My mother, a lifelong hockey fan by the name of Peach, was delighted when she found out the NWHL was coming to Stamford and resurrecting the name of the Connecticut Whale. They had their summer training camp starting on May 9th, and my parents were kind enough to document the first day for us! The following quotes are from Peach.
Peach described the atmosphere as the players were arriving, carrying huge bags of equipment and chatting about school, as “happy and collegial.” She thought all four goalies and all three defense players were very good, especially goalie Chelsea Laden from Quinnipiac, who “has great hands and knees.”
A few skaters particularly caught her eye on each team. On Team White, she was effusive about Meghan Fardelmann, a forward from Boston College, calling her “another Brian Leetch” (what a compliment!), as well as “speedy, agile, and smart.” Christine Valente, a forward from Yale, had “good skating” and a “good stick,” while Janine Weber, a forward from Providence College, was “consistently strong.” Peach praised the “nice skating and stickwork” and “consistent energy” of Tara Tomimoto from Yale, the lone defender on the team.
As for Team Black, Hayley Williams from Miami University was the standout: Peach called her “very fast, sneaky and strong with a powerful stick,” and noted her great stamina — she was still “on fire at 7:41!” She also appreciated Kaleigh Fratkin, a defense player from Boston College, calling her a “very strong and tricky player” with “consistent energy,” and Kelly Babstock, a “powerful” forward from Quinnipiac.
Other players Peach particularly noticed were Kristen Levesque from the University of Rhode Island, Danielle Ward from the University of Maine, Sam Faber from the University of New Hampshire, Bray Ketchum from Yale, and Elena Orlando from Quinnipiac.
Three of Peach’s favorites, Weber, Ketchum, and Fratkin, have played for the Boston Blades. Each played the 2014/2015 regular season, and won the 2015 Clarkson Cup with the Blades. Weber, who also plays for the Austrian national team, had 7 points in 17 games in the regular season for the Blades, and three goals in three games (including the OT game winner in the championship) in the post-season. Ketchum had 4 points in 20 games, and was a +3. Fratkin had 8 points in 22 games and was a +19.
Anya Battaglino, a forward who played the 2013/2014 season with the Blades, was also at the camp. She had 0 points in 13 games and was a -2. Nicole Stock, a goaltender from Brown who was drafted by the Blades, was also present. She played one game with the Blades in the 2014/2015 season, shutting out the Brampton Thunder.
We’re all looking forward to seeing what they can do as a team!