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Elena Orlando Returns to Whale for Fifth NWHL Season

By staff, 06/05/19, 9:30AM EDT


Highly-respected veteran defender Elena Orlando, an original NWHL player, has re-signed with the Connecticut Whale for the 2019-20 season. This will be her fourth season with the Whale, after playing the NWHL’s inaugural season with the New York Riveters.
“I’ve loved my time in the NWHL and I believe it’s very important to continue to build the league and advance the game for future generations,” said Orlando.

The stay-at-home defender has played 61 games over the four seasons of the NWHL. Orlando was a dual athlete her junior and senior years at Quinnipiac University, playing both hockey and rugby.  Between 2010–2014, she played 87 hockey games at Quinnipiac.

“Elena is a fierce competitor who has gained respect throughout the NWHL as a player since the first season,” said Connecticut general manager Bray Ketchum. “She brings experience, commitment and hard work to the Whale lineup.”

Raised in Northern California, Orlando was a big fan of the San Jose Sharks. She dreamed of being the NHL’s first female player, but played hockey only on boys’ teams until she went to Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Minnesota.

“I played on boys’ teams because there weren’t any programs for girls near me, and I dreamed of playing in the NHL because there wasn’t an NWHL at the time,” said Orlando. “I feel so blessed to have this opportunity.”

In 2017, Orlando was a co-recipient of the NWHL Foundation Award, which goes to the players most actively applying the core values of hockey to her community as well as improving hockey culture.


Asked for a scouting report on her own play, Orlando wrote in an email, “I would describe myself as a reliable defenseman that isn’t afraid to play aggressively and block shots.”

In addition to playing for the Connecticut Whale, Orlando is a nursing consultant in Norwalk.