Connecticut Whale (NWHL)

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Connecticut Whale
2020–21 NWHL season
CT Whale logo.svg
CityDanbury, Connecticut
LeagueNational Women's Hockey League
Home arenaDanbury Ice Arena
ColorsWhite, blue, green
Owner(s)Women’s Hockey Partners (NWHL)
General managerAmy Scheer[1]
Head coachColton Orr
CaptainShannon Doyle
MediaThe Collinsville Press
NWHL on Twitch
WebsiteOfficial Website

The Connecticut Whale is a professional women's ice hockey team based in Danbury, Connecticut. It is one of the four charter franchises of the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL). Its name and colors are an homage to the former NHL and WHA franchise known as the Hartford Whalers.


For their first season, the Whale played home games in Stamford, Connecticut at Chelsea Piers. Chris Ardito was hired as the first general manager in franchise history,[2] while Jake Mastel and Lisa Giovanelli coached the team. The team is the second professional hockey team to bear the Connecticut Whale name, following the American Hockey League team previously and currently known as the Hartford Wolf Pack.

Among their off-season acquisitions, the Whale signed Kaleigh Fratkin to a contract on July 1, 2015. She was the first Canadian player to sign a contract in the NWHL.[3]

The team made its debut in the 2015–16 season. Jessica Koizumi was named first team captain in franchise history.[4] The first game in NWHL history was a sell out on October 11, 2015 between the New York Riveters and Connecticut Whale.[5] The Whale prevailed by a 4–1 tally as Jessica Koizumi scored the first goal in both franchise and NWHL history. In the same game, Kelli Stack had one goal and two assists, becoming the first player to record a multi-point performance. Whale goaltender Jaimie Leonoff was credited the win, capturing the game's First Star. Stack was recognized as the Second Star, and Kelly Babstock, who became the first Canadian-born player to score a goal in an NWHL regular season game, was acknowledged as the Third Star.

The Whale won their first three games in franchise history with three different goalies. In the first game, the Whale prevailed with Jaimie Leonoff, while former Quinnipiac goaltender Chelsea Laden captured the second win, and Nicole Stock played her first game in over five years to capture the third win on the road against the New York Riveters.

Prior to the team's second season, the Whale moved to the Northford Ice Pavilion in Northford, Connecticut.[6] This lasted one season as the Whale moved to the Terry Conners Ice Rink at Cove Island Park in Stamford, Connecticut, for the 2017–18 season.[7]

On August 20, 2018, the Whale named active player Cydney Roesler an assistant coach for the 2018–19 season making her the first player-coach in franchise history.[8]

After two seasons at Terry Conners Ice Rink, the Whale moved again to the larger Danbury Ice Arena in Danbury, Connecticut.[9] Former NHL enforcer Colton Orr was named as head coach for the 2019–20 season.[10] The team was eliminated in the semifinal game by the Boston Pride prior to the championship being cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following season was then delayed amidst the capacity and travel restrictions during the pandemic. The 2020–21 season eventually started on January 23, 2021, with the entire season to be played at Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, New York, without fans in attendance and teams kept in isolation. However, the Metropolitan Riveters were forced to withdraw from the two-week season on January 28 after several members of the organization tested positive for COVID-19.[11] The schedule was then adjusted to have the top three teams at the time play a round-robin tournament to determine playoff seeding with the Whale as the second seed. Connecticut then lost to the expansion Toronto Six 0–6 on January 31. The next day, the team forfeited their final game to the Minnesota Whitecaps and withdrew from the playoffs[12] citing concerns with increased positive cases within the bubble and protecting their players from the virus.[13] Two days later, the league suspended the season before the playoffs could commence due to several more positive tests throughout the league.[14] The league then re-scheduled the playoffs to be held at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Massachusetts, with the Whale re-entered as the third seed to face the Minnesota Whitecaps, who they would have faced regardless of the outcome of the game the Whale withdrew from in Lake Placid, in a semifinal game.[15] The Whale then lost to the Whitecaps 7–0 in the semifinal game.

Season-by-season records[edit]

Season GP W L OTL SOL Pts GF GA Playoffs
2015–16 18 13 5 0 0 26 61 51 Lost Isobel Cup Semifinal series to Buffalo Beauts
2016–17 18 5 12 1 0 11 60 77 Lost Isobel Cup Semifinal to Boston Pride
2017–18 16 3 11 2 0 8 26 55 Lost Isobel Cup Semifinal to Metropolitan Riveters
2018–19 16 2 12 2 0 6 22 64 Lost play-in game to Metropolitan Riveters
2019–20 24 2 20 2 0 6 39 100 Lost Isobel Cup Semifinal to Boston Pride
2020–21 4 2 2 0 0 4 9 12 Lost Isobel Cup Semifinal to Minnesota Whitecaps



As of January 3, 2021[16][17]

# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace
9 United States Kaycie Anderson F L 29 2017 Maple Plain, Minnesota
16 United States Hanna Beattie F/D L 25 2017 Whitehouse Station, New Jersey
20 United States Maddie Bishop F 23 2020 Wethersfield, Connecticut
26 United States Jordan Brickner D L 30 2015 Lake Forest, Illinois
88 United States Amanda Conway F R 24 2020 Methuen, Massachusetts
6 Canada Shannon Doyle (C) D R 29 2015 Baldwin, Ontario
29 Canada Kayla Friesen F L 23 2020 Winnipeg, Manitoba
37 Canada Mariah Fujimagari G L 26 2020 Markham, Ontario
13 United States Nicole Guagliardo F L 22 2020 Hoffman Estates, Illinois
10 Canada Laurel Hill D R 28 2019 Huntsville, Ontario
5 Canada Tori Howran D L 22 2020 Bancroft, Ontario
35 United States Abbie Ives G R 22 2020 Bedford Hills, New York
94 United States Grace Klienbach F R 27 2019 Eustis, Florida
12 United States Maggie LaGue D R 24 2020 Barre, Vermont
4 United States Taylor Marchin D R 27 2018 Algonac, Michigan
14 United States Elena Orlando (A) D L 28 2016 Chico, California
23 United States Katelynn Russ F R 22 2020 Crystal Lake, Illinois
11 United States Melissa Samoskevich F L 24 2020 Bridgeport, Connecticut
21 United States Sarah Schwenzfeier F R 26 2018 Hingham, Massachusetts
15 United States Emma Vlasic (A) F L 24 2019 Wilmette, Illinois
24 Austria Janine Weber (A) F L 29 2019 Innsbruck
8 United States Alyssa Wohlfeiler F R 31 2020 Saugus, California
1 United States Brooke Wolejko G L 24 2019 South Windsor, Connecticut

Team captains[edit]

Alternate captains[edit]

Head coaches[edit]

  • Jake Mastel, 2015
  • Heather Linstad, 2015–2017
  • Ryan Equale, 2018–2019
  • Colton Orr, 2019–present

General managers[edit]

  • Chris Ardito, 2015–2016
  • Lisa Giovanelli, 2016–2017
  • Bray Ketchum, 2019–2020[18]
  • Amy Scheer, 2020–present[1]

Draft history[edit]

Hannah Brandt from the University of Minnesota program became the first player in franchise history to be selected in the inaugural 2015 NWHL Draft.[19] Michelle Picard was the first defenseman selected in NWHL Draft history.

NWHL Draft[edit]

The following were the Whale's selections in the 2015 NWHL Draft on June 20, 2015.

# Player Position Nationality College
2 Hannah Brandt Forward  United States University of Minnesota
6 Michelle Picard Defense  United States Harvard University
10 Milica McMillen Defense  United States University of Minnesota
14 Maryanne Menefee Forward  United States University of Minnesota
18 Cassandra Poudrier Defense  Canada Cornell University


The following were the Whale's selections in the 2016 NWHL Draft on June 18, 2016.

# Player Position Nationality College
3 Dani Cameranesi Forward  United States University of Minnesota
7 Andie Anastos Forward  United States Boston College
11 Melissa Channell Defense  Canada University of Wisconsin
15 Paige Savage Forward  United States Northeastern University
19 Sydney Rossman Goalie  United States Quinnipiac University


The following were the Whale's selections in the 2016 NWHL Draft on August 17, 2017.

# Player Position Nationality College
5 Sam Donovan Forward  United States Brown University
9 Eden Murray Forward  Canada Yale University
13 Denisa Křížová Forward  Czech Republic Northeastern University
17 Nina Rodgers Forward  United States Boston University


The following were the Whale's selections in the 2018 NWHL Draft on December 19th and 20th, 2018.

# Player Position Nationality College
2 Melissa Samoskevich Forward  United States Quinnipiac University
7 Makenna Newkirk Forward  United States Boston College
12 Katelyn Rae Forward  Canada Merrimack College
17 Dominique Kremer Defense  United States Merrimack College
22 Maggie LaGue Defense  United States Robert Morris University

The following were the Whale's selections in the 2020 NWHL Draft on April 28th and 29th, 2020. Connecticut held the Metropolitan Riveters fifth round pick (#27 overall), as the future considerations from the trade of Maria Sorokina to the Riveters in 2019.

# Player Position Nationality College
2 Kayla Friesen Forward  Canada Clarkson University
7 Victoria Howran Defense  Canada University of New Hampshire
13 Savannah Rennie Forward  Canada Syracuse University
19 Amanda Conway Forward  United States Norwich University
25 Nicole Guagliardo Forward  United States Adrian College
27 Maddie Bishop Forward  United States Sacred Heart University

Franchise milestones and statistics leaders[edit]

As of the 2016-17 season:

Milestone Player Notes
First goal Jessica Koizumi October 11, 2015
First multi-point game Kelli Stack October 11, 2015
First win Jaimie Leonoff October 11, 2015
Most points Kelly Babstock 45 points (23G, 22A)


  1. ^ a b "Amy Scheer Named GM of the Connecticut Whale". NWHL. August 20, 2020.
  2. ^ "The Whale Brings Pro Hockey Back to the Nutmeg State".
  3. ^ "Whale signs Kaleigh Fratkin, First Canadian in the NWHL". 2015-07-01. Retrieved 2016-01-06.
  4. ^ Ciambra, Rob. "Whale Names Koizumi Captain and Fratkin Assistant Captain".
  5. ^ Clinton, Jared (October 7, 2015). "NWHL sells out inaugural game, Manon Rheaume to drop ceremonial puck in Buffalo". The Hockey News. Archived from the original on October 8, 2015. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  6. ^ "Whale Moves to Northford Ice Pavilion for Second Season". OurSports Central. May 5, 2016.
  7. ^ "Whale Swim Home to Stamford". OurSports Central. May 5, 2016. Archived from the original on August 24, 2017. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  8. ^ "Cydney Roesler Named Assistant Coach". August 20, 2018. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  9. ^ "Danbury Arena the New Home of the Connecticut Whale". OurSports Central. July 8, 2019.
  10. ^ "NHL Veteran Colton Orr, NWHL Veteran Laura Brennan to Coach Connecticut Whale". OurSports Central. September 17, 2019.
  12. ^ "The Connecticut Whale have withdrawn from Lake Placid". SB Nation. February 1, 2021.
  13. ^ @CTWhale_NWHL (February 3, 2021). "A statement from the Connecticut Whale" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  14. ^ "Transcript: NWHL media availability on the suspension of the 2021 season". SB Nation. February 3, 2021.
  15. ^ "NWHL TO AWARD ISOBEL CUP IN MARCH 2021". NWHL. March 8, 2021.
  16. ^ "Whale Roster". NWHL. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  17. ^ " - Connecticut Whale". Elite Prospects. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  18. ^ "Connecticut Native Bray Ketchum Takes over the Whale as General Manager". OurSports Central. April 20, 2019.
  19. ^ a b "2015 NWHL Draft Recap". Archived from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2015-07-08.
  20. ^ "First-round picks show how NWHL GMs view their teams". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  21. ^ "BOSTON COLLEGE'S KATIE BURT TOPS 2017 NWHL DRAFT". Archived from the original on August 20, 2017. Retrieved August 19, 2017.

External links[edit]