BROOKLYN, NY, May 4, 2017 – Tatiana Rafter is returning to the National Women’s Hockey League for her third season. The 5-10 center has signed a one-year deal with the New York Riveters.
“I really feel at home with the Riveters and in the NWHL,” said Rafter. “Coming into next season, I feel like there is unfinished business. I fell in love with all of my teammates, so there was never any question in my mind – I was determined to see them again in October and I couldn’t be happier to re-sign.”
In 18 regular season games, Rafter finished as one of the Riveters’ top three goal scorers with six goals and one assist, and recorded a goal in New York’s semifinal playoff game against the Buffalo Beauts. She was 2-1-3 in 17 games with Buffalo in the league’s first season in 2015-16.
A five-year player at the University of British Columbia, Rafter was the Canada West Player of the Year in 2013-14 after leading her team in goals (20), assists (18), points (38), power play goals (8) and game-winning goals (6). Rafter was also the Thunderbirds’ leading scorer in 2013 and 2015. During the 2012–13 campaign she was selected to play for the Canadian women’s ice hockey team that participated at the 2013 Winter Universiade. Rafter had four assists in the tournament as Canada won the gold medal.
The 2017-18 NWHL regular season is set to begin in October, featuring founding four franchises Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale and New York Riveters playing a full slate of home games as well as neutral site games. The NWHL compensates all players and offers a revenue share on player jerseys and shirseys.
About Tatiana Rafter:
Style of play: “It was an adjustment period transitioning from CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) to the pro level in the NWHL. I feel like my university career prepared me, and (Riveters Coach) Chad Wiseman really helped me nail down keys to taking my game to the next level. With opportunity and guidance, it resulted in a bit of a break for me last season. I try to focus on using my size and speed. Driving to the net, getting shots off and getting to the net are big parts of my play.”
Approach to training: “In the first two months of the offseason, I focus on rebuilding myself mentally. I take a few steps back from thinking about my hockey-specific goals and do what makes me happy on that particular day – running, walking, weights. Then as the summer goes by, I get more into a workout routine. I’ll start skating again in a few weeks. I also try to always eat as healthy as possible year-round. I’ll be in Vancouver until August and then will return home to Winnipeg to see my family for a while before the season. Last season, Chad introduced me to a routine where I visualize the 20 minutes of a hockey period. It really got me ready for games.”
Career: “After hockey, I’d like to transition into broadcasting. My dream job is to be an ice-level broadcaster in the NHL. The past few years I have broadcasted the NWHL All-Star Games, which ignited a new passion. For now, I’m involved with youth hockey skill development in a few areas. I coach U10, U12 and U14 groups of the Vancouver Angels hockey program. I also run private lessons through the Richmond Olympic Oval with various ages and skill levels.”
Hockey players that have inspired me: “I’ve always looked up to PK Subban because he’s such a phenomenal player and dedicated to his team and community on and off the ice. His work with the children’s hospital in Montreal is amazing. I also used to wear uniform no. 13 because of Pavel Datsyuk. I was mesmerized by his stickhandling ability.”
Admired athlete outside of hockey: “I’ve forever been a big fan of Venus and Serena Williams. Their focus and dedication is incredible. I love their approach to playing and to life.”
Favorite shows: “I always come back to watching ‘Friends.’ It’s always been relatable. I started watching it again when I came to New York to play for the Riveters, and started to see a lot of things I had in common with them – being around the big city, being in my 20s. My favorite current show is ‘The Good Wife.’”
On the University of British Columbia: “We were unranked when I first went to UBC and we had a lot of struggles and coaching changes in my first three years. By my third year, our staff and team had synergy. My head coach, Graham Thomas, pushed me, always had my back and meant the world to me. Graham as well as Mike Sommers and Dom Dirocco have really created an amazing hockey culture at UBC. The program is now one of the CIS powerhouses. I’m proud to be one of few professional players to represent the caliber of Canadian talent yielded by the CIS. It’s fantastic that university hockey can serve as a steppingstone for women’s hockey players because now we have the NWHL and CWHL. The game is growing.”
On the NWHL: “I love being a part of it and I’m proud of what we’ve done so far. Since my contract was able to be drawn up fairly early, I will have plenty of time to set myself up in New York with work and a schedule that also allows me to be my best for the Riveters and the fans. I’m grateful for the chance to play a third year in the NWHL and I’m really excited for the new season. Is it October yet?”