Janine Weber has the distinction of having a stick in the Hockey Hall of Fame as well as being the first player to sign an NWHL contract. Before signing with the Riveters on June 11th, she was a full-time teacher and worked with students with developmental disorders. Weber, in pursuit of graduate studies in education, played a standout season of NCAA hockey with the Providence Friars in 2012-13. Last season she played in the CWHL with the Boston Blades and scored the Clarkson Cup-winning goal in overtime as a rookie.
Weber, a native of Innsbruck, Austria, is just one of four players currently on an NWHL roster that is not North American-born. In 90 games representing Austria in international play Weber has amassed 62 points, 43 of which are goals. Before taking to the ice with the Providence Friars and the Boston Blades she dominated the EWHL with 182 points (111 goals, 73 assists) in 83 career games while playing for the Vienna . The 24 year old Weber will almost certainly be a difference maker in the Riveters' lineup thanks to her strength and knack for scoring big goals.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to ask her a few questions before the inaugural NWHL season gets underway. Let's get to know Janine Weber of the New York Riveters.
: What does it mean to you to be the first player to sign an NWHL contract and the first player to sign with the New York Riveters?
Janine Weber: It will be a cool story to tell my grandchildren one day but right now I'm mostly excited to have the opportunity to play in the NWHL in its first season.
MM: You are probably best known for your overtime goal that won your team the Clarkson Cup last season and earned your stick a home in the Hockey Hall of Fame, but do you consider it the most significant moment of your hockey career to date?
JW: I think it's definitely up there when it comes to significant moments in my hockey career. I think coming to the U.S. to play at Providence College was another big moment since I had always dreamed of playing college hockey.
MM: Do your students know that their teacher is a professional hockey player playing in New York City?
JW: Yes we talked about it a lot at work. It was hard to say goodbye to my students and coworkers but they are all really proud and they will hopefully make it to our games in Boston!
MM: Which hockey players did you try to model your game after while growing up in Austria? Are there any players that you looked up to and were a big fan of?
JW: When I was younger I looked up to the veteran players and the girls who played abroad on team Austria. I also got to play with lots of phenomenal hockey players in Boston that I definitely looked up to.
MM: How much of an impact does your height and strength make in your game and just how physical do things get out there in the corners and in front of the net?
JW: I learned early how important it is to use my height and strength since I grew up playing with boys until I was 17 and I think that helped me develop the physical aspect of my game and I think I have been using my height and strength to my advantage a lot.
Things do get really physical out there but that's part of the game and you can't let that get into your head.
MM: Is there anything you'd like to say to Riveters fans?
JW: I'd like to let your readers know that everyone involved has been working really hard to make this league a success and that we are really excited to get the season started. I hope lots of people will make it to our games and I think they will be very interesting and entertaining hockey games.
Furthermore, I think all of us in the Riveters organization are really excited to be able to have an impact in the Brooklyn community and to have the possibility to be role models for kids and young hockey players alike!
A big thanks to the @NWHL_ and Janine Weber for taking the time to make this interview happen.
The puck drops for the inaugural NWHL season on October 11th. Janine Weber and the Riveters will be on the road and playing the Connecticut Whale on the first day of the season at 1:30 PM.
Thanks for reading. Let's go Riveters!