Photo by Michael Hetzel
Isobel Cup Winner, Two-Time NWHL All-Star, Two-Time Gold Medalist with USA Hockey Returns to Mercyhurst as Assistant Coach
BROOKLYN, NY, July 6, 2017 – Buffalo Beauts forward Kelley Steadman, one of the greatest players in the first two seasons of the NWHL, has announced her retirement. Steadman has been named as an assistant coach of the women’s hockey team at Mercyhurst, her alma mater.
In 18 games for Buffalo, Steadman scored 18 goals and added 12 assists for 30 points. In her final game in the NWHL, the two-time all-star won the Isobel Cup as the Beauts defeated the Pride, 3-2.
“The Lakers have brought back an amazing hockey player, coach and individual,” said Buffalo GM and co-coach Ric Seiling. “The Beauts will miss her as a teammate, the fans will miss her rushes and goals, and I will miss her ever-confident smile and ‘We got this, Coach.’ Kelley was an integral part of not only the Beauts’ Isobel Cup title in March, but of our instant popularity in Buffalo. In our first year, we were not the strongest in scoring, and she would take that burden and become the most prolific goal scorer in the NWHL. In the Cup Final, we saw her style of playing change to what championships are made of: shot-blocking, grit and composure, as well as talking on the bench, giving direction to her teammates. The Buffalo Beauts were honored to have Kelley Steadman on our teams in our first two seasons. Good luck, Steady.”
Steadman’s career was filled with championships. She was also a two-time gold medalist at the IIHF Women's World Championships (2011, 2013), a member of the Clarkson Cup champion Boston Blades of the CWHL in 2012-13 and the European Cup champion Moscow Tornado of the EWHL in 2013-14. At Mercyhurst, Steadman was the CHA Player of the Year and the league’s top scorer in 2011-12.
Steadman, who turns 27 on July 17, spent the last three seasons with the women’s team at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh — one year as a volunteer assistant and two years as the director of hockey operations. When the NWHL brought its All-Star Game to Pittsburgh earlier this year, Steadman was one of the team’s captains.
“Kelley is an extraordinary hockey player and a wonderful ambassador for the game, and the NWHL was blessed that she was part of the league in our early days,” said NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan. “It is fitting that she leaves the game as a pro player with an Isobel Cup in Buffalo and after captaining Team Steady at the All-Star Game in Pittsburgh. We wish Kelley all the best in her coaching career. Mercyhurst knows they’ve got a great one.”
“I have played hockey for 23 years. My career has taken me across the country to play thousands of hockey games. It has taken me to six other countries and has given me the opportunity to represent my own country. I have been fortunate enough to be on great teams with great people and as far as I know, I am the only women's hockey player to win a championship in every professional women's hockey league in the world. None of this compares to the experiences and friendships that the game has given me.
“These last two years playing with the Beauts have arguably been the most enjoyable of my hockey career. The group in the locker room both seasons were just amazing people, with great work ethic, that didn't let what anyone thought bother them. It's no secret that the Beauts have been the underdog in just about every game we've played in, and I think to go out on top, as an Isobel Cup champion, with the group of Beauts we had last season, is the perfect way to end my hockey career. I can't say enough good things about my teammates and I'm so happy to go down in history with them.
“Our great seasons obviously couldn't have happened without our amazing coaches and support staff that made it easy for us to do our jobs. Ric Seiling will forever be the man with the most memorable quote ever: "You don't have to be the best all the time…just at the right time." Boy, was he right. There are so many people behind the scenes that make everything run smoothly but rarely get any recognition (shout-out to Jami Cohen for being the biggest beauty/Twitter mastermind out there). This league is composed of so many great people that simply love the game and want to help it grow and I am forever thankful that I was able to meet them and work with them.
“To our fans in Buffalo and beyond: thank you for everything you have done for us. From showing up at our games, to buying our jerseys, to sending us pictures on Twitter of your kids wearing our numbers, your support has meant so much to us. Personally, my favorite part of being in this league was watching all the little girls in the stands cheering for us and getting to share that with my kids in Pittsburgh. There is no greater feeling than to look up and see a little kid wearing your jersey. It doesn't matter how badly you are playing in that game. It is instantly uplifting and makes you remember why you're on the ice.
“As much as I love playing the game, I am so excited to further my coaching career in taking the assistant coaching position at Mercyhurst. I loved my four years of playing at Mercyhurst and I know that this is the right step for me. At 27, I don't feel my body slowing down and I don't feel as though I can't play anymore. I simply have another part of hockey that I am super-passionate about. I love growing the game and making an impact on the lives of girls and young women and Mercyhurst is the perfect place for me to step in and make a difference. I will miss everything about getting ready for game day as a player, but I'm sure I will have just as much excitement getting ready for a game as a coach. Plus, I plan to play in some killer men's league games.
“Lastly, I'd like to thank my family for all of their support over the years. My siblings have been so supportive of me and all of my endeavors, whether they were near or far, and I'm happy to have been able to share my successes with them. My parents, over the years, have gone through probably four cars because of ‘hockey miles.’ From the time I was 10, they were driving me all over the place to make sure I had the best opportunity to play. In college, there were probably only a dozen games where I didn't see one of my parents in the stands and they have taken a photo with me after every gold medal or championship game. I don't know how they were able to do everything that they have done for me, but I know I would never be where I am without them.
“I feel very fortunate to have been able to experience everything that I have because of this game and I feel extra fortunate that the NWHL gave me two more incredible years of playing. I am able to go out a champion and that feels just fine to me.”