Since 2013, defender Blake Bolden has signed with four different professional clubs. This week, the Boston College alumna signed with the Buffalo Beauts, making the 2018-19 season yet another new start.
“Buffalo with the first team that reached out to me when I was making my decision. [General manager] Nick Fattey was very open and explained everything to me. I felt very comfortable,” Bolden told the media Wednesday on a conference call. She is a founding member of the Boston Pride in the 2015-16 season and went on to win the first-ever Isobel Cup Championship in a three game series against the Beauts.
The Ohio-native is also eager to play closer to home for the upcoming season, especially since she spent last winter in Lugano, Switzerland. “I’m from Cleveland, Ohio so I felt as though that would be a great opportunity for my family. And I just know that Buffalo has a lot of great things going on that I wanted to be a part of and I really just wanted a change.” This is not the first time Blake has sought a change of pace in her professional career.
Some say the NWHL salary cuts or the (continued) USA Hockey snub made Bolden leave North America for HC Lugano last season. Perhaps that is true. What is also true is Bolden enjoys unique adventures and new challenges.
“I wanna check out every facet of women’s hockey,” Bolden told Kwani Abigail Lunis on her podcast Kwani’s Official Review in November 2016. “I’m thinking about playing overseas for a season or two,” she continued.
And so, that’s what she did!
Bolden tore it up on the ice, notching 16 goals and 11 assists for Lugano en route to a championship appearance. When not on the ice, Bolden embraced learning Italian and exploring the picturesque countryside of Switzerland.
Since returning from Lugano, Blake has been quite the jet-setter. She spoke at Jack & Jill conference in Washington, D.C, attended the NHL Awards in Las Vegas, and hosted several youth clinics through her Blake Bolden Athletics Mentorship program. Now, she will add Buffalo, N.Y to her travel log.
When asked if she will relocate to Western New York, the entrepreneur stated, “I will be playing a little bit in the fall but full time starting January through March,” she told the media Wednesday.
For Bolden, Buffalo is another opportunity to try something new. “The great thing about Buffalo is that I don’t [personally] know a lot of the individuals on the team and I’m really excited about that,” she shared on the media call. “I really wanted a fresh start.”
However, the Beauts still offer a familiar feel. For starters, Bolden played two seasons in the HarborCenter as a visitor, including the 2016 NWHL All-Star Game. Now, she’ll likely have a few more fans rooting for her.
Additionally, Bolden will be reunited with two former teammates. Blake played professionally alongside Corinne Buie (Pride, Blades) and in college with Emily Pfalzer. “I’m really excited to be on their team instead of playing against them,” she said laughing.
Bolden and the Beauts open the 2018-19 season on the road against the Connecticut Whale on Oct. 7.