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Russo: “We’ll Do Everything in Our Power to Grow This League”

By Jane Norton, 06/11/18, 10:00AM EDT


Photo By Michael Hetzel

The Metropolitan Riveters appear poised to get the band back together. Although returning Olympic gold medalist Amanda Kessel is currently the only Riv signed for 2018-19 – not a bad addition, eh? – word around New Jersey is that the core of the defending Isobel Cup championship squad is making plans to return.

Among those players is NWHL All-Star and Team NWHLer speedster Rebecca Russo, who was kind enough to answer a few questions from us via email last week. 

Photo By Michelle Jay

Do you expect to return to the NWHL and what is your inspiration?
I’m determined and excited for another season with the Riveters. I want to continue to be the best role model I can be for the younger generations looking up to me and to us as a league. We are their future and we will do everything in our power to continue to grow this league. There has been some exciting and big news lately and I want to continue being front-runner and continue to pave the way.  

What was your reaction to the league expanding to Minnesota and what are your thoughts on facing the Whitecaps?
The NWHL has a huge future and I am so excited to be a part of it and to be a part of history each and every day. Having gone to Shattuck St. Mary's in Minnesota and to have been selected to the All Star Game this past season in Minnesota, I am very excited to be able to have the chance to head back to a familiar place to play some great hockey in front of some amazing fans. I am very excited that we have expanded to Minnesota, a huge hockey state. The All Star Game was a great display of what Minnesota is all about and I couldn't be more happy to welcome the Whitecaps to the NWHL.  

How determined are you and the Riveters to defend the Isobel Cup championship and how difficult do you think it’ll be with everyone wanting to dethrone the champs?
I am SO determined to come back to the NWHL's fourth season, which would be my third season, and to defend the Isobel Cup. It was a difficult season filled with ups and downs. With our team being undefeated for quite some time, we had a target on our back every game. It is going to be a great season. Along with my teammates, I’m looking forward to showing up for the 2018-2019 season and defending our title.  

What are your thoughts on the current state of women’s hockey and the steps the NWHL has taken over the last year?

The steps women's hockey has taken, in general, starting from youth hockey, up to college, and now to the NWHL have been tremendous. It has grown so much. It is exciting being able to say, "I am a part of history." I'm excited to look back at my opportunity here in the NWHL when I am older and to see it develop and to say wow, I was a part of that and I had a huge success in the rise of the National Women's Hockey League.  

What have been some of the more memorable Cup celebrations so far?

Winning the Isobel Cup on March 25th was a moment I will never forget. We will continue to celebrate throughout the summer, that's for sure! I can't wait to get the Cup for my weekend in Connecticut and to celebrate and share it with my friends, coaches, and most importantly, my family.   

What was the secret to your team coming together so quickly last season?

There was no secret. We had the majority of the team from the season before return and we just instantly clicked with one another on and off the ice. We each had the same goal all season, which was to win games and to come out on top, and we did that. In addition, we have the best fans, and their support since day 1 really helped us come together as a team and gave us the motivation to achieve all of our goals. 

Do you expect the majority of players back for the Rivs to defend the Cup? 
I think so and I hope so!