The Boston Pride announced today that they have signed defenders Blake Bolden and Alyssa Gagliardi, along with forward Jillian Dempsey, to new contracts for the 2015-16 NWHL season.
Bolden, Gagliardi, and Dempsey were all on the Clarkson Cup winning Boston Blades roster this past March. The signing comes less than two weeks after the Pride signed their first free agent, University of Vermont graduate Amanda Pelkey (F).
A source, wishing to remain anonymous, shared with me recently that eight Boston Blades players had been given "special release" by the CWHL to try out and explore contracts with the NWHL. However, it is unknown who those eight players are and whether any Blades players who have signed with NWHL clubs so far this summer are among the eight names. Former Blades defense Kaleigh Fratkin became the first Canadian to sign with an NWHL club on July 1, joining the Connecticut Whale. Janine Weber, who scored the Blades' OT winner in the Clarkson Cup Final, became the first player to join an NWHL team in history after inking a deal with the New York Riveters on June 11.
The Boston Blades franchise recently announced a new staff, including general manager Krista Patronick. An interview with Patronick at The Pink Puck is available here.
More valuable names are starting to appear on NWHL rosters as the women's hockey offseason marches on. The CWHL has maintained all indications that the Blades franchise will still exist, but it is unknown how they will fill roster spots going forward. Bolden and Gagliardi are both valuable assets on the backend, and Jillian Dempsey filled an important depth scoring role for the Blades.
The CWHL draft will be on August 18, immediately preceded by the NWHL free agent signing deadline on August 17.