The Buffalo Beauts kicked off the NWHL’s restricted free agency period by re-signing one of their most key players. Defender and alternate captain Marie-Jo Pelletier returns to the team for her third season as a Beaut. NWHL teams have the exclusive right to re-sign any of their 2020-21 rostered players up until May 15 at 5:00 p.m.
“I am so excited to be returning to the Beauts for my third NWHL season,” said Pelletier. “I am looking forward to being back on the ice in front of the best fans in the league! We will be ready for Season 7, and I can’t be more excited to be rocking the baby blue again. I can’t wait to hit the ice with the great group that we’re putting together!”
A native of Dalhousie, New Brunswick, Pelletier has served as a Beauts alternate captain since her rookie season in 2019-20. She has played in 30 career regular season games for the team, and has gone 6-18-24 in scoring. Pelletier needs just two more points to surpass Emily Matheson as the Beauts all-time scoring leader for defenders.
“MJ is one of the best defenders in Beauts’ history and it was very important for us to make sure she was back for Season 7” said Beauts General Manager Nate Oliver. “We wanted to get her locked up early. Her leadership skills, the amount of points she generates, her prowess on the power play, her ability to adapt to any situation, and so on and so forth. The amount of positives that MJ brings to our team are seemingly endless.”
Across her two previous seasons for Buffalo, Pelletier earned a variety of accolades. The 2019-20 season saw her named one of the NWHL Fans’ Three Stars of the Season and a finalist for that season’s Newcomer of the Year Award. Pelletier was selected to the 2020 NWHL All-Star Game. She currently holds the NWHL record for most power play points (12) and most power play assists (9) in a single season, as well as Buffalo’s team records for most points in a season by a defender (21)
and most assists in a season (15, tied with Iveta Klimášová).
At the collegiate level, the 4-11 defender was so highly regarded at the University of New Hampshire that she was voted a team captain by the end of her freshman season and remained a captain until the end of her NCAA career. In 143 games at UNH, Pelletier had 13 goals and 39 assists for 52 points.
Pelletier is determined to keep the Beauts focused on winning the Isobel Cup in 2021-22:
“We have a lot of work to do before we get to raise the Cup,” she said. “We have a longer offseason, so that month before our first puck drop will be crucial. It will be important to come together and build from last season. We need to build chemistry early on and find the back of the net.”