2016–17 NWHL season

The 2016–17 NWHL season is the second season of operation of the National Women's Hockey League. All four teams from the inaugural season returned for this season: the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, and New York Riveters.

2016–17 NWHL season
LeagueNational Women's Hockey League
SportIce hockey
2016 draft
Top draft pickKelsey Koelzer
Picked byNew York Riveters
Regular season
Season championsBoston Pride
Season MVPBrianna Decker
Top scorerBrianna Decker
MVPBrianne McLaughlin
Isobel Cup
ChampionsBuffalo Beauts
  Runners-upBoston Pride

League business

Team locations

During the off-season, the Connecticut Whale moved to Northford Ice Pavilion in North Branford, Connecticut, and the defending champion Boston Pride moved to the new Warrior Ice Arena in the Boston neighborhood of Brighton.

On August 1, 2016, it was announced that the New York Riveters moved from Brooklyn to the Barnabas Health Hockey House in Newark, New Jersey, situated within the Prudential Center as the New Jersey Devils practice arena. The facility was the site of the first Isobel Cup finals the previous season.[1]

With the changes in arenas, it left the Buffalo Beauts, playing their second season at Harborcenter, as the sole team not to change arenas.

League news

  • August 2, 2016: The league announced a partnership with You Can Play, which also saw each team feature an ambassador.[2]
  • August 4, 2016: The league announced that all four inaugural season jersey designs would be retired and replaced with new designs voted upon by fans.[3]
  • October 7, 2016: Buffalo Beauts player Hailey Browne became the first transgender athlete in professional North American team sports, asking to be referred to by the name Harrison Browne. As the hormone treatments involved with gender transition violate anti-doping regulations, Browne would remain fully biologically female during his playing career.[4] Browne initially retired at the end of the season to with plans to start a full transition, but returned to play for the Metropolitan Riveters the following season.
  • November 17, 2016: Part way into the league's second season, the NWHL informed its players that they would all be getting up to a 50% pay cut. The league claims the pay cut is needed in order to sustain the longevity of the league. This dropped the league player minimums to $5,000 per player.[5] Five weeks later, in an attempt to partially compensate for the salary rollback, the league introduced an incentive program where players from the home team split the revenue generated by tickets sold in excess of 500 after each game.[6]
  • February 3, 2017: The league announced that the season and playoffs would be shortened to accommodate for the players' participation in the 2017 IIHF Women's World Championship and preparations for the 2018 Olympic teams.[7] The season was originally set to end on April 16, following a three-week break for the World Championships. The regular season was instead scheduled to end on March 12 and then followed by a single-game Isobel Cup playoff semifinals and final to be held March 17–19.

All-star game

The 2nd NWHL All-Star Game was held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the first NWHL game to be played outside of its four markets. Amanda Kessel and Kelley Steadman were named as All-Star captains. Kessel would go on to score the first hat trick in NWHL All-Star history.

Regular season


Boston Pride171610732932
New York Riveters18873555819
Buffalo Beauts176101446813
Connecticut Whale185121607711


Semifinal game Isobel Cup Championship
1 Boston Pride 8
4 Connecticut Whale 2
1 Boston Pride 2
3 Buffalo Beauts 3
2 New York Riveters 2
3 Buffalo Beauts 4


Scoring leaders

  • The following players led the league in regular season points at the conclusion of season.
Player Team GP G A Pts
Brianna DeckerBoston Pride17141731
Alex CarpenterBoston Pride1792029
Haley SkarupaConnecticut Whale16111122
Janine WeberNew York Riveters17101222
Meghan DugganBoston Pride1713720

Awards and honors

  • Brianna Decker, Boston Pride, 2017 NWHL Most Valuable Player
  • Brianna Decker, Boston Pride, 2017 NWHL Scoring Champion
  • Ashley Johnston, New York Riveters, 2017 NWHL Denna Laing Perseverance Award
  • Megan Bozek, Buffalo Beauts, 2017 NWHL Defensive Player of the Year Award
  • Katie Fitzgerald, New York Riveters, 2017 NWHL Goaltender of the Year



The 2016 NWHL Draft took place on June 18, 2016, and was the second in league history. Defender Kelsey Koelzer of Princeton was selected first overall by the New York Riveters.[8]

# Player Pos Nationality Team College/Junior/Club Team (League)
1 Kelsey Koelzer D New York Riveters Princeton Tigers (ECAC)
2 Lee Stecklein[9] D Buffalo Beauts University of Minnesota (WCHA)
3 Dani Cameranesi F Connecticut Whale Minnesota (WCHA)
4 Ann-Renee Desbiens G Boston Pride University of Wisconsin (WCHA)
5 Sydney Daniels F New York Riveters Harvard Crimson (ECAC)
6 Cayley Mercer F Buffalo Beauts Clarkson (ECAC)
7 Andie Anastos F Connecticut Whale Boston College (Hockey East)
8 Sarah Nurse F Boston Pride Wisconsin (WCHA)
9 Jenny Ryan D New York Riveters Wisconsin Badgers (WCHA)
10 Hayley Scamurra F Buffalo Beauts Northeastern Huskies (HEA)
11 Melissa Channell D Connecticut Whale Wisconsin Badgers (WCHA)
12 Ashley Brykaliuk F Boston Pride UMD Bulldogs (WCHA)
13 Sydney McKibbon F New York Riveters Wisconsin (WCHA)
14 Emma Woods F Buffalo Beauts Quinnipiac Bobcats (ECAC)
15 Paige Savage F Connecticut Whale Northeastern (HEA)
16 Halli Krzyzaniak D Boston Pride North Dakota Fighting Hawks (ECAC)
17 Amy Menke F New York Riveters North Dakota (WCHA)
18 Maddie Elia F Buffalo Beauts Boston University Terriers (HEA)
19 Sydney Rossman G Connecticut Whale Quinnipiac Bobcats (ECAC)
20 Lara Stalder F Boston Pride UMD Bulldogs (WCHA)

Free agency

Date Player New team
April 4, 2016 Kelly Babstock[10] Connecticut Whale
April 6, 2016 Morgan Fritz-Ward[11] New York Riveters
April 6, 2016 Madison Packer[11] New York Riveters
April 11, 2016 Paige Harrington[12] Buffalo Beauts
April 12, 2016 Ashley Johnston[13] New York Riveters
April 12, 2016 Kiira Dosdall[13] New York Riveters
April 20, 2016 Jordan Smelker[14] Boston Pride
April 26, 2016 Jillian Dempsey[15] Boston Pride
April 27, 2016 Alyssa Gagliardi[16] Boston Pride
April 28, 2016 Bray Ketchum[17] New York Riveters
April 28, 2016 Amanda Leveille[18] Buffalo Beauts
April 28, 2016 Miye D'Oench[19] New York Riveters
April 30, 2016 Sam Faber[20] Connecticut Whale
May 1, 2016 Kaleigh Fratkin[21] New York Riveters
May 1, 2016 Jaimie Leonoff[21] New York Riveters
May 1, 2016 Amanda Kessel[22] New York Riveters
May 2, 2016 Lexi Bender[23] Boston Pride
May 2, 2016 Lisa Chesson[24] Buffalo Beauts
May 2, 2016 Kaliya Johnson[25] Connecticut Whale
May 3, 2016 Cydney Roesler[26] Connecticut Whale
May 3, 2016 Nicole Connery[26] Connecticut Whale
May 3, 2016 Nicole Kosta[26] Connecticut Whale
May 4, 2016 Kelley Steadman[27] Buffalo Beauts
May 4, 2016 Shelby Bram[28] Buffalo Beauts
May 5, 2016 Courtney Burke[29] New York Riveters
May 10, 2016 Hailey Browne[30] Buffalo Beauts
May 10, 2016 Devon Skeats[30] Buffalo Beauts
May 11, 2016 Jessica Koizumi[31] Connecticut Whale
May 13, 2016 Shenae Lundberg[32] Connecticut Whale
May 16, 2016 Kourtney Kunichika[33] Buffalo Beauts
May 16, 2016 Emily Janiga[33] Buffalo Beauts


April 26, 2016 (2016-04-26)[34] To New York Riveters

Haley Skarupa (Right)

To Connecticut Whale

Michelle Picard (Right)

April 27, 2016 (2016-04-27)[35] To New York Riveters

Hannah Brandt (Right)

To Connecticut Whale

Dana Trivigno (Right)

April 28, 2016 (2016-04-28)[36] To Boston Pride

Alex Carpenter (Right)

To New York Riveters

Miye D'Oench (Right)


Date Player
May 11, 2016 Jenny Scrivens[37]


  1. "New York Riveters leave Brooklyn for Newark". Today’s Slapshot. 2016-08-01. Retrieved 2016-08-08.
  2. "NWHL partners with You Can Play". You Can Play Project. 2016-08-01. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  3. "NWHL retires inaugural season jersey designs". NWHL.zone. 2016-08-04. Archived from the original on 2016-08-10. Retrieved 2016-08-08.
  4. "NWHL player Harrison Browne comes out as a transgender man". ESPN. 2016-10-07. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  5. "NWHL HIT WITH BAD NEWS". The Fourth Period. November 18, 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-11-19. Retrieved 2016-11-18.
  6. "NWHL players to receive attendance bonuses". Excelle Sports. 2016-12-23. Archived from the original on 2016-12-28. Retrieved 2016-12-27.
  7. "NWHL to complete playoffs before world championships". ESPN. February 3, 2017.
  8. "Kelsey Koelzer Taken First Overall". princetontigers.com. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  9. "First-round picks show how NWHL GMs view their teams". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  10. "Bastock re-sign with CTW".
  11. "Fritz-Ward and Packer re-sign with NYR".
  12. "Harrington re-sign with BUF".
  13. "Johnston and Dosdall re-sign with NYR".
  14. "Smelker re-sign with BOS".
  15. "Dempsey re-sign with BOS".
  16. "Gagliardi re-sign with BOS".
  17. "Ketchum re-sign wit NYR".
  18. "2015 Draft Pick Leveille Signs With Beauts".
  19. "D'Oench Signs With Riveters After Trade From Boston".
  20. "Sam Faber Re-Signs With Whale".
  21. "Fratkin and Leonoff Join New York Roster".
  22. "Amanda Kessel Joins NWHL With Riveters".
  23. "Pride Add Third Round Pick Lexi Bender".
  24. "Former Olympian Lisa Chesson Signs With Buffalo".
  25. "Whale Adds Undrafted BC Defenseman Johnson".
  26. "Roesler, Connery, and Kosta Join Connecticut Whale".
  27. "Beauts Return Points Leader With Steadman".
  28. "Shelby Bram Returns to Beauts for Second Season".
  29. "Fourth Overall Pick Burke Chooses Riveters".
  30. "Linemates Skeats and Browne Return to Beauts".
  31. "Inaugural Season Captain Koizumi Returns to Whale".
  32. "Whale Returns Goaltender Lundberg".
  33. "Beauts Add Forwards Kunichika and Janiga".
  34. "Skarupa and Picard Trade".
  35. "Trivigno and Brandt Trade".
  36. "Carpenter and D'Oench Trade".
  37. https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/jenny-scrivens-retires--opting-for-family-over--dream-job-163655406.html
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