Season 7 rosters officially started to take shape throughout the month of May as NWHL teams began signing players to contracts for the 2021-22 competition.
Teams had exclusive rights to re-sign any of their 2020-21 rostered players up until May 15 at 5:00 p.m. at which point the league’s free agency period began.
A total of seven players were signed to Season 7 contracts in May with Buffalo making the biggest impact through the early stages of the offseason. The Beauts made things official with four players including returnees Carly Jackson, Cassidy MacPherson, and Marie-Jo Pelletier, along with newcomer Cassidy Vinkle. The Toronto Six announced a pair of returnees including captain Shiann Darkangelo and Emma Greco, while the Connecticut Whale welcomes back top scorer Alyssa Wohlfeiler.
The Boston Pride, Metropolitan Riveters, and Minnesota Whitecaps have yet to announce any player signings.
Here’s an overview of the players added to NWHL rosters through May:
Carly Jackson | G
Star goaltender Carly Jackson is returning to the Beauts for a second NWHL season. Her sensational rookie campaign was highlighted by starts in all six Buffalo games in Lake Placid where she led the entire league in both shots faced and saves. She was one of the recipients of the 2021 Fans’ 3-Stars Award and was the club’s Foundation Award winner.
“I’m so grateful to be re-signing with the Beauts for Season 7,” said Jackson. “My teammates, our coaches, the staff, the fans of Buffalo, the NWHL, have all made me feel nothing but welcomed and like a true professional. The group we have in Buffalo is special and I can’t wait to get back to work! I expect that for Season 7 the Beauts are going to come out flying. We are hungry to prove ourselves and to bring home a championship!”
Cassidy MacPherson | C
One of Buffalo’s most dependable face-off takers, Cassidy MacPherson returns for a third season with the Beauts. Her NWHL career to date includes 30 regular season games amassing 12 points while routinely centering duties on power-play and penalty-killing units.
“I love the community here in Buffalo and the amazing fans that we have,” said MacPherson. “We truly have the very best fans, and we have the best people within our organization in the entire league.”
Marie-Jo Pelletier | D
Defender and alternate captain Marie-Jo Pelletier returns to the team for her third season as a Beaut. 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.
“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!”
Cassidy Vinkle | C
Center Cassidy Vinkle is a 2-time national champion and former captain of Clarkson University who played the past two seasons as a member of the PWHPA. Her 162 NCAA games is the most in Clarkson women’s hockey history and she recorded 60 points with an impressive plus-51 rating during her collegiate career spanning 2015-19.
“I signed with the Beauts because I feel Buffalo will allow me to reach my full potential on and off the ice,” said Vinkle. “Nate, Coach Rhea, and the players have been very welcoming and helpful in my transition to the NWHL. I look forward to buying into the culture that the Beauts are building and making an impact this season.”
Alyssa Wohlfeiler | F
The talented Alyssa Wohlfeiler led Connecticut in points during the team’s shortened 2020-21 season putting up a goal and four assists in five games played helping the Whale advance to the Isobel Cup semifinals. This will be her third season on the Pod having suited up for the inaugural 2015-16 campaign. She also played one NWHL season in Boston as a member of the 2019-20 Pride following two years overseas.
“I am excited and humbled to have re-signed with the Whale. It’s always a great feeling to play for a coaching staff and organization that wants you and value you, as a player and person,” said Wohlfeiler. “This program is heading in the right direction and I have a lot of faith in our players and staff, especially with our new private ownership that we can be successful for years to come.”
Shiann Darkangelo | F
Captain Shiann Darkangelo returns for her second season with the Toronto Six after leading the expansion franchise to a first-place finish in Lake Placid. The former U.S. National Team member was also a two-time NWHL All-Star with Connecticut and Buffalo in her first two pro seasons. She captured a 2017 Isobel Cup and has 35 career games to her credit with 28 points.
“I am very excited to be re-signing with the Six for season seven as we make a run for the Isobel Cup,” Darkangelo said. “I look forward to playing on home ice and hopefully meeting more fans.”
Emma Greco | D
Defender Emma Greco is a reliable stay-at-home presence on the Toronto Six blue line. She was one of the club’s original five signings for the expansion season and served as an alternate captain in 2020-21 helping the club advance to the Isobel Cup semifinals. The coming season marks her third NWHL campaign having played for Connecticut in 2017-18.
“My decision to return to the Toronto Six was an easy one,” said Greco. “I had so much fun competing with my teammates in the bubble and wanted to continue our momentum into season 7. Even though we didn’t come out with the result we wanted, I am excited to have another chance at winning the franchise’s first championship.”
The salary cap for the 2021-22 season has been announced as $300,000 per team which is the highest in league history. Financial terms of individual player contracts will not be disclosed.