Since the dawn of the NWHL, Kaleigh Fratkin has been an outstanding defender and one of the game’s most respected players. She is a two-time All-Star, was the leading scorer among blueliners in the league’s inaugural season, and is the only player in the NWHL’s brief history to play for three teams.
Adding to her list of accolades, Fratkin has been selected as the VEDA NWHL Player of the Week for her clutch, game-winning goal and effective play with D partner Alyssa Gagliardi in Boston’s victory on Sunday over the Riveters.
“We’re playing great as a team and [goalie] Katie Burt has been incredible for us,” Fratkin said in Newark on Sunday, after the Pride’s 5-2 win – a game that was deadlocked at 2-2 with two minutes left in regulation. “We really came together for those two wins in Minnesota and it feels like everyone is contributing. I’m proud of this honor, but mostly really happy about these victories being true team efforts.”
On Sunday, Fratkin’s snipe from the point on a 5-on-3 power play at 18:06 of the third period broke the tie and gave Boston their third straight victory, putting them in first place. She also had the primary assist on Dana Trivigno’s goal late in the second period that gave the Pride a 2-1 lead.
“Fratty has been outstanding all year for us and this was probably her best all-around performance,” Boston head coach Paul Mara said moments after the game. “I’ve got her out there with Gags against the Riveters’ great top line and they’re doing everything you’d want from a D pair. She makes a great play on the big goal late in the second, and then scores the game-winner. That’s a pretty good day. She was fantastic.”
Fratkin is such a modest person and subtle player, it can be a challenge to articulate what has made her so valuable to her teams – from Boston University to a championship season in the CWHL and now her time in the NWHL with Connecticut, New Jersey and Boston. So we asked Gagliardi to send us an email on the victorious bus ride home, and she was happy to share some thoughts on her friend and fellow defender.
Fratkin has played for the Whale, Riveters and Pride in her NWHL tenure.
Fratkin is a two-time NWHL All-Star.
“Fratty is a solid defensemen and it really showed in today’s game,” Gagliardi wrote. “As D partners, we try to just communicate a lot and be aggressive all over the ice and support each other. She’s so solid every game that it makes it easy to play with her. It’s awesome to see her get rewarded on the scoresheet with a great play on Dana’s goal and the huge power play goal at the end that ultimately gave us the win. It’s great to end the first half on a positive note!”
With an eye on winning her first Isobel Cup and continuing to shine an even brighter light on women’s hockey, the native of Burnaby, British Columbia re-signed with Boston in August. While playing her second season for the Pride, Fratkin is in her first season as an assistant coach at Nichols College.
“I decided to play another season because I want to continue to play hockey at the highest level possible and I want to be a part of continuing to push the growth of girls’ hockey for the younger generations,” said Fratkin. “The league has come a long way from Day 1. The continual growth in all aspects of this league truly proves the potential of women’s professional hockey. I want to thank all the fans, NWHL players and hockey supporters who continue to be dedicated to this league.”
As for her team, Fratkin said, “My goal with the Pride is to win an Isobel Cup. I believe we have the team to accomplish it.”
If the Pride and original NWHLer Kaleigh Fratkin – the VEDA NWHL Player of the Week – keep this up, they will be a serious contender.