Sonjia Shelly, Connecticut Whale: The goaltender joins the NWHL after completing an outstanding four-year collegiate career at St. Lawrence, where she posted a 2.16 GAA and .912 save percentage and had four shutouts as a senior. An Illinois native, Shelly developed as a goalie with the Chicago Fury. She joins the recently-signed Cassandra Goyette in goal for the Whale.
“Growing up, playing boy’s hockey and getting dressed in places like a dingy skate rental room was the reality for girls like me wanting to play competitive hockey,” said Shelly. “I never imagined that one day girls would have the chance to play professionally. For this reason, I want to take full advantage of this opportunity. By having fun and competing at my highest level, I hope my actions inspire a younger generation of girls to play and grow the sport that I love.”
“Sonjia had a strong college career at St. Lawrence in a very competitive conference where she faced tough opposition every game,” said Whale general manager Bray Ketchum. “She is a great addition between the pipes for us.”
Sam Walther, Metropolitan Riveters: After spending her rookie season with the Connecticut Whale, Walther has joined the Riveters. At Hamilton College, she is the school’s all-time leader in GAA (1.40), save percentage (.948) and shutouts. Walther is an assistant coach at Nichols College, where last season she worked closely with Goyette.
“We really were impressed by Sam during workouts this summer,” said Riveters GM Kate Whitman Annis. “She has earned this opportunity through all of the hard work she puts in to get better every day at her craft. Her dedication and love of the game is felt by everyone on the ice with her.”
Meaghan Pezon, Minnesota Whitecaps: The forward returns to the Whitecaps for their second NWHL season as the club prepares to defend its Isobel Cup championship. Pezon, who played at St. Cloud and was 12-26-38 in 37 games as a senior, played ten games last season with the Whitecaps.
“My goal for the season is to come out hard and defend the Isobel Cup,” said Pezon. “Hopefully we can continue to give our fans entertaining hockey, and put together another championship season. I’m inspired to return to the NWHL by the people in the organization who have worked so hard to give us this opportunity. Most importantly, this is for all of the little girls who love the game and dream of playing for the Whitecaps.”
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