The Connecticut Whale re-signed 2016-2017 Fans’ Three Stars Award recipient, Anya Battaglino, for the 2017-2018 National Women’s Hockey League season on Friday.
Battaglino, the Director of the NWHL Players’ Association has played 13 games for the Whale over the first two seasons of the league. During the inaugural season of the NWHL, in 2015-2016, she was a nominee for the NWHL Foundation and the Denna Laing awards. Last season she was nominated for the Denna Laing Award again and was a recipient of the Fans’ Three Star Award.
The Waltham, Massachusetts native, played two years with the Boston University Terriers and two seasons with the Boston Blades, of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, while she was earning her degree in Marine Biology from BU. In her first season with the Blades, she helped guide them to a Clarkson Cup Championship.
Battaglino said, “Signing a season three contract with the Whale is one of the proudest moments of my NWHL career. I am a full contract player now after working hard as a practice player. I am so happy to have earned the full-time spot with the Whale.”
She developed her game with Waltham Youth Hockey, before playing for the East Coast Wizards, in Bedford, Massachusetts. With the Wizards, she was coached by Paul Kennedy, the father of U.S. Olympic Team member, Courtney Kennedy.
Battaglino added, “As a kid that was the biggest deal because she was one of the reasons I fell so deeply in love with women’s hockey. I honestly felt like a such a hot-shot with him as my coach.”
In addition to her career in the NWHL, Battaglino works selling cyber security events for Gartner Worldwide Events, in Stamford, Connecticut.
She said, “All of the senior leaders of the sales team have a Connecticut Whale shirt, because Tom, [one of the Board of Directors], purchased one for everybody. The amount of support they give me is a blessing, and shows how willing people are to help you pioneer for your dreams while working fulltime.”
In discussing the NWHL and the Whale she said, “Watching how the team has grown and changed and succeeded and struggled has made me elevate all levels of my game. Joining the Connecticut Whale and moving from my hometown was a humbling decision, but signing my season three contract feels like, `Hey Connecticut, I am here, and I am home.’ I am so inspired to continue to pave the way for the betterment of women in power positions. We are changing the world, and season three for the NWHL is just proof of that.”
The NWHL will drop the puck on the third season in October as the Whale, New York Riveters, Boston Pride and Buffalo Beauts will battle in their pursuit of the 2018 Isobel Cup. All four teams will play the full slate of home games in 2017-2018, with a few neutral site matchups as the NWHL tries to showcase the game in other markets.