NWHL Offseason: Roster Roundup 7/12

Less than two weeks after the conclusion of the 2021 draft, teams are beginning to sign their selections.

July got off to a great start, with a total of 31 players now under contract in the NWHL.

2021-22 NWHL Signing Tracker

Boston Pride

  • Players signed: None/

There has been relatively little news out of Boston this offseason, though the departure of general manager Karilyn Pilch might have thrown a wrench into the mechanics of signing players on for season seven.

That being said, this doesn’t mean there’s any reason to worry for Pride fans. With no schedule released for the upcoming season but a rumored regular season start date of November, the Pride have plenty of time to build their roster up and hit the ice as the dominant squad we know and love.

Buffalo Beauts

  • Players signed: 14
  • Returners: Dominique Kremer, Taylor Accursi
  • Newcomers: Emilie Harley, Anjelica Diffendal/

On June 22nd, the Beauts announced the return of Dominique Kremer, who made the jump to the NWHL last season after spending a year in Europe with the SDHL’s Djurgårdens IF. Kremer has quickly become one of the keys to the Beauts’ defense, and will work well with Lisa Chesson and Emma Keenan to fortify Buffalo’s blue line.

The Beauts also made a splash with the return of captain Taylor Accursi. Accursi sat out the Lake Placid tournament due to her responsibilities as a police officer, but will be back in Beauts blue for the upcoming season. The forward had a career-best season in 2019-20, potting 16 goals (including a 4-goal performance at the Buffalo Believes Classic) and registering 9 assists for a total of 25 points.

Less than two weeks after the conclusion of the 2021 draft and Buffalo has already inked two of its selections to contracts: Robert Morris alumnae Emilie Harley and Anjelica Diffendal. Harley, who alternates between playing forward and defender, will bring a whole lot of character and a whole lot of strength to the Beauts no matter her role. Diffendal, a forward, could revitalize the Beauts’ offense and bring some a much-needed scoring touch to Buffalo.

Connecticut Whale

  • Players signed: 8
  • Returners: Tori Howran, Mariah Fujimagari/

While the Whale had a busy start to the offseason, things have slowed down a bit on the news front since the appointment of general manager Alexis Moed ahead of the 2021 draft.

Since announcing the addition of Kennedy Marchment and Allie Munroe from the SDHL, the Whale have made two new additions with the signing of Tori Howran, the team’s seventh overall draft pick in 2020, and making Mariah Fujimagari’s role official for season seven.

Though her sample size is admittedly small, Howran had very promising performances in Lake Placid and in Boston, potting a goal and registering two assists over the course of four games played. She’s proved herself to be incredibly reliable on the blue line, and with the loss of Shannon Doyle to retirement, could become the future of the Connecticut defense.

Mariah Fujimagari’s return to the Whale was officially announced this morning. Prior to the start of season six, Fujimagari had spent the offseason and the preseason training with the Whale for her role as the league’s emergency back-up goalie (EBUG) in Lake Placid. Now that she is back with the Whale in an official capacity — and that Abbie Ives has already signed a contract of her own — the question of Brooke Wolejko’s future remains.

Metropolitan Riveters

  • Players signed: 1
  • Returners: Madison Packer/

Anya Packer has had a fairly quiet start to her tenure as Riveters general manager in terms of player signings — though the announcement of a rebrand might disqualify her term as starting “quietly.”

In the months since the conclusion of the season, only the signing of Madison Packer has been announced, though there have been rumors that other players have inked contracts for season seven. Nevertheless, the return of captain Packer is huge for the team and, though Packer didn’t register a single point in Lake Placid, she led her squad with a dominant 34 points in 2019-20. There’s no room to underestimate Packer either as Riveters fans or as opposing teams.

Minnesota Whitecaps

  • Players signed: None/

All quiet on the western front, with general manager and head coach Jack Brodt keeping his cards close to his chest as we wander deeper into the offseason.

Toronto Six

  • Players signed: 8
  • Team transfers: Saroya Tinker
  • Newcomers: Maegan Beres, Leah Marino/

The Six made some serious waves when they announced Saroya Tinker, a Riveters draft pick in 2020, was joining her hometown squad for season seven. Tinker was a force to be reckoned with in Lake Placid, and Metropolitan’s loss will surely be Toronto’s gain.

The fresh faces joining the Six ahead of next year’s campaign include Boston College captain and Toronto draft pick Maegan Beres, a certified playmaker who will be a valuable addition to the Six’s forward depth chart, and forward Leah Marino — who becomes the youngest player to ever be drafted into the league. Both forwards are sure to make an impact when it comes to scoring for the Six.