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NWHL's #FreeAgentFrenzy Ends

The free agency period for the National Women's Hockey League may be over, but the wait for the Boston Pride's final roster is not.

US Women's National Team member Zoe Hickel will join the Boston Pride this fall.
US Women's National Team member Zoe Hickel will join the Boston Pride this fall.
Duluth News Tribune

The National Women Hockey League's free agency window closed Monday night at midnight, which means we are beginning to get a clearer picture of what the Boston Pride roster will look when the season opens on October 11.

To some extent, at least.

According to the NWHL's release posted last night:

"Out of respect for the players, the NWHL has agreed to not announce the remaining players' intent to play in the league until they receive official releases from other leagues…

The NWHL still plans to announce the final team rosters and contract details as soon as the players are ready."

In other words, more players from the CWHL may be jumping ship, but the moves cannot be announced yet. Each of the four NWHL teams will have 18 players, including three goalies per team. All 72 available roster slots have been filled, which proves that the players are excited about the new league, but 11 have yet to be revealed. The Pride roster currently has four players-to-be-named-later, the most in the league. There's still hope, #KnightWatch crew.

So far, eight players have made the switch from the Boston Blades to the Pride: Blake Bolden, Corinne Buie, Kelly Cooke, Jillian Dempsey, Alyssa Gagliardi, Rachel Llanes, Brittany Ott, and Jordan Smelker.

With the signing of Zoe Hickel last night, the Pride will be the only team in the NWHL with a US National Team member on its roster.

Hickel scored 19 goals during her senior season at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and was a part of the US team that won the gold medal at the 2015 IIHF Women’s World Championship.

"I just think that this is all awesome, I'm really excited to be a part of something like this," Hickel said in the press release, "This is the start of our country going in a great direction for the development of women's hockey."

Rounding out the available roster are forwards Emily Field and Amanda Pelkey, defenseman Marissa Gedman, and goalkeepers Kelsie Fralick and Lauren Slebodnick.

The Pride also added a member to their coaching staff this morning, naming Lauren McAuliffe as assistant coach to join head coach Bobby Jay.  McAuliffe has served as assistant head coach at Northeastern University and also coached the Blades for one season.

"Having coached or recruited some of these players in the past, I know the level of dedication they have to improving their own game and to winning games as a team," she said in the press release. "They are coachable and respectful and I can't wait to meet everyone and get started."

Even though the final rosters may still be a few days or weeks away, the mystery just makes it that much more exciting, right?