The Connecticut Whale re-signed defenseman, Elena Orlando for the 2017-2018 National Women’s Hockey League season on Thursday.
The Quinnipiac University graduate from Winters, California who works the overnight shift at a New Haven HIV/AIDS facility, has patrolled the blueline as a stay-at-home defender for 29 games over the last two seasons in the NWHL. She was a member of the New York Riveters during the 2015-2016 inaugural season of the league and represented the green and blue this past season.
The two-sport athlete, rugby and hockey, is an avid fan of Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks, had always dreamed of becoming the first female National Hockey League player, and played on only boys’ teams prior to attending Shattuck-St. Mary School in Fairbault, Minnesota.
She added, “I played on boys’ teams because there were not any programs for girls near me, and I dreamed of playing in the NHL because there was not an NWHL at the time. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity.”
One of the four recipients of the NWHL Foundation Award, present to the players that best apply the core values of hockey to her community, Orlando said, “I have loved my time in the NWHL and I am excited to play another season.”
The NWHL will begin season three with the “Founding Four” teams, Whale, Riveters, Boston Pride and defending Isobel Cup Champions, Buffalo Beauts, will begin their third season in October. All four teams will have their full slate of home games, with a few neutral site matchups as the league tries to showcase the game in other markets.
The NWHL will continue to compensate all its players and provides each of them with a share of the sales of their jerseys and “shirsheys.”