From Providence to the Clarkson Cup: Buie and Weber become Blades heroes

Despite coming from two different hockey backgrounds, Minnesota-raised Corinne Buie and Austrian national team member Janine Weber established a strong on-ice chemistry that culminated in the Boston Blades capturing the 2015 Clarkson Cup, their second in franchise history. In a tightly contested championship game against archrival Montreal, Buie and Tara Watchorn (the 2015 CWHL Defenseman of the Year Award winner) would earn the assists on Weber’s Cup-clinching goal, breaking the 2-2 overtime deadlock.

The uniqueness of Buie and Weber’s hockey odyssey is that the two were also teammates the season prior (2013-14) at historic Providence College, competing for the Lady Friars. Making the jump together from the NCAA to the CWHL Draft, where both were selected by the Blades, they would join fellow Providence alumnae Ashley Cottrell and Genevieve Lacasse, the Blades’ starting goaltender. As a side note, Cottrell would score against Providence in a January 3, 2015 exhibition game that saw the Blades prevail by a 3-1 score.

Buie and Weber would both make their CWHL debuts on November 15, 2014, defeating the Toronto Furies by a convincing 6-2 final. Both would also log points in their CWHL debuts. Buie would log an assist on Weber’s first CWHL goal, scored in the second period against Christina Kessler. Finishing the campaign with nine points, the black and gold posted an 8-1-0 mark when Buie logged a point, while the club enjoyed an undefeated mark of 6-0-0 when Weber registered at least one point.

While Buie competed at the high school level in Minnesota, earning All-State selections while at Edina High, where she would finish her career as a finalist for the 2010 Minnesota Ms. Hockey Award, Weber’s experience stemmed from time with the EWHL’s Vienna Sabres. With the Sabres, she won two league championships, and suited up for the Austrian national team at both the Under-18 and Senior levels, respectively.

In the autumn of 2013, their paths would cross for the first time. While Buie was entering her senior season for Providence, Weber would suit up for the Lady Friars as a graduate student. A former Hockey East All-Rookie selection, Buie would become the 33rd Friar to reach the 100-point career plateau. Bringing her strong hockey background to the same school that produced the likes of Hockey Hall of Famer Cammi Granato, Weber would make her first mark in New England women’s hockey very quickly.

Competing in the 19th annual Mayor’s Cup, a match-up featuring the two NCAA programs in Providence, Rhode Island (the Lady Friars and the Brown Bears, where Digit Murphy holds the record for most women’s hockey games won by a coach), it would provide Weber with her first opportunity to become a New England hockey hero. Scoring the game-winning goal in overtime to provide the Lady Friars with their seventh Mayor’s Cup in program history, it was the highlight of Weber’s only NCAA season.

One season later, Weber would add to her legend with another Cup-winning goal. Playing together on an all-rookie line with Buie and Jordan Smelker, their presence was testament to a strong 2014 draft class for the franchise. While the early rounds featured the likes of Jenny Potter, Monique Lamoureux and Brianna Decker selected by the Blades, Weber (41st overall), Smelker (43rd overall) and Buie (55th overall) would emerge as a trio of unearthed gems.

These gems earned the chance to shine brightly in the Clarkson Cup final. Of note, Weber’s goal would make history in multiple ways for the black and gold. From the outset, Weber became the first European player to log a Cup-winning goal. In addition, she became only the second European player ever to hoist the coveted Cup. Ironically, the first was also a member of the Boston Blades. Czech Republic national team member Katka Mrazova contributed to the Blades first Cup win in 2013.

Said goal also resulted in the Blades becoming the first American-based franchise to win two Clarkson Cup titles, while head coach Digit Murphy became the first female head coach to win achieve two Cup wins. Murphy’s role as an advocate for sporting equality and her support for pay equity in the game certainly rang home for Weber.

The occasionally harsh economic realities of the women’s game created a conundrum for Weber. Considering that the Hockey Hall of Fame wanted Weber’s stick on display, the soon-to-be artifact was one of only two sticks in Weber’s possession (and the other was broken). Although Weber acquiesced to the Hall’s request, online support resulted in manufacturer STX Hockey (who also sponsors Blades superstar Hilary Knight) graciously supplying Weber with a new stick to replace the donated one. With the stick earning a place in the Hall, Weber now shares a unique place with fellow Providence alumnae Granato, the first American woman inducted into the Hall.

From a Mayor’s Cup triumph to the privilege of having their names engraved on the Clarkson Cup, Buie and Weber have carved admirable hockey legacies. Coming from different areas, their unlikely path towards establishing themselves as New England hockey heroes now becomes part of another special chapter in women’s hockey, one which helps to establish the early mythology of the coveted Clarkson Cup.

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