The Buffalo Beauts of the National Women’s Hockey League took to the ice on Wednesday with a roster filled with the best in women’s ice hockey from the collegiate and national teams.
Their first-ever practice began with equipment fittings, press conference and player interviews. Following their first dinner as a team, they hit the ice at HarborCenter.
The Beauts will be co-coached by former Olympian and current Director of Hockey Opertions for the Buffalo Bisons Shelley Looney and former Buffalo Sabre Ric Seiling. Linda Mroz, former NU DI player and current coach for the Monsignor Martin Girls Varsity Ice Hockey Team is serving as General Manager.
This year’s team includes Erin Zach, a forward out of Elmira, Ontario and from the 2013-14 RIT CHA Championship team; Devon Skeats a forward from Whitby, Ontario played her 2014-15 season with the Neuberg Highlanders who took third in the Austrian Cup; Hailey Browne, forward, Oakville, Ontario comes from the University of Maine and a silver medal with the Canada U18 Team in the 2011 IIHF Women’s Worlds.
Tatiana Rafter, a forward from Winnipeg, Manitoba played her collegiate career with the University of British Columbia and was named Canada West Player of the Yer in 2013-14; Shelby Bram, a forward out of St.Anne,Manitoba played four seasons with Mercyhurst College; Hayley Williams, a Crete, Illinois forward comes from Robert Morris College where she was ACHA DI Player of the Year in 2013-14 and last season played for Miami University.
Kourtney Kunichika, a native of Fullerton, California is also a forward who played all four seasons with RIT, where she was named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team in 2011-12; Jessica Fickel, Fort Erie, Ontario played on the forward line at Brock University and was their Female Athlete of the Year in 2013-14.
Hnnah McGowan comes from Redford, Michigan and Adrian College. She was named to the NCHA All-Rookie Team in 2011-12; RIT’s Lindsay Gregg will show her defensive skills after playing four years at RIT with the school record for blocked shots with 127 in her junior year.
A defenseman from Ancaster, Ontario, Kelly McDonald played four years at the University of Maine where she was named to the Hockey East All Academic Team two years; Brianne McLaughlin, a USA Olympic goalie comes from Sheffield, Ohio; Kimberly Sass, a Buffalo native and goalie from Colgate University.
Amanda Makela, A goalie from Thunder Bay, Ontario played for Mercyhurst where she was named CHA Goaltender of the Year in 2014-15.
(NY Hockey has talked to the players and will have an indepth story later with photos.)