Minnesota Whitecaps Join NWHL
May 16, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS – The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) has extended its reach by expanding to Minnesota with the acquisition of the Minnesota Whitecaps, the league's fifth team, the NWHL announced during a press conference in St. Paul, Minn., on Tuesday.

The Minnesota Whitecaps join the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, and Metropolitan Riveters for the league's fourth season in 2018-19.

Among those in attendance for the expansion announcement were Gopher alumnae Amanda Leveille, the 2018 NWHL Goaltender of the Year and a Buffalo Beauts player; Winny Brodt Brown, the captain of the Whitecaps, a former member of the U.S. National Team, and the first-ever recipient of the Minnesota Ms. Hockey Award; and Chelsey Brodt Rosenthal, a long-time Whitecaps player; along with Gophers head coach Brad Frost and WCHA vice president and women's league commissioner Katie Million.

"We are ecstatic to welcome Minnesota to the NWHL," said NWHL League Founder and Commissioner Dani Rylan. "Minnesota is an essential part of women’s hockey in North America. When you consider all of the talented players in this area and the passion this community has for the game, the Whitecaps are going to be incredible on and off the ice. The women’s hockey players of Minnesota are among the best in the world at what they do and now they'll have an opportunity to play professionally. After all, the young girls of this state should be able to dream as big as their brothers. Having Minnesota in the NWHL expands our national footprint and grows our game in so many ways. This is a monumental step for the NWHL."

Tuesday's expansion announcement included remarks from Rylan, NWHL Deputy Commissioner Hayley Moore, and Governor Mark Dayton.

"I am thrilled to welcome the National Women’s Hockey League to the State of Hockey," said Governor Dayton. "I am very proud of our Minnesota Whitecaps and the exceptionally talented Minnesotans who play for them. I look forward to cheering, as they win the Isobel Cup next year! Let’s play hockey!"


 

 

Like the NWHL's founding four teams when the league began in 2015, the Minnesota Whitecaps will be owned initially by the league. Last season, Pegula Sports & Entertainment – the owners of the Buffalo Sabres, Bills and other local franchises – acquired the Beauts, while the New Jersey Devils formed a strategic alignment with the Riveters.

The Whitecaps were founded in 2004. Among their alumni are legends such as Angela Ruggiero, Julie Chu, and Natalie Darwitz. The Olympic gold medal-winning Team USA in 2018 included Whitecaps Hannah Brandt, Kendall Coyne, Jocelyn Lamoureux-Davidson, Monique Lamoureux-Morando, and Alex Rigsby. Lisa Chesson, currently a defender for the Buffalo Beauts and member of the U.S. Olympic Team in 2010, is a former member of the Whitecaps.

The Whitecaps' 2017-18 roster included Gopher alums Katie Frischmann, Paige Haley, Mira Jalosuo, Becky Kortum, Kate Schipper, and Shyler Sletta, along with Brown and Rosenthal.

"On behalf of my teammates and everyone in the Whitecaps organization, I want to say that this is an incredible moment for women’s hockey in Minnesota and we’re truly excited to become a member club in the NWHL," said Winny Brodt Brown. "We are determined to have a women's professional team that the hockey fans of Minnesota can be proud of. I’m looking forward to hitting the ice with my teammates and being able to play for the Isobel Cup!"

"It’s an exciting day for women’s hockey with Minnesota joining the NWHL! The state of Minnesota produces many outstanding players, so it’s awesome that those players can now compete professionally," said Gopher alum and 2018 Olympic gold medalist Gigi Marvin, who is also a member of the NWHL’s Boston Pride.

"The Whitecaps have done an excellent job of growing the game in the state of Minnesota, and it’s exciting to see how far this program has come," said Gopher alum and 2018 Olympic gold medalist Hannah Brandt. "It’s an organization full of people that are extremely passionate about women’s hockey and positive role models that young players in the state can look up to. I’m really excited to see the Whitecaps join the NWHL as we all continue to advance the game together."

Check out reactions and media coverage of the announcement below and follow the hashtag #NWHLtoMinnesota for more news.

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