Noora Räty will return to Nokia Pyry next season, she announced Wednesday. Räty, 27, is fresh off a bronze medal and a Best Goalkeeper award at the 2017 World Championships. She originally came to Pyry in January of this year.
Räty started her men’s pro career in 2014 with Kiekko-Vantaa in Finland’s second-tier Mestis league, becoming its first female goaltender and the second woman in its history after Hayley Wickenheiser broke the barrier in 2002.
After one season in Vantaa, Räty signed with KJT in the men's Suomi-Sarja league. The 16-team league sits at the third tier of men’s professional hockey in Finland, after Mestis and the top-level Liiga. Räty played with KJT for the entire 2015-2016 season and part of 2016-2017 before announcing she had signed with Pyry. She was effusive in her praise for her new team, calling them "one of the best organizations in Suomi-Sarja." Pyry finished third in the Suomi-Sarja standings, while her previous team KJT came in last and faced relegation.
In four regular-season games with Pyry last season, Räty posted a .898 save percentage. This will be her fourth season of professional men's hockey.