Veteran forward Kelly Babstock signs with NWHL’s Toronto expansion team

TORONTO — Veteran forward Kelly Babstock signed with the new Toronto franchise of the National Women’s Hockey League on Saturday.

Babstock, from Mississauga, Ont., is the sixth player to join Toronto’s NWHL team after the new franchise was announced on April 22.

The Toronto team increases the U.S.-based NWHL’s number of franchises to six and comes a year after the Canadian Women’s Hockey League folded after 12 seasons because of financial instability.

“It’s a dream come true to represent my hometown team,” said Babstock in a statement. “Once we get back to playing hockey, I’m giving everything I have to Toronto, the league, our game and the fans. Let’s go.”

The 27-year-old Babstock played in the first four seasons of the NWHL — the first three as a member of the Connecticut Whale and the 2018-19 season with the Buffalo Beauts.

She has 27 goals and 33 assists in 65 games, appearing in NWHL all-star game in 2017 and 2018.

“There are no words to describe my joy over returning to the NWHL for a fifth pro season,” said Babstock, who made the Isobel Cup final with Buffalo in 2018-19. “I missed having the hunger to win a championship — the Izzy Cup, and I embrace this opportunity Toronto has given me.”

The other players to sign with Toronto are forwards Shiann Darkangelo and Taylor Woods, defenders Emma Greco and Kristen Barbara, and goaltender Elaine Chuli.

Babstock, Chuli, Greco, Darkangelo and Woods were all members of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association.

The PWHPA had balked at competing for either the NWHL or CWHL last season, instead pushing for the establishment of a single league capable of paying players a fair wage and with a financially stable long-term economic model.

It’s not clear if the players who have signed with Toronto are still members of the PWHPA.

“Our mission as the PWHPA has not changed and we are still moving forward with next season — in full force,” said the PWHPA in a statement when the Toronto expansion was announced. “Simply put, the opportunities that the NWHL will provide may be good for some players, but it’s not the opportunities that we want for our players or for future generations of young girls who will play the game at the highest level.”

The NWHL was founded in 2015, becoming North America’s first pro women’s hockey league to pay its players a salary. It currently has teams in Boston, Monmouth Junction, N.J., Danbury, Conn., Buffalo, N.Y., and Saint Paul, Minn.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta discussing early Stage 2 economic relaunch

Nineteen new COVID-19 cases confirmed by government Wednesday

Red Deer city council defeats bylaw that would have expanded cannabis sales locations

Sixty possible locations would be “overkill,” says Coun. Lawrence Lee

Traffic delays in Red Deer are caused by sidewalk construction

Drivers are urged to slow down near 32nd Street and Taylor Drive

COVID-19 crushing longtime family-owned guide outfitter

What was once a thriving business has all but dried up. Steve… Continue reading

Solidarity together: Central Albertans protest in Red Deer against racism

There’s no such thing as a little bit of racism. Even one… Continue reading

Hydroxychloroquine does not prevent COVID after exposure to the virus: study

Hydroxychloroquine does not prevent COVID after exposure to the virus: study

Nunavut RCMP to consider body cameras as tension between police, Inuit grows

Nunavut RCMP to consider body cameras as tension between police, Inuit grows

Stockwell Day steps down from several roles after comments about racism

Stockwell Day steps down from several roles after comments about racism

Trudeau to join global COVID-19 vaccine fundraiser amid calls for fair access

Trudeau to join global COVID-19 vaccine fundraiser amid calls for fair access

Joint inquiry or review of mass killing taking shape, N.S. justice minister says

Joint inquiry or review of mass killing taking shape, N.S. justice minister says

Greens likely to hold virtual leadership convention due to pandemic: May

Greens likely to hold virtual leadership convention due to pandemic: May

Meng hearing schedule to expand; lawyers ask for ‘referee’ in case

Meng hearing schedule to expand; lawyers ask for ‘referee’ in case

As some protesters in D.C. gird for battle, others provide first aid, supplies

As some protesters in D.C. gird for battle, others provide first aid, supplies

Most Read