Photo By Matthew Raney Photography
No one needs to remind the tough and steady defender Cydney Roesler, one of the rocks of the Whale, that her team is the lone squad of the NWHL’s Founding Four yet to win the Isobel Cup.
“It’s time we complete the cycle and win the Cup for Connecticut,” she said.
The Hunt for Isobel is one of many reasons why the former Quinnipiac player is determined to sign a contract for a third professional season in Connecticut when the free agency period begins in June. Roesler confirmed her return earlier this week in an interview.
“The Whale has had our ups and downs, but I believe this could be the opportunity for us to rise above and prove to people that we can win,” she said. “That’s first and foremost why I plan on returning to the NWHL and represent Connecticut for a third straight season. I’m also driven by the progress the league has made over the past couple years. It has been very inspirational. And the ability to continue to play the game I love is another major factor.”
Roesler passion for hockey is evident in her play. The captain at Quinnipiac in her senior season, Roesler leads the Whale by example of her commitment to defense.
“Cyd is such an effective leader,” said Erica Ayala, the commentator on Whale broadcasts. “She and the Whale battled through injuries and roster changes last season. Through it all, Cyd maintained her ability to fairly assess and always push for more.”
As Roesler says, “You’re not going to see me making one of the Top Plays on SportsCenter. When I’m at my best, I’m limiting the other team’s scoring chances. Guess you can say I’m solid and reliable, not fancy.”
Photo by Matthew Raney Photography
Whale head coach Ryan Equale has enormous praise for Roesler.
“Cyd brings many things to our team on an everyday basis – most of all, she brings consistency,” said Equale. “Cyd is a consistently hard worker, a consistently positive person and a consistently great teammate. It is a pretty simple formula for success, really: be in shape, be prepared, be focused, support your teammates, commit to the team system and execute at a high level on a consistent basis. The teams that can get the most players doing this at the same time, win. Cyd is prepared every time she steps on the ice and is someone that the coaching staff counts on to perform at a high level.”
A native of Stittsville, Ontario and four-year player in the Ottawa Junior Senators girls’ hockey program, Roesler played four years at Quinnipiac before turning pro in 2016. In international play with Team Canada, she won gold at the 2012 Women’s Under-18 World Championship, leading all defenders in goals with three goals. Besides playing for the Whale, Roesler is an assistant coach at Quinnipiac.
Roesler’s return is a very good thing for the NWHL. On a team filled with players committed to serving as role models so young girls can dream as big as their brothers, Roesler is one of this movement’s most gracious athletes.
As an example, Whale play-by-play broadcaster Phil Giubileo shares an anecdote about interviewing Roesler last October after the club dropped a preseason game to the Russian National Team.
“Cydney was insightful as always, but what stood out for me was how – through the entire thing – young girls in Whale jerseys came over with pucks asking for Cydney's autograph, and she had this genuine ear-to-ear smile signing for them and speaking with them,” said Giubileo, a top announcer with the league since its founding. “It never gets old, watching a professional athlete in today's society show sincere happiness and engagement towards their fans. When watching Cydney sign for those fans, it was obvious without her having to say it – she knew not only the importance of chatting with these kids and signing for them, but that she really enjoyed it too.”
Says Roesler, “The moments I’m proudest of are definitely when we have younger girls come skate with us and sit in the locker room with the team. When we ask them about their future and they say they want to play in the NWHL, that makes me so proud. There’s now an option for girls to play professional hockey and I think that’s incredibly special. It’s an honor to play in this league and to be role models for these little girls.”
Photo by Matthew Raney Photography
MORE FROM CYDNEY ROESLER
Reaction to the NWHL’s expansion to Minnesota: “Not only is it such great news for this league to be expanding, but also just the women’s game in general to be developing in different markets. The Whitecaps are going to bring a new level of compete and energy to this league.”
Next market for expansion? Pittsburgh would great. The league has had many positive experiences in that city, so it would be a great place to expand and grow the game.
On the state of women’s hockey: “The NWHL has taken a lot of positive steps forward over the last year and the game as a whole has really grown. The Olympics, the growth of the CWHL into China, the NWHL partnership with Twitter and expansion to Minnesota have really showed everyone that women’s hockey is on the rise. Seeing all the growth over the past year has been really inspiring and I love playing a small role in that development.”
Family Influence: “My father, Ky Roesler, played at Colgate and was a defender. His play and guidance has been a major influence on my hockey career.”
Approach to training: “I’m still fortunate to be affiliated with Quinnipiac and to live in the area, so you can usually find me training there with the strength coach, Brijesh Patel, from Monday to Friday.”
Hockey Development: “I played boys hockey all the way through the eighth grade, then with the girls in the Ottawa Junior Senators program from Grades 9-12. The Senators’ program and Team Canada helped take my game up a notch.”
Admired Hockey Players: “I did a few Hockey Canada camps where Marie-Philip Poulin was a mentor. She is such a great player. It was inspiring to be around her. In the NHL, Eric Karlsson of the Senators is so skilled and entertaining. And Jonathan Toews– I love his style and how’s he’s a great two-way player.”
Photo By Michelle Jay
COACH EQUALE ON ROESLER
“Cyd would be a great role model even if she never played a shift of hockey or was a college coach. She is a genuinely kind and thoughtful person. She has a good heart and spirit. Those attributes alone are ones I hope my daughter will continue to possess and have the courage to exhibit during times of adversity and challenge.
“The key is to have the courage and strength to be who you are even during times of adversity. Anyone can do the right thing when it is easy. You see what someone is truly made of when times are tough. For me, I saw all I needed to see from Cyd during this past season when we only won 3 games. Cyd and the rest of her teammates showed the staff and each other what being a role model and great teammate is all about. As a team, we stayed positive with each other. No one pointed fingers, everyone was accountable and the team fought and worked hard for each other every practice and every game.
“The NWHL is full of special players and women such as Cyd, and the CT Whale was fortunate to have a team full of them. Simply put, Cyd is who you want your daughter to grow up to become.”