18 Jun 19
In an offseason of uncertainty, the Pride seem to be getting on just fine.
Two-year captain and National Women’s Hockey League career scoring leader Jillian Dempsey re-signed with the Pride for the 2019-20 season on Tuesday, becoming the ninth player to return.
According to a source, there are several more signings “on the verge” of happening and the roster is close to full internally.
More than 200 players, including Dempsey, had announced their intention to not sign with any North American league for the fall after the Canadian Women’s Hockey League ceased operations and a group of players, headed by elite national team talent internationally, formed the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association.
Dempsey isn’t even the first Pride player to switch over to sign back with the league, after defender Mallory Souliotis re-signed last week.
“I love being part of the NWHL’s growth,” said Dempsey. “The league has given me an opportunity to continue playing the game I love professionally and to coach young girls who have the same dreams and passion for the sport. Seeing young fans wearing Boston jerseys and cheering on the other side of the glass is one of my favorite parts of every game. It has been incredible to watch the Boston Pride fan base expand each season, especially with the Bruins partnership. The NWHL has played a
significant role in the growth of women’s professional hockey, and I am excited to continue my career on the Boston Pride this coming season.”
Dempsey tied the NWHL’s all-time scoring record last season, knotted up with Riveters forward Madison Packer, and they head into next season in a deadlock. Dempsey also is second on the league’s all-time points list with 58 behind Brianna Decker, a former Pride player who played with Calgary in the CWHL last season.
The Winthrop native and Harvard alum helped the Pride win the Isobel Cup in 2016, was an all-star a season ago, and is a two-time recipient of the Denna Laing Award for perseverance and dedication.
The value of Dempsey’s deal was not disclosed. Players have an option to publicize their salaries this season after they were under wraps for the past two.
Out of all the teams, the Pride’s roster has come together the quickest during the tumultuous offseason. Defender Kaleigh Fratkin was the first to sign a deal worth $11,000, followed by returners such as Soulioutis, Lexi Bender, and Mary Parker.
The Pride has also brought in rookies Jenna Rheaut, Lexie Laing, Christina Putigna and Tori Sullivan. They only have four forwards signed so far heading into the season.
As a Massachusetts native, Dempsey has plenty of connections with hockey regionally and has become one of the faces of the organization. She’s been a part of two teams that narrowly missed the Isobel Cup the past two seasons, and has her sights set on returning to a championship level.
“Each major sports team has won at least one championship in my lifetime, which has been an incredibly special experience for me as a sports fan,” said Dempsey. “Watching the Bruins’ Stanley Cup playoff run this year definitely made me even more excited and eager for the season and for another chance to compete for the Isobel Cup.”