In signing All-World goaltender Brianne McLaughlin, the Buffalo Beauts have continued the proud tradition of elite goaltenders in Buffalo professional hockey. From the likes of Tom Barrasso, Dominik Hasek and Ryan Miller, McLaughlin is destined to follow in their proud legacies.
Poised to become a fan favorite with the Beauts faithful, her signing with the Beauts resulted in making history twice. From the outset, she became the first player to sign a contract in franchise history. Perhaps more impressive is the fact that McLaughlin becomes the first Olympian from any nation to sign a contract with the NWHL.
The acquisition of McLaughlin helps give instant credibility to the Beauts franchise and a star player to help build a team around. As the all-time saves leader in NCAA history, McLaughlin served in a backup role to Jessie Vetter with the US national team that captured the silver medal at the Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014 Winter Games.
For Beauts General Manager Linda Mroz, she has possibly provided the Beauts with the league’s best goaltending. In addition to signing McLaughlin, she also drafted two-time NCAA Frozen Four champion Amanda Leveille of the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
On the topic of drafts, McLaughlin was actually selected by the Burlington Barracudas during the inaugural CWHL Draft in 2010. Her rights were obtained by the Brampton Thunder during the 2012 CWHL Dispersal Draft, but McLaughlin never played for either franchise.
In the autumn of 2012, McLaughlin returned to her alma mater, Robert Morris University in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, to serve as a volunteer coach. There is no question that whichever goaltender plays with McLaughlin on the Beauts, she will definitely benefit from her world-class skills, making her an informal coach on the ice.
Of note, McLaughlin has also experienced her own degree of celebrity status, only adding to her new role as franchise player for the Beauts. During New York Fashion Week in February 2015, she actually made her runway debut, representing online retailer HauteAthletics.com.
In addition, McLaughlin was among a group of Pittsburgh residents that were part of a May 2015 taping of popular television program “American Ninja Warrior”, which aired in June on NBC. Taped at the legendary Carrie Furnace steel mill at Swissvale, McLaughlin successfully completed the first two obstacles, but was unable to complete the new Snake Crossing challenge.
Getting the opportunity to compete in the inaugural season of NWHL hockey presents McLaughlin with only good challenges. Starting with the chance to show strong leadership with the Beauts, to the exciting challenge of helping build the NWHL brand and possibly becoming one of its ambassadors, the Beauts have landed a gem in McLaughlin.
Photo credit: Alyssa Dorman