender and likely could have signed with a number of teams this summer; why did you ultimately choose Buffalo?
Kassidy Sauvé: You know what, the open line of communication between the staff (GM and coaches), myself, and my agent was just unbelievable, right from the start. I kind of knew as I went through the process that, that’s what I wanted. I’ve had my fair share of coaches over the years and what the Beauts expect out of a team, and what they are driving to do — that was something that aligned with my values, and goals as an athlete.
Earlier this week the @WhitbyGHA U22 team had our Kassidy Sauvé (@ksauve32) - a former Wolf herself - drop the ceremonial puck alongside Deputy Mayor of Whitby Elizabeth Roy at their home opener! Thanks for inviting Kass out! See you in the #PHF soon, ladies! 🐺 #Beauts pic.twitter.com/92ITUVKUng— Buffalo Beauts (@BuffaloBeauts) October 7, 2022
TIG: How has the adjustment to a new team and a pair of new goalie partners gone so far?
KS: I think it’s gone well so far. This is a special group, and everyone genuinely cares about one another here. Which, I feel, is kinda hard to come by. Having a team that is willing to do anything for each other already - says a lot about the character and the people that they chose to be a part of this team.
As for my goalie partners, they’ve been awesome and we’ve had great chemistry so far. We push each other in practice, which I think is huge. Both Tera (Hofmann) and Lollo (Berndtsson) are really good people and goaltenders. It’s great to have that dynamic in the dressing room and on the ice together.
Heading back to Buffalo today is @ksauve32 @BuffaloBeauts @PHF mask. Super excited to get to work with Kassidy again!!! Best of luck this year!!!! #NoWhiteBuckets #HHdFamily pic.twitter.com/SkQQpDYFR9— HelmetHead Design (@HelmetHead_D) September 14, 2022
TIG: I was lucky enough to see your new mask tonight, looks amazing by the way. How much fun do you have when you get to design new equipment?
KS: I let the designer take the wheel on this one. I told them the main things I wanted, especially on the backplate - including my family and my nieces; that stuff is super important to me. As for the rest of it, I told them what logos to run with and when he sent me a mockup of it I was like, yup that’s it. That’s what I kind of had in my head. It was an easy process. I worked with the same guy who did my mask at Clarkson, so we already had that foundational relationship where he knew what I liked, and what I’d be looking for.
TIG: Any particular reason that you wear no. 32 & who are your favorite goalies?
KS: I’ve been wearing the number 32 for quite some time now. When my dad was playing hockey he wore #32 and then my favorite goalie - Charline Labonté (3x Olympic Gold Medalist from the Canadian National Team) wore it. So I’ve been wearing it since I was little.
As for favorite goalies, obviously Charline Labonté, and then on the men’s side I’d say Ed Belfour. (GRINS) I begged for a Belfour Toronto Maple Leafs jersey for my birthday, and I used to wear his mask.
TIG: This might be wrong, but I want to ask you anyway. I was told by someone that you thrive or relish the role of being on an underdog team or a team that isn’t expected to do much. Is that accurate?
KS: The reality of it is no one really knows who I am, and I’m okay with that being new to the league. I think I can prove a lot for myself, but at the same time, this is an opportunity for me to have fun. And to enjoy being on a team with some structure, which I think will be good for me. Not putting too much pressure on myself and just having fun because at the end of the day — it’s just a game, right?