The Connecticut Whale re-signed Kelly Babstock for the 2017-2018 National Women’s Hockey League season.
The forward from Mississauga, Ontario is one of the top forwards over the league’s first two seasons, with 19 goals and 22 assists in 35 games. The Quinnipiac University graduate put up nine goals and 13 assists for 22 points, in 17 games during the 2015-2016 NWHL season, tying her with Kelli Stack, for the team’s point leader.
This past season, her 10 goals and nine assists, in 17 games, was good for third place on the Whale.
Babstock said, “I feel really great about it. It is awesome to be part of the Whale and have the opportunity of playing hockey while growing the game with the NWHL. I am very excited about season three.”
The 24-year-old forward, is one of the All-time leaders in goals (95), assists (108) and points (203) for the Quinnipiac Bobcats. As a freshman, she was named the Eastern College Athletic Association Player of the Year. In her senior year, Babstock was a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, for top female collegiate hockey player.
She also competed on the lacrosse team at Quinnipiac.
Babstock describes her style of play as a power forward that likes to battle and get dirty in the corners.
She added, “I pride myself on being a good teammate and giving my best at all times. I have put in the time at polishing my offensive skills. I does not come easily, which is something I always try to impress upon among young players. You really have to work at it.”
She credits much of her success to Brijesh Patel, her strength coach at Quinnipiac, and added that she is fortunate to be able to still work with him.
The Criminal Justice graduate said she may pursue the field down the road someday, but right now she is focused on sports. She is currently the Hockey Director at Fairfield Ice Academy, in addition to coaching two lacrosse teams, the freshman team at Staples School in Westport, Connecticut and a youth squad from Fairfield Youth Lacrosse.
The hockey player she admires most is Washington Capitals captain, Alexander Ovechkin. She added that “He is a very skilled player who plays physically. He is a lot of fun to watch.”
Babstock said, “My dream was to play the game of hockey for as long as I could. Years ago, I thought it would end with college. The NWHL changed all of that and it has been a thrill to be a part of it for two, going on three seasons. For the next steps, I would like to see the league get more positive attention. We have so many great players. We give our all, just as much as the men. But we do not get the same support, and we need it. Sponsorship, attendance, we need to do everything we can to see our league grow.”
She noted that some of the most fun she had in the sport was during the Little Native Hockey League.
Babstock said, “I am half Native American. My mom’s side is Objibway and my dad’s side is from Newfoundland. I lived in Toronto, but every summer, we would go to the reservation, the Wikwemikong Reserve on Manitoulin Island. There is a hockey tournament I always attended as a kid, the LNHL and you would play reservations across Ontario. It was some of the most fun I had playing the game. One of my life goals is to one day host a hockey and lacrosse camp for children there”
The NWHL is slated to begin season three in October, as the “Founding Four” teams, New York Riveters, Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts and the Whale, will play their full slate of home games as well as a few neutral site battles to help drum up support in other markets. The league will continue to compensate its players as well as provide them with a portion of their jersey and shirsey sales.