Connecticut Whale (NWHL)
|2020–21 NWHL season|
|League||National Women's Hockey League|
|Home arena||Danbury Ice Arena|
|Colors||White, blue, green|
|Owner(s)||Women’s Hockey Partners (NWHL)|
|General manager||Amy Scheer|
|Head coach||Colton Orr|
|Media||The Collinsville Press|
NWHL on Twitch
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, 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.
The team made its debut in the 2015–16 season. Jessica Koizumi was named first team captain in franchise history. The first game in NWHL history was a sell out on October 11, 2015 between the New York Riveters and Connecticut Whale. 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. 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.
After two seasons at Terry Conners Ice Rink, the Whale moved again to the larger Danbury Ice Arena in Danbury, Connecticut. Former NHL enforcer Colton Orr was named as head coach for the 2019–20 season. 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. 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 citing concerns with increased positive cases within the bubble and protecting their players from the virus. Two days later, the league suspended the season before the playoffs could commence due to several more positive tests throughout the league. 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. The Whale then lost to the Whitecaps 7–0 in the semifinal game.
|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|
- Jessica Koizumi, 2015–2016
- Molly Engstrom, 2016
- Kelli Stack, 2017
- Sam Faber, 2017–2018
- Emily Fluke, 2018–2019
- Shannon Doyle, 2019–present
- Kaleigh Fratkin, 2015–2016
- Kelli Stack, 2016
- Kelly Babstock, 2017
- Juana Baribeau, 2017–2019
- Shannon Doyle, 2017–2019
- Jordan Brickner, 2019–2020
- Elena Orlando, 2019–present
- Janine Weber, 2020–present
- Emma Vlasic, 2020–present
- Jake Mastel, 2015
- Heather Linstad, 2015–2017
- Ryan Equale, 2018–2019
- Colton Orr, 2019–present
- Chris Ardito, 2015–2016
- Lisa Giovanelli, 2016–2017
- Bray Ketchum, 2019–2020
- Amy Scheer, 2020–present
Hannah Brandt from the University of Minnesota program became the first player in franchise history to be selected in the inaugural 2015 NWHL Draft. Michelle Picard was the first defenseman selected in NWHL Draft history.
The following were the Whale's selections in the 2015 NWHL Draft on June 20, 2015.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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
This section needs to be updated.August 2019)(
- See also: List of Connecticut Whale records
As of the 2016-17 season:
|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)|
- "Amy Scheer Named GM of the Connecticut Whale". NWHL. August 20, 2020.
- "The Whale Brings Pro Hockey Back to the Nutmeg State". NWHL.co.
- "Whale signs Kaleigh Fratkin, First Canadian in the NWHL". NWHL.co. 2015-07-01. Retrieved 2016-01-06.
- Ciambra, Rob. "Whale Names Koizumi Captain and Fratkin Assistant Captain". NWHL.co.
- 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.
- "Whale Moves to Northford Ice Pavilion for Second Season". OurSports Central. May 5, 2016.
- "Whale Swim Home to Stamford". OurSports Central. May 5, 2016. Archived from the original on August 24, 2017. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
- "Cydney Roesler Named Assistant Coach". NWHL.zone. August 20, 2018. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
- "Danbury Arena the New Home of the Connecticut Whale". OurSports Central. July 8, 2019.
- "NHL Veteran Colton Orr, NWHL Veteran Laura Brennan to Coach Connecticut Whale". OurSports Central. September 17, 2019.
- "METROPOLITAN RIVETERS WITHDRAWN FROM NWHL SEASON". NWHL. January 28, 2021.
- "The Connecticut Whale have withdrawn from Lake Placid". SB Nation. February 1, 2021.
- @CTWhale_NWHL (February 3, 2021). "A statement from the Connecticut Whale" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Transcript: NWHL media availability on the suspension of the 2021 season". SB Nation. February 3, 2021.
- "NWHL TO AWARD ISOBEL CUP IN MARCH 2021". NWHL. March 8, 2021.
- "Whale Roster". NWHL. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
- "Eliteprospects.com - Connecticut Whale". Elite Prospects. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
- "Connecticut Native Bray Ketchum Takes over the Whale as General Manager". OurSports Central. April 20, 2019.
- "2015 NWHL Draft Recap". Archived from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2015-07-08.
- "First-round picks show how NWHL GMs view their teams". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
- "BOSTON COLLEGE'S KATIE BURT TOPS 2017 NWHL DRAFT". nwhl.zone. Archived from the original on August 20, 2017. Retrieved August 19, 2017.
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