BY: Savanna Arral, NWHL

Stamford, CTKaliya Johnson has signed a contract with the Connecticut Whale for the 2016-17 season, General Manager Lisa Giovanelli announced Monday. Johnson and the Whale agreed to terms on a one-year, $13,000 contract.

“The Whale is very happy to add Kaliya Johnson to our roster for next season,” said Giovanelli. “She is a great skater and a strong, solid defenseman that adds depth to our blue line. Coming off a tremendous senior season with Boston College, in which they finished the season with a record of 40-1, Kaliya knows what it takes to win games and consistently compete at a high level. She will contribute greatly in our quest for the Isobel Cup.”
Johnson (Boston College) played 142 games with the Eagles in her NCAA career, scoring 43 points (7g, 36a) from the blue line. She was a member of the USA Hockey team that won silver at the IIHF U-18 World Championship in 2012.

“It’s an incredible honor to have the chance to continue my hockey career in the NWHL,” said Johnson. “I am beyond excited to join the Whale family! This league is very competitive, and I am very excited for what next year has in store.”

Buffalo, NYLisa Chesson has signed a contract with the Buffalo Beauts for the 2016-17 season, General Manager Ric Seiling announced Monday. Chesson and the Beauts agreed to terms on a one-year, $15,000 contract.

“Lisa brings the tools we need on defense,” said Seiling. “Along with being a left shot, she has been a member of the US National Olympic Team and has the experience of playing with and against world-class players. We are excited that she has decided to become part of the Beauts blue line core.”

Chesson (Ohio State) finished her collegiate career in 2008 with 89 points (27g, 62a) in 145 games. With USA Hockey, the defenseman has played in five Four Nations Cup tournaments, three IIHF Women’s World Championships, and won a silver medal at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, BC. Chesson scored 6 points (3g, 3a) in 5 games in that tournament.

“I am beyond excited to join the Beauts and the NWHL this season,” said Chesson. “This is a huge opportunity, not only because I can continue playing the game I love, but to inspire young girls in hopes they have dreams of playing in the NWHL someday, too!”

Boston, MALexi Bender has signed a contract with the Boston Pride for the 2016-17 season; General Manager Hayley Moore announced Monday. Bender and the Pride agreed to terms on a one-year, $10,000 contract.

“Lexi had an excellent career at BC, and is a proven winner,” said Moore. “Her speed, strength, and size will be a great addition to our defensive core.”

Bender (Boston College) scored 95 points (19g, 76a) in 154 games with the Eagles. The defenseman skated in two games in the USA Hockey U-22 Series in 2014, where she scored one goal. The Pride drafted Bender in the third round of the 2015 NWHL Draft, 11th overall.

“It is such an incredible opportunity to play professional hockey, especially with the reigning Isobel Cup champions, as well as to have the chance to continue growing the girls’ game,” said Bender. “The Pride drafted me, and I am very much looking forward to being in Boston, and surrounded by such great players on a day-to-day basis.”

The restricted free agency period began April 1 and lasted until April 30. Free agency began May 1 and lasts until July 31. The 2016 NWHL Draft is June 18.

About the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL)
The NWHL is the first professional women’s hockey league in North America to pay its players. The inaugural season began October 11, 2015, with the Founding Four: Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale and New York Riveters. The Boston Pride became the first team in NWHL history to raise the Isobel Cup on March 12, 2016.

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