USA Hockey Olympic Veteran, Molly Engstrom will be returning to the Connecticut Whale for the 2016-2017 National Women’s Hockey League season after signing a one year, 18,000-dollar contract.
Head coach of the Whale, Heather Linstad said, “Molly is an experienced veteran, who will be a leader on and off the ice. She will inspire the younger players to work hard at every practice and bring intensity to every shift. In addition, she will be a steady blue liner who will make smart decisions in the defensive zone, and make things happen offensively from the blue line.”
During the inaugural season, 2015-2016, she put three goals and two assists for the Whale. She also appeared in all three of Connecticut’s Isobel Cup Playoff games.
Following a game on December 6th, in which she was ejected for an illegal cross check and punch to the head of an opponent, Engstrom became the first NWHL player suspended in league history. The suspension was a one game ban.
Before playing in the NWHL, she played for the Brampton Thunder of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. In 2008, she helped lead the Thunder to the winning the inaugural Clarkson Cup over the Mississauga Chiefs.
She has represented the United States, in six International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships and two Four Nations Cups. At the 2006 as well as the 2010 Winter Olympics, she helped lead the “Red, White and Blue,” to a bronze (2006) and silver (2010) medal.
Engstrom said, “I am so happy to be signing another NWHL contract with the Whale. This is a special moment in time for women’s hockey and I am so grateful to be a part of it.”
She played collegiately with the University of Wisconsin. During the 2006-2007 season, she served the team as an undergraduate assistant coach.
She was twice named Western Collegiate Hockey Association Defenseman of the Year, as well as being a top 10 finalist for the 2005 Patty Kazmaier Award, presented to the top female collegiate hockey player. During her junior season, she received the Badger Award, presented to the Wisconsin University player who best exemplifies passion, humility and unity. She finished her senior year, ranked as the third best defenseman in the nation.
Prior to Wisconsin, she played for Culver Academy, in Culver, Indiana. At Culver, during her senior season she appeared 35 games, while putting up 31 points (15 goals and 16 assists).
The free agency period will end for the four teams, on Sunday July 31, as they get ready to begin the second season in the NWHL on October 7, 2016.