As the NWHL free agency signing period heads into high gear, the Buffalo Beauts addressed their goaltending with one of the finest free agent acquisitions so far. Two-time Winter Games silver medalist Brianne McLaughlin has committed to the club, providing them with a recognizable name and star attraction.
The first player to sign a contract in Buffalo Beauts history, such an acquisition complements the Beauts’ selection of two-time Frozen Four champion goaltender Amanda Leveille in the inaugural CWHL Draft. Should Leveille sign with the club after her senior season of NCAA hockey, the two have the potential to possibly anchor the Beauts’ goaltending for the remainder of the decade.
As a side note, the Beauts free agent camp had several accomplished goaltenders, including former Clarkson Golden Knights backstops Lauren Dahm and Frozen Four champion Erica Howe. Both have also played on their respective countries national teams at the Under-22 level. Neither has been officially signed by the Beauts, but in all likelihood, McLaughlin shall be made the de facto starter.
Having spent several seasons as a volunteer coach with the Robert Morris Colonials women’s ice hockey program, where set several goaltending records as a player, McLaughlin’s most significant activity in hockey this decade has involved her stints with the US national team. Serving as a backup goaltender to Jessie Vetter at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Games, she was part of two silver medal results, along with a pair of golds at the 2011 and 2013 IIHF Women’s Worlds.
Of note, this is not McLaughlin’s first brush with pro hockey. Selected by the Burlington Barracudas in the 2011 CWHL Draft, she opted not to play for the club. It was a move that would certainly have ramifications for the Barracudas, as the club won only one game during the 2011-12 season. After the Barracudas folded, she was claimed by the Brampton Thunder in the 2012 CWHL Dispersal Draft. Once again, she opted not to grace CWHL ice, and the result was that the Thunder acquired Florence Schelling, who led the club to a playoff berth.