Forwards Kendall Coyne Schofield and Jonna Curtis of the Minnesota Whitecaps and goaltender Shannon Szabados of the Buffalo Beauts are the finalists for the 2018-19 Newcomer of the Year Award, as selected by a panel of 20 media members and broadcasters in cooperation with the Women’s Hockey Media Association.
An international sensation, Coyne Schofield brought her speed and agility to the Whitecaps in their first season in the NWHL. She helped Minnesota earn the top seed in the Isobel Cup Playoffs by posting 14 points (7-7-14) in 13 games. She closed the regular season with five points in three games, including two goals and an assist in a 9-0 win over Connecticut. She posted four multi-point games on the season. An NWHL All-Star in Nashville, she won the league’s fastest skater competition shortly after competing in the same event at the NHL All-Star Game, becoming the first woman to participate. She has also continued to be a prominent figure with the U.S. National Team, playing with Team USA in the Four Nations Cup and Rivalry Series against Canada.
A graduate of University of New Hampshire, Curtis burst onto the scene in her first NWHL season, leading the Whitecaps with 19 points (8-11-19). She opened the season on a five-game point streak, racking up seven points in that span. She was named VEDA NWHL Player of the Week after a five-point weekend against the Riveters in October. Appearing in all 16 games for Minnesota, she earned a point in 12 of them, including four multi-point performances.
Another big name on the international scene, Szabados has not disappointed in her first season in the NWHL. She’s been lights-out for the second-seeded Beauts, posting a pair of shutouts to go with a 1.49 goals-against average and .934 save percentage. Of her 213 saves on the season, many were of the jaw-dropping variety, helping preserve wins for Buffalo. She captained her NWHL All-Star Team to victory and was also named a finalist for the NWHL Goaltender of the Year. A mainstay on the Canadian National Team, she appeared in the Four Nations Cup and Rivalry Series.
Winners will be announced as part of the 2019 NWHL Awards in the week following the Isobel Cup Final.