In case there was any question, it is verifiably hockey season once again. In mere days, the Buffalo Beauts will open the season on the road against a Connecticut Whale squad that they’ve already bested 7-2 in the preseason.
All of the hours spent celebrating the impressive moves made by management on the various patios of the greater Buffalo region have led us to the brink of the 2018-19 NWHL season, where the Beauts will attempt to become the second team in Buffalo history to reach the championship game for four consecutive seasons, with the distinction of already having brought the Cup to the shores of Lake Erie.
A few loose ends remain before the season begins. The team has shown us new lineups and new sweaters; new locales and new opponents. According to GM Nik Fattey, there is one more player to be signed before the drop of the puck – this is a huge question. One other, though, is who will wear the ‘C’ for the squad when the Beauts take the ice for the first time.
For the team’s first two seasons, Western New York native Emily Pfalzer was the face of the organization. Her standing on the US National Team, her position as a scoring record-holder at Boston College, and her World Championship medals all made Pfalzer an ideal candidate for the position.
Returning for her third NWHL season, Pfalzer is again the logical choice for captain. She brings her Olympic Gold Medal with her this time, and an obvious veteran leadership that is hard to come by on a roster that experiences a high turnover rate on a routine basis.
In Pfalzer’s absence, Corinne Buie served as team captain last season, and did a fine job leading the squad from a tie for last in the league to 11 consecutive wins and an Isobel Cup appearance.
“We’re just going to keep trying to be the hardest working team in the league. That’s going to be one of our core values this year,” Buie told the press after a recent training camp workout.
This work ethic is something that Buie embodies completely, which makes her a solid candidate to repeat as captain again for the 2018-19 campaign. Her experience, championship pedigree, and lead-by-example approach is exactly the style that Buffalo fans can get behind.
The list of accomplishments that the team’s veterans bring to the locker room is legendary, for certain. One has to wonder if coaches Ric Seiling and Craig Muni may look to the team’s youth to step up into a leadership role this season.
While Pfalzer and Buie have exemplified leadership in their turns as captain, last year’s Rookie of the Year Hayley Scamurra has proven to be a leader on the ice, tying Maddie Elia for most points last season. She was selected to represent Buffalo in an exhibition match against the USWNT last season, and was the only player to score against the future gold medalists.
Scamurra is another homegrown talent, whose family has had a huge impact on the sport of hockey in Buffalo. She is leading the ‘next generation’ of players as the inaugural members of the team continue to fall off of the roster. Hayley is good with the press and appears to be a leader for the Beauts in practices. It would not be a surprise to see Scamurra be named captain, and if not, she definitely deserves to wear an ‘A.’
The Beauts’ first game of the 2018-19 NWHL season will take place on October 6 at 1:30 pm. Be sure to tune into the stream, with links that can be found at NWHL.zone or on Twitter.