The New York Riveters will now have two women in their coaching staff next season. Rebecca Ruegsegger Baker has been signed to serve as the team’s “head goaltending coach”.
From the NWHL’s press release:
“Rebecca's past playing experience and recent coaching experience at St. Cloud, along with a great attitude and true passion for the game makes her a perfect fit for the Riveters organization,” said Wiseman.
Ruegsegger Baker was a member of the USA Hockey U-18 gold medal team at the IIHF World Championship in Calgary in 2008. She then played for the University of Wisconsin, winning an NCAA National Championship in 2011. For the last two years, Ruegsegger Baker has worked with the St. Cloud women’s hockey team, and is a consultant for the South Korean National Hockey Team.
"I am excited and honored to work with the Riveters to give these women opportunities to play after college and continue to develop as goaltenders and people,” said Ruegsegger Baker.
What this means for last season’s goaltending coach Jonathan De Castro remains to be seen. But all signs point to Ruegsegger Baker being the team’s only goaltending coach.
De Castro was a key part of the success of the Riveters’ goaltenders last season which proved to be crucial. Losing both Shenae Lundberg and Nana Fujimoto to injury meant that no team’s goaltending depth was tested like New York’s was.
In an interview with Blueshirt Banter Lundberg (before she was traded) spoke highly of working with De Castro, “Coach Jon is a great coach with an impeccable eye for detail. He is always available to do extra work, which I have been lucky enough to take advantage of."
De Castro was able to bring out the best in the women wearing the masks for the Riveters. It’s no surprise that Wiseman will be keeping a goaltending coach on staff after how valuable it proved to be last season.
Ruegsegger Baker works with her husband at Premier Goaltender Development and at OS Training which specifically focuses on the development of female athletes. Last season Ruegsegger Baker was the volunteer goaltending coach for the St. Cloud Huskies and is consulting with the South Korean National Team.
Even as a freshman goaltender at Wisconsin Becca Ruegsegger (as she was known then) was known for her attention to detail.
“She’s a pretty humble player and person. I think the reason why Becca does pretty well on average is because she prepares herself for the games. She studies her game; she studies video; she takes notes; she asks questions, and she’s receptive to feedback.” - Tracey DeKeyser, U. Wisconsin Asst. Coach
The Riveters’ new goaltending coach was a college teammate of Brooke Ammerman and Madison Packer at Wisconsin. Ruegsegger Baker played in two seasons for the Badgers and put up solid numbers before injuries shortened her playing career. She’s turning 26 in September.
She may be young, but Ruegsegger Baker has valuable experience both as a goaltending coach and working with female athletes.
Thus far the Riveters have only goaltender Jaimie Leonoff signed for next season. Before July 31st the team’s second goaltender will be signed. There will also be a third goaltender for Ruegsegger Baker to work with from the team’s six player practice squad.
The Riveters coaching staff is now complete with Wiseman, Sis Paulsen, and Ruegsegger Baker signed on for next season. With just two contracts left so sign and a practice squad to the fill the puzzle is finally nearing completion.