July 25, 2018– Rebecca Russo has re-signed with the defending Isobel Cup champion Metropolitan Riveters for 2018-19 – her third season in the NWHL. Last season, Russo finished tied for second in goals and fourth in points, going 9-8-17 in 16 regular season games. The former Boston University star has also appeared in two NWHL All-Star Games and was a member of Team NWHL for its series against the U.S. Olympic Team in January.
Russo is one of the most popular players in the league. As a rookie, she joined Harrison Browne and Anya Battaglino as the recipients of the Fans’ Three Stars of the Season Award. Last season, she finished fourth among all players in apparel sales. Russo’s Riveters jersey and t-shirts are available at TheLoyalist.com/Riveters.
Russo cited the stability in the Riveters’ roster and the club’s alignment with the New Jersey Devils as two of the biggest motivators to continue her career in the NWHL.
“The Riveters have a special thing going where a lot of our teammates have returned season after season,” said Russo, a native of Connecticut. “Throughout the last three years we continue to have over half of our team return, so yes, we can battle the others and will defend our title proudly for the upcoming season. We have amazing chemistry both on and off the ice and I look forward to getting back with the team in October. We have all worked really hard throughout the years and the past season winning the Isobel Cup was one for the books. I’m so excited to have most of the team back and we look forward to having Amanda Kessel return.”
As for the Riveters-Devils partnership, Russo said: “We call the Devils our brothers. They get us whatever we need — whether it’s ice time, being able to fix our equipment or a simple skate sharpening. They are truly one-of-a-kind, a class act program and I’m so happy they decided to support the growth of women’s hockey and most importantly be our partners and fans! I love heading to Barnabas for practice and games and I enjoy heading to the Prudential Center to watch the Devils play. Thank you to the New Jersey Devils for believing in us as players, people and most importantly as women professional athletes.”
Over her first two seasons with the Riveters, the 24-year-old Russo is 12-21-33 in 34 games. She had a goal and an assist in last season’s Cup run and won the Fastest Skater competition in the All-Star Skills Showdown in Pittsburgh in 2017. At Boston University, Russo won three Hockey East titles and was 15-23-38 in 39 games in her senior season. Developed as a young player in the Mid-Fairfield girls’ hockey program, she also won a championship in 2011 at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Minnesota.
Russo and MeiGray Group, “The Official Game-Worn Source of the NWHL,” started the first Game-Used Player Authentication Program at the beginning of last season. The program enables fans and collectors to acquire fully authenticated game-used sticks, gloves and helmets from the Riveters’ All-Star forward.The unique partnership also offers fans the opportunity to meet Russo and acquire these items directly off the ice, following games. Items are available at http://meigrayauctions.com/catalog.aspx?auctionid=202
“I love working and having a partnership with MeiGray,” said Russo. “For Barry Meisel to have chosen me to be their first-ever women’s professional athlete in their company is amazing. I attend the MeiGray Expo each year and it is so amazing to see the people that show up not only to take a look at NHL jerseys and memorabilia and see some NHL players, but they now come and support the NWHL. It is so exciting being able to share my story with hundreds of people and to educate them on who we are as athletes – women professional athletes who play in the NWHL. It is an exciting time right now where the game of men and women's hockey is rapidly growing. I’m looking forward to another successful season with MeiGray.”
With two seasons and an Isobel Cup behind her, Russo looks at the strides the NWHL has made and is very bullish about the future of women’s hockey.
“When I joined in 2016, I honestly had no idea what to expect and what the NWHL would turn into,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier for what it has become. This league is going to be something really big one day, and I can’t wait to look back and say I was a part of it at the very beginning. I’ve had such an incredible journey as a hockey player with so many memorable moments – ranging from youth hockey all the way up to playing in front of a sold-out crowd in the Isobel Cup Final with over 900,000 people watching on Twitter. To say I play in the NWHL and that I’m an Isobel Cup champion is a huge honor. Women’s hockey has a huge future and I’m so happy to be a part of it.”