NEW YORK, New York – Former Quinnipiac women's ice hockey co-captain Morgan Fritz-Ward (Mason City, Iowa) has signed a professional contract with the New York Riveters for the inaugural season of the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL).
"This is an unbelievable opportunity I cannot wait to start," Fritz-Ward said. "I have dreamed of this all my life and can't thank everyone who has helped me along the way, including my grandparents, parents, Quinnipiac University, and anyone else I have no mentioned."
Fritz-Ward joined former Colgate defenseman Kiira Dosdall in becoming the latest free agent acquisitions of the Riveters with their one-year contracts. In June, the Riveters signed Celeste Brown and Janine Weber to one-year contracts, as well.
Fritz-Ward is the first Bobcat to sign with the New York Riveters and third Bobcat overall to sign a professional contract with the NWHL. Last week, Fritz-Ward's high school and college teammate Chelsea Laden (Lakeville, Minnesota) and Shiann Darkangelo each signed contracts with the Connecticut Whale. Fritz-Ward becomes the ninth former Quinnipiac women's ice hockey player to sign a professional contract. Prior to her, Laden and Darkangelo signing this offseason, Kate Wheeler '12, Chelsea Illchuck '12, Brittany Lyons '13, Felicia Vieweg '13, Regan Boulton, '13 and Victoria Vigilanti '13 had all signed professional contracts in the European Women's Hockey League after their graduations.
This season, Fritz-Ward captained the Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. The Bobcats also finished with a program record 26 wins, 15 conference wins and a third place finish in the ECAC Hockey women's regular season standings.
Fritz-Ward posted a career year for the Bobcats on her way to being named the Team MVP at its annual awards banquet with four goals and a career-high 15 assists for 19 points. Her 15 assists were tied for second on the team and she also posted her best plus/minus rating of her career at +17. Through her four-year career, Fritz-Ward scored 16 goals and recorded 26 assists with 42 points.
Fritz-Ward also possessed an excellent shot-blocking ability as she blocked 30 shots, which was good for fifth on the team and first among Quinnipiac forwards. Her 30 blocked shots were also 13th among ECAC Hockey forwards. In the past two seasons, Fritz-Ward has blocked an impressive 61 shots.
The NWHL is comprised of four teams: the Connecticut Whale, Boston Pride, New York Riveters and Buffalo Beauts. The New York Riveters will play all their home games at Aviator Sports and Events in Brooklyn, New York. Each team will play a schedule of 18 games, nine home and nine on the road. Games will be played once per week from October until the playoffs begin in March.