PHOTO BY MICHELLE JAY
The pride of Snohomish, Washington is returning for her fourth season with the Boston Pride of the NWHL. Lexi Bender, the defender out of Boston College who has been an NWHL All-Star the last two seasons, has signed her contract for 2019-20.
Her game has continued to develop with each season for the Pride, as her excellence in all zones earned her selection to the 2018 NWHL All-Star Game in Saint Paul and the 2019 event in Nashville.
Asked to explain the key to her play, Bender said, “Focusing on a tight gap, staying involved in the play, and overall just making sure that I am excited to play every time I step on the ice.”
Selected 15th overall in the 2015 NWHL Draft, Bender is 2-13-15 in 49 regular season games over her first three years with the Pride. She was also named to Team NWHL for its two-game exhibition series against the U.S. Olympic team prior to the Games in Pyeongchang. Last season, she was the VEDA NWHL Player of the Week after a dominant season opening-performance in the Pride’s 5-1 win over the Riveters.
“Lexi is a fabulous player who makes everyone around her better,” said Boston head coach Paul Mara.
Having played hockey from age 5 to 14 in the boys’ division of the Seattle Junior Hockey Association, Bender is thrilled to see the NHL expand to Seattle and hopes the NWHL will also have a presence there soon.
“Seeing hockey come to Seattle in a big way has been amazing,” said Bender. “People are really psyched about hockey and there is no better feeling than seeing people get excited about something you love. There has recently been an #NWHLtoSeattle push in the Pacific Northwest, so it would be really great to give the fans there an event to get excited about.”
Bender will receive $13,000 for the upcoming season, partake in the 50 percent cut of revenue from league sponsorship and media deals, and receive 15 percent of revenue from apparel sold with her name on it. As always, Bender and all players are insured in the event of injuries sustained at league practices and games. While playing for the Pride, Bender will be in her final year of law school. After working at a major firm in Boston this summer, her goal is to work in corporate law after graduation.
“Next season I hope to play fast and loose, and want to make sure that I am ready to contribute to the best of my abilities,” said Bender, a recipient of the NWHL Foundation Award in 2018 for her commitment to the community. “I expect the Pride to be a high-energy team, and I have a feeling we will be fun to watch!”
PHOTO BY MICHELLE JAY
Bender played 154 games over four years at Boston College – the most by any player in school history. She earned All-Hockey East Honors in every season, scoring 19 goals and adding 76 assists for 95 points over her collegiate career. Previously, she played four years of high school hockey at the Shattuck St. Mary’s, winning the national championship for Tier I U16 and U19.