Quickly emerging as a fan favorite with the New York Riveters, Brooke Ammerman has already played a pivotal role in franchise history. Suiting up for the Riveters debut match, which was also the first in NWHL history, the native of River Vale, New Jersey scored the team’s first-ever goal.
Scored at the 4:15 mark of the second period against Connecticut Whale goaltender Jaimie Leonoff, it also represented the third-ever goal scored in NWHL play. The first was scored by Whale forward Jessica Koizumi, while Kelli Stack logged the second.
Adding to the sense of history for the Riveters was the fact that Lyudmila Belyakova earned the assist, becoming the first European-born player to log a point in NWHL play. The international flavor in the Riveters inaugural game also included the fact that goaltender Nana Fujimoto was the first Japanese-born player to compete in the incipient league.
Although the demands of the game resulted in focus on the task at hand, Ammerman has since been able to absorb the historic meaning of her goal. While the league and its impact are still fresh in the minds of fans and players alike, there is no question that what Ammerman has already accomplished is monumental in league and franchise lore.
“I think at first, it was just the pure emotion of scoring at a pivotal time in the game. Yet, as time has passed and I have had time to reflect, it is pretty special to be a part of the NWHL and Riveters history. It is something I hope in 10 or 20 years, I can look back and say I was a part of this awesome milestone in women’s sports.”
For Riveters fans, the presence of a hockey star such as Ammerman from nearby New Jersey only adds to the excitement of professional women’s hockey in New York. Adopting Ammerman as one of their own, she definitely brings a solid hockey resume to the NWHL. Of note, she was part of the USA Hockey player pool from 2007-13, capturing a gold medal in the inaugural IIHF U18 Women’s World Championships.
Another impressive fact about Ammerman is that she is also a member of the NCAA’s 200-point club. Ranking fourth all-time in scoring for the Wisconsin Badgers women’s hockey program, she is poised to be the heartbeat of the Riveters offensive attack.
Among her accomplishments at Wisconsin, Ammerman was the recipient of the 2009-10 WCHA Player of the Year Award, complemented by a pair of nods on the NCAA Frozen Four All-Tournament Team. In addition, she won two NCAA Frozen Four titles, including one with her sister Brittney in 2011. As a side note, Brittney Ammerman was a Hockey Humanitarian Award nominee for her volunteer work in Kenya.
The Badgers legacy is poised to continue at the NWHL level as each club in the Founders Division has at least one alumnus on their roster. From Ammerman with the Riveters to Meghan Duggan on the Buffalo Beauts, Hilary Knight and Brianna Decker starring with the Boston Pride, while Molly Engstrom has made her pro hockey comeback with the Connecticut Whale, Badger pride runs strong.
Donning the number 20 with the Riveters that she made famous at Wisconsin, Ammerman is proud at the way fellow Badgers are extending their careers into the NWHL. While each player is eager to make history by contributing to their team capturing the first-ever Isobel Cup, the lasting friendships that exist because of their time with the Badgers are just as special, transcending time.
“It is really fun. We had a special experience together at Wisconsin and had a lot of success. It is really great that we are spread out throughout the league and get the chance to see each other and compete against one another. I hope as the league grows more and more badgers and other Division 1 alums will have this awesome experience.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Image obtained from Twitter (@bammerman20)