Two of the New York Riveters’ most popular skaters from last season will be returning to the team. As expected Gabie Figueroa and Taylor Holze have signed on to join the Riveters’ practice squad.
From the league’s press release:
The New York Riveters have signed their practice players for the 2016-17 season, General Manager Chad Wiseman announced Friday. Gabie Figueroa (D), Taylor Holze (F), Rebecca Morse (D), Julia Herr (F), and Sarah Bryant (G) have agreed to practice player contracts.
To fill the remaining practice player slot, the New York Riveters will be holding an open tryout at practice.
Practice players in the NWHL are employed to complete practice rosters. They also serve as reserves to replace injured or unavailable players from the main roster in regular season and postseason games. The terms of their contracts are not made public like main roster players.
The Riveters frequently turned to their practice squad due to the injuries that plagued the team in their inaugural season. Amber Moore and Taylor Holze (until her abdominal injury) were more-or-less regulars in the lineup because of Erin Barley-Maloney’s undisclosed injury.
Holze’s injury last season prompted the league to change its rules about bench doors, but there is a lot more to Holze than her injury history. Undersized and unheralded, Holze earned the respect of her teammates and coach last season with her elite skating ability and outstanding play away from the puck.
The former Terrier and New York-native doesn’t bring much offense to the table, but her penalty killing and hockey intelligence are outstanding. Holze will likely be the first player that Chad Wiseman turns to when the Riveters need a forward.
Figueroa was a member of the Riveters’ beleaguered blue line last season. She scored the first goal on home ice in the franchise’s history and was one of the team’s iron women- playing in all of the Riveters’ regular season games and two Isobel Cup Playoff games.
Figueroa, who played her college hockey at Princeton, was a popular player with both the fans and media last season. Figueroa was a contract player with the Riveters last season, making $10,000. She will provide the already deep Riveters’ blue line with even more depth.
Holze and Figueroa are joined by Rebecca Morse and goaltender Sarah Bryant from Providence College.
Bryant appeared in just 16 games in her last two seasons with the Friars and finished with a record 21-42-6. Her college stats leave a lot to be desired. It will be interesting to see what some time with goaltending coach Rebecca Ruegsegger-Baker will do for her game.
Morse is a native of Westfield, New Jersey. She was a teammate of former Riveters forward Beth Hanrahan and current Riveters forward Janine Weber when she last played college hockey in the 2013-14 season. She had 9 points in 34 games that year with the Friars.
The Riveters’ fifth practice player is Julia “Cheeky” Herr. She played her college hockey in Division III with the Trinity Bantams. Herr scored 91 points in 101 games as a forward and is a native of Princeton, New Jersey. She was tied with teammate Emma Tani for the team lead in points on the Bantams in her senior year.
The Riveters currently have just five of their allotted six practice players signed. But that appears to be unrelated to the Katie Fitzgerald/Sojung Shin contract and visa situation. The Riveters will host open tryouts at their practices for their final practice squad player.