General managers in place for all five NWHL teams

The roster builders are in place and, slowly but surely, the rosters are filling up

Yesterday, The Ice Garden confirmed that Jack Brodt, the founder and co-head coach of the 2019 Isobel Cup Champion Minnesota Whitecaps, is also the team’s general manager. With yesterday’s revelation, we now have a clear picture of how each NWHL team is building its roster for the 2019-20 season.

The Return of the Role

On April 25, Kate Whitman Annis was named the general of the Metropolitan Riveters. That announcement marked the return of that role for each of the NWHL’s teams for the first time   since the 2016-17 season. Last season, the Buffalo Beauts were the only team that had a general manager. Nik Fattey began the season as the team’s GM, but head coach Cody McCormick assumed the mantle after his resignation.

One month after Whitman Annis was named the general manager of the Whale, Bray Ketchum filled that role for the Connecticut Whale. One month after that development, Mandy Cronin became the the general manager of the NWHL’s Buffalo franchise. Cronin’s involvement with the league is particularly noteworthy. She is both a Clarkson Cup champion and one of the founders of the CWHL.

Boston Breaking the Mold

The only NWHL team that does not have a de facto general manager for the 2019-20 season is the Boston Pride. Erica Ayala reported that in May that head coach Paul Mara and the NWHL’s Deputy Commissioner, Hayley Moore, who served as the GM of the Pride in the league’s first two seasons, have been working together to build Boston’s roster.

We may have a clear picture of the NWHL’s general managers, but the Metropolitan Riveters and Connecticut Whale are still without a head coach. Of course, those aren’t the only question marks surrounding the league with July just around the corner. There is also the question of whether or not the Buffalo Beauts will undergo a potential re-branding.

Befuddled by the Beauts

On June 23, the Buffalo Beauts’ social media accounts went black, leading many to believe that a change was coming to the team’s name and/or image. The Ice Garden’s Eleni Demestihas reported that the Beauts wordmark currently belongs to Buffalo Beauts LLC, not the NWHL itself which had originally registered the wordmark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

According to the Buffalo News, Pegula Sports and Entertainment reached a verbal agreement with the NWHL to return ownership and control of the Beauts franchise, but the NWHL did not sign the necessary paperwork before its deadline. Furthermore, the Buffalo News is reporting that the league made additional financial demands after that agreement and will not sign until those demands are met.

Brick by Brick

Things may be up in the air with the branding of the NWHL’s Buffalo franchise, but the team has three players signed for next season. Including Beauts signings Corinne Buie, Mariah Fujimagari, and rookie Brooke Stacey, there are now 30 players under contract for the 2019-20 season.

Those 30 athletes — 11 of whom have signed with Boston — represent at least 24 percent of the total players that the league would need to fill all five of its rosters. It’s also worth noting that, at this time last year, only 20 players had signed on for the 2018-19 NWHL season. All five teams have at least three players signed. Furthermore, each of the founding four franchises have an original NWHLer on their roster. Not to be outdone, the Minnesota Whitecaps re-signed Brooke White-Lancette on June 24. White-Lancette is on the verge of playing her 16th season with the club.

We are now at six players who underwent a change of heart and signed with an NWHL team after making the #ForTheGame pledge.