National Women’s Hockey League All-Star, and winner of the Fastest Skater Competition, Rebecca Russo will be returning to the New York Riveters for the 2017-2018 season after re-signing with the club on Tuesday.
The Boston University forward found the back of the net three times, while providing the helpers on 13 tallies in 18 games during her rookie campaign, this past season. Named to the 2017 NWHL All-Star Game, at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania by the NWHL fans, she won the Fastest Skater Event during the skills competition.
The Shelton, Connecticut native helped guide the Terriers to three Hockey East Championships during her collegiate career. In her senior season at Boston University, she scored 15 goals and 23 assists for 38 points, in 39 games.
In 2011, Russo helped Shattuck-St. Mary School in Fairbault, Minnesota win an Under-19 National Title, as she led the team in goals. Shattuck-St. Mary has known for turning out good hockey stars.
Former New Jersey Devil and current Minnesota Wild forward, Zach Parise, Pittsburgh Penguins captain, Sidney Crosby, New York Ranger forward, Derek Stepan, former New York Islander, Kyle Okposso, Chicago Blackhawks captain, Jonathan Toews and USA Women’s National Team members, Amanda Kessel, Brianna Decker, Jocelyne Lamoureux and Monique Lamoureux also are alumni of Shattuck-St. Mary. Kessel was a Riveters teammate with Russo during the 2016-2017 NWHL season.
Russo said, “Playing for the New York Riveters has been one heck of an experience, and I am looking forward to another fun and successful season with this great organization. I am so incredibly blessed and honored to be able to continue to play the game I love most and re-sign for another season of hockey with the NWHL.”
During her years with Boston U, the Communications Major served as a counselor with for BU Hockey camps as she traveled to Lake Placid, New York to help train young girls in the Canadian/American Hockey Camp. She also noted that she has given motivational speeches at schools and ice rinks and hopes to help Columbus Blue Jackets, forward Cam Atkinson run a summer hockey program.
Regarding her training, Russo added, “I train with Ben Prentiss in Stamford, Connecticut. He has worked with many professional and Olympic athletes, such as Cam Atkinson, Jonathan Quick and Kevin Shattenkirk to name a few. I am extremely lucky to work alongside these incredible athletes and role models who help push me to further limits.”
She added, “I played boys youth hockey for Mid-Fairfield in Connecticut until the age of 14. My father, Peter Russo, created the Mid-Fairfield girls’ program, the CT Stars, and since then they have been one of the most successful women’s program in the country. I continued my hockey in Minnesota at the legendary Shattuck St. Mary’s School, where I played with my current teammate, Courtney Burke.”
Russo noted that she honors Connecticut hockey stars to the likes of USA Women’s Team member, Julie Chu, former Ranger and Tampa Bay Lightning forward, Martin St. Louis and newly named Hartford Wolfpack General Manager, Chris Drury. As a huge Rangers fan, she also roots for Rick Nash and Kevin Hayes.
She also mentioned that Derek Jeter is one of her most admired athletes saying, “He is a great role model both on and off the field. I admire his leadership, work ethic and sportsmanship.”
While talking about the league she said, “I am extremely fortunate that this league was formed for athletes like myself, that are not done playing the game we love most. It is time to give back and I have had the pleasure of making footprints for all the young girls that have the same vision and dream. The NWHL allows young women to continue playing hockey after college at the highest level.”
She continued, “The leadership of this league is outstanding and they see the need for its existence. I have played with and against great players, met great people and made great friends along the way. I have trained with the best and have been surrounded by a wonderful network or athletes, professionals and friends and I would not want to trade this job for anything. I just would like to take time to say thank you to all our fans for helping support and grow this league. We could not do this without you.”
In addition to playing in the league, Russo works at MLB/NHL Network within the Media and Production Department. The energetic and aggressive forward, who has had her play compared to Atkinson’s, added that many people do not know that she was a first chair violinist in the orchestra during elementary and middle school.
The NWHL will begin its third season in October, as all four teams, the Riveters, Boston Pride, Connecticut Whale and defending Isobel Cup Champions, Buffalo Beauts, will host their full slate of home games, along with some neutral site matchups. The league compensates all its players as well as providing them with a share of the sales from their jerseys and “shirseys.”