Forward Micaela Long will be returning to the Connecticut Whale of the National Women’s Hockey League after agreeing a one-year 13,500-dollar contract on Monday.
Whale head coach, Heather Linstad said, “The coaching staff is very excited to have Micaela returning to the Whale. Micael has a very good hockey IQ and plays well at both ends of the ice. She is a strong penalty killer with good speed and willingness to block a shot. In addition, she brings a great attitude to the rink and locker room.”
In 17 games with the Whale this past season, she put up three goals and seven assists. She added two assists during the Isobel Cup Playoffs to tie for second on the team. Long scored the first goal in the history of the franchise as well as being credited with last goal of the 2015-2016 season for the Whale.
Long said, “I am thrilled to be playing for the Whale again this season. Last year was a huge success, and I am excited to see what is in store for year two. I am so happy to continue playing the game I love and to do it in front of our incredible fans! I know we are all looking forward to October.”
The five foot two, 130-pound forward finished her senior season at the University of New Hampshire as the Hockey East scoring leader and a First Team All-Star in 2010. She played in four straight National Collegiate Athletic Association tournaments and won three conference championships and two league titles for the UNH Wildcats.
The durable and reliable forward did not miss a game in high school or college. In four seasons with the Wildcats she put up 126 points and was nominated as a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award, presented to the top NCAA Division I, women’s ice hockey player.
Her small stature may not make people think she is an enforcer type in the NWHL, but one play might have helped change that last season. In an NWHL game on January 3rd, Long knocked New York Riveters captain Ashley Johnston to the ice, resulting a brawl between the two clubs.
She had dreamed of making the United States Olympic Team, but was unable to crack the roster. In 2012, while she was working at the American School for the Deaf, she played with the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League for two seasons before the NWHL and the Whale came calling.
Long said, “I felt like I was not done with hockey. As much as I love my teaching career there was always something missing and I knew it was hockey. But I could not play for the CWHL in Boston and that was my only option. When the league started and I heard about it, and they said the word ‘Connecticut,’ paid or not paid, that is amazing.”
She added, “Growing up and wanting to be in the National Hockey League, wanting to be in the Olympics, this was my life for 20 years. And they are saying it is within driving distance, asking if I want to play. How do you say no to that? It is a dream come true.”
Long went on to say, “This is worth every sleepless night I had. A dream I never thought would be possible. Being paid is one thing, but just playing again, having that missing piece that was gone for three years for me, you know, was really nice.”