Connecticut Whale (NWHL)
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.
|League||National Women's Hockey League|
|Home arena||Danbury Ice Arena|
|Colors||White, blue, green|
|General manager||Bray Ketchum|
|Head coach||Colton Orr|
|Media||The Collinsville Press|
NWHL Cross Ice Pass (on YouTube)
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.
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.
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.
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.
After two season 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.
Hannah Brandt from the Univ. of Minnesota program became the first player in franchise history to be selected in the inaugural 2015 NWHL Draft. Raised in the state capital of Albany, New York, Picard was also 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||Univ of Minnesota|
|6||Michelle Picard||Defense||Harvard Univ|
|10||Milica McMillen||Defense||Univ of Minnesota|
|14||Maryanne Menefee||Forward||Univ of Minnesota|
The following were the Whale's selections in the 2016 NWHL Draft on June 18, 2016.
|3||Dani Cameranesi||Forward||Univ of Minnesota|
|7||Andie Anastos||Forward||Boston College|
|11||Melissa Channell||Defense||Univ of Wisconsin|
The following were the Whale's selections in the 2016 NWHL Draft on August 17, 2017.
|17||Nina Rodgers||Forward||Boston Univ|
Franchise milestones and statistics leaders
- 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)|
- "Connecticut Native Bray Ketchum Takes over the Whale as General Manager". OurSports Central. April 20, 2019.
- "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.
- "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.
- "2015 NWHL Draft Recap". Archived from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2015-07-08.