The National Women’s Hockey League was founded in 2015 and has been gaining popularity ever since. It is the first pro women’s hockey in North America. In the five teams that make up this young league are an elite group of Black female players who have proven themselves as worthy competitors to further enhance the league.
In October 2015, defender Blake Bolden became the first Black athlete to play for the National Women’s Hockey League. Along with playing for the Buffalo Beauts in the NWHL, she has played for HC Lugano in Switzerland. During the 2018-19 season with the Beauts, Bolden averages 0.81 points per game and 11 blocked shots. This helped Buffalo to a 11-4 overall record, putting them in second place in the league.
Defender Kaliya Johnson is in her third season in the NWHL and her second with the Boston Pride. She has made 26 blocked shots and five points in her career. Johnson was a member of Team USA in the 2012 IIHF U18 World Championships, earing a silver medal. In 2009 she was deemed the fastest skater in the USA Hockey National Skills Competition
Defender Kelsey Koelzer currently plays for the Metropolitan Riveters and has made six blocked shots this season. During her senior season at Princeton, she was second in the United States in points per game at the defender position. Koelzer was named Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Best Defender of the Year and was a member of the All American First Team. She also participated in the USA Hockey Women’s Festival as a member of the U-22 team.
Forward Nina Rodgers was drafted to the Connecticut Whale in 2017. This season, she played in 15 games, scoring four points, two blocks, and a 9.5 shooting percentage. She had a competitive college career, helping the University of Minnesota win back-to-back NCAA championships in 2015 and 2016. She was also a member of the US National U18 team in 2013 and 2014