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80 Players Now Signed for NWHL's Fifth Season

By NWHL.zone staff, 09/04/19, 9:30AM EDT

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Whale add three, Whitecaps add two and Riveters sign a goalie

The recent signing of the following six players brings the total of players under contract for the 2019-20 NWHL season to 80. The league's fifth season begins on Oct. 5.

Dana DeMartino, Metropolitan Riveters: The 24-year-old goaltender from Long Island signed with the Riveters after an outstanding performance at a tryout before head coach Ivo Mocek and GM Kate Whitman Annis. DeMartino was the No. 1 goaltender on the boys’ team at Massapequa High School and was named MVP after leading the club to a New York State championship. She played collegiately at Manhattanville and Farmingdale State. 

DeMartino posted a .970 save percentage in her two starts for Farmingdale State's men's team in 2016-17. She finished her two years at Farmingdale with a.920 save percentage and a 1.66 GAA. She's also been a goalie coach at camps and clinics on Long Island for the past five years. 

“Dana is going to open some eyes this season with her outstanding play,” said Whitman Annis. “From the moment she hit the ice at our tryout, you could see not only her competitive fire, but the excellent technique she has from putting in a lot of work at her craft.”

Kelsey Cline, Minnesota Whitecaps: Cline played 161 games for the University of Minnesota between 2014-17. A WCHA All-Academic honoree, she was primarily utilized as a defender with the Golden Gophers, but also played forward. 

“This season I plan to bring depth to the strong defensive corps the Whitecaps have built,” said Cline. “I hope to connect with all of the fans that support the Whitecaps so strongly and bring them home another championship.”

Cline is the seventh member of this year's Whitecaps team who played college hockey at the University of Minnesota. She won the national title with the Golden Gophers in 2015 and 2016 and never missed a game during her collegiate career.

“Kelsey is an important addition to our blue line,” said Minnesota GM and co-head coach Jack Brodt. “She is an excellent skater and with her speed and agility, she will be able to get the puck out of our defensive end.”

Kalli Funk, Minnesota Whitecaps: The 25-year-old wing from Roseville returns for her third season with the Whitecaps as the club begins play in the NWHL. Previously, Funk played one year at Niagara, three years at St. Cloud State, and one season professionally with Goteborg HC of the SDHL before joining the Whitecaps.

"With last year being our first year in the league, it was awesome getting to compete for and win the Isobel Cup,” said Funk. “Our goal remains the same for this season, so I'm really excited to get the season started and defend our title."

Funk had one goal and one primary assist in six games with the Whitecaps last season. 

“With her strength and pure skating ability, Kalli will play a key role on our forward lines this season,” said Brodt.

Erin Hall, Connecticut Whale: A 5-3 defender, the Massachusetts native played collegiately at Holy Cross (46 points in 109 games) and is a veteran of two seasons in the CWHL with the Boston/Worcester Blades. The 39th overall pick in the 2017 CWHL Draft, she appeared in 17 career games with the Blades.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue playing the game that means so much to me,” said Hall. “I’m fortunate to be able to compete at the professional level and to help make more people aware that female athletes are talented, deserving and endlessly hardworking. I’m thrilled to be a part of the NWHL and I can’t wait to work toward a set of goals with my new teammates on the Whale.”

Brooke Wolejko, Connecticut Whale: The Whale added another goaltender to their roster by signing the 5-8 Wolejko, who played three years at St. Lawrence University and the 2017-18 season at Plattsburgh State. The Connecticut native led all NCAA D-III goaltenders in GAA (0.95) and save percentage (.962) in the 2017-18 season. She earned six shutouts in 13 of her appearances last season. At St. Lawrence University, she posted a .900 save percentage in 24 career appearances. 

Hanna Beattie, Connecticut Whale: Beattie has signed to play her third season with the Whale, after playing a combined 30 games in the NWHL the last two seasons. Beattie is a versatile player who has played both as a forward and a defender for Connecticut in the past. She is the ninth member of the 2018-19 Whale roster to re-sign with the team. Prior to turning pro, Beattie played four years at Williams College, and was captain as a junior and senior.

"I can't wait for another great year with the Whale," said Beattie. "The past two seasons playing in the NWHL have been extremely rewarding, challenging and fun. I'm excited to build off of what this team has accomplished so far and am eager to be back with our close-knit, talented group. This season, I look forward to not only growing as a player and as a team, but also continuing our commitment to pave the way for future generations."