July 12, 2018 – The entire coaching staff of the Minnesota Whitecaps for their first season in the National Women’s Hockey League is comprised of people who took part in the club’s inaugural season in 2004. The co-head coaches are Ronda Curtin Engelhardt and Jack Brodt, and they will be joined by assistant coach Laura Slominski.
Engelhardt played for the Whitecaps from 2004–2006 after an extraordinary playing career at the University of Minnesota. She was a two-time First Team All American and as a freshman in 2000 helped the Gophers win their first national championship. In addition, she was a top-three finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award in 2002, WCHA Player of the Year in 2002 and Defensive Player of the Year in 2002 and 2003. For the last five years, Engelhardt has been the head coach at Breck School.
“I'm humbled to be a part of the Whitecaps, and I want to extend big thanks to all the people involved in getting the NWHL off the ground and giving players a place to play after college,” said Engelhardt. “I’m excited for the opportunity to coach the Whitecaps and help lead a talented group. It will be important to build chemistry while maximizing each player's skill set to best impact our team success. I’m looking forward to getting on the ice with the team and seeing what style works best for us.”
Brodt co-founded the Whitecaps in 2004 and has been either the head coach or co-head coach of the club since its first season. He played an integral role in the NWHL’s expansion to Minnesota, which was announced in May. From 1963-1967, Brodt played right wing for Hamline University and was captain in his junior and senior seasons. Slominski is also an original Whitecap who played for the U. of Minnesota from 1998–2002. She was co-captain and a top-ten Kazmaier finalist as a senior. As head coach of Edina High School for seven seasons until 2016, Slominski had a record of 131-39-15.
“Ronda and Laura were great players for the Whitecaps in our very first season, and I’m proud to be working with such great hockey minds,” said Brodt. “The three of us are committed to building a team that Minnesota can be proud of – an exciting team that will contend for the Isobel Cup.”
The Whitecaps open the 2018-19 season at TRIA Rink in Saint Paul on Saturday, Oct. 6 and Sunday, Oct. 7 against the defending Isobel Cup champion Metropolitan Riveters. The Whitecaps feature 2018 Team USA Olympic gold medalists Hannah Brandt and Lee Stecklein, along with NWHL Goaltender of the Year Amanda Leveille. Season tickets for the Whitecaps’ inaugural NWHL season are on sale now at NWHL.zone.