Each week WCHA.com will offer an update on former Western Collegiate Hockey Association players playing professional hockey. The website will also offer periodic stories on former WCHA players.
The National Women's Hockey League kicked off its fifth season of play last weekend. There are 18 Western Collegiate Hockey Association alumna playing in the five-team NWHL. That number is roughly half as many as a year ago after an off-season when the women's pros league underwent a re-shuffling.
Over the summer the landscape of professional women's hockey changed with the Canadian Women's Hockey League folding. The NWHL marches on, however despite many of the bigger names in the sport playing in the PWHPA Dream Gap Tour that was organized by the women's players' union.
Commissioner Dani Rylan of the NWHL gave her view of the state of the league in an Associated Press story here: https://www.sunjournal.com/2019/10/05/nwhl-founder-dani-rylan-defiant-in-face-of-detractors-as-league-opens-fifth-season/
The Minnesota Whitecaps are the defending NWHL champs and they open play this weekend (Oct. 12-13) by hosting the Metropolitan Riveters in St. Paul, Minn. The Whitecaps, who played exhibition games against Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth last month, feature 15 former WCHA players, including eight who played at the University of Minnesota. There are four former St. Cloud State players and one each from Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State and Bemidji State on the Whitecaps roster.
Wisconsin has two former players in the NWHL – one each in Connecticut and with the Riveters. Buffalo's roster includes former Minnesota State player Sara Bustad. Former Minnesota State goalie Laura Brennan is an assistant coach with the Whale.
In opening weekend action, Buffalo beat Connecticut 3-1 and Boston topped Buffalo 4-2. None of the WCHA alums cracked the score sheet.
Here are the WCHA alumni on NWHL rosters as of Oct. 5:
Buffalo: Sara Bustad, Minnesota State.
Connecticut: Jordan Brickner, Wisconsin (Laura Brennan, Minnesota State, is an assistant coach).
Metropolitan: Madison Packer, Wisconsin.
Minnesota: Stephanie Anderson, Bemidji State; Sydney Baldwin, Minnesota; Chelsey Brodt Rosenthal, Minnesota; Haylea Schmid, St. Cloud State; Lisa Martinson, St. Cloud State; Meaghan Pezon, St. Cloud State; Kalli Funk, St. Cloud State; Lauren Barnes, Minnesota State; Emma Stauber, Minnesota Duluth; Winny Brodt Brown, Minnesota; Amanda Leveille, Minnesota; Nicole Schammel, Minnesota; Nina Rodgers, Minnesota, Meghan Lorence, Minnesota and Kelsey Cline, Minnesota.