It appears that Sojung Shin might not be joining the New York Riveters for the 2016-17 season due to work visa issues. Katie Fitzgerald, who played her college hockey at St. Cloud State, will likely be taking her place on the roster.
The terms of Fitzgerald’s contract have not yet been released. Shin was the Riveters highest-paid goaltender with her $13,500 contract.
There is a great deal of confusion about the situation and what Shin’s future with the team will be. There could be a chance that the South Korean goaltender joins the team after missing some time early in the season like Sydney Kidd did last year. But that remains unclear.
Fitzgerald told the St. Cloud Times that she would be the team’s “third goaltender”. Perhaps Shin will join the team after her visa issues are resolved and then Fitzgerald will serve as the club’s third goaltender on the practice squad. But as things currently stand it appears that Fitzgerald is the Riveters new back-up goaltender behind Jaimie Leonoff.
Fitzgerald, like Shin, has experience working with the Riveters new goaltending coach Rebecca Ruegsegger-Baker. Ruegsegger-Baker was the volunteer goaltending coach at St. Cloud State during Fitzgerald’s college career which is likely why general manager and head coach Chad Wiseman reached out to the Illinois-born netminder.
Fitzgerald is a big goaltender, standing at 5’10”. She put up respectable numbers while playing for a losing program and regularly faced a high volume of shots. Fitzgerald finished her career with a .908 save percentage and a 3.08 goals against average.
Before signing with the Riveters she was playing in a men’s beer league after failing to find a place for herself in a professional league in Europe. She considered herself retired but jumped at the opportunity to join the New York Riveters and continue her hockey career.
Below is a video of the Riveters newest goaltender talking about joining the team. She is the first St. Cloud Husky to sign in the NWHL.
As of the writing of this article the NWHL has yet to put out a press release clarifying the situation.