As the New York Riveters continue to expand their fan base, capturing the hearts and minds of hockey fans while sporting one of the best logos in sport, one of its key leaders is blueliner Gabie Figueroa. Gifted with a tremendous on-ice vision and remarkable acceleration, her abilities to disrupt opposing forwards have made her an asset on the Riveters defensive unit.
Having played her NCAA hockey with the Ivy League’s Princeton Tigers, where she majored in civil engineering, Figueroa served as a co-captain in her senior season, while capturing the team’s Patty Kazmaier Award. Earning ECAC All-Academic Honors throughout every season of her Tigers career, her character and dedication have translated into serving as a valued leader for the Riveters inaugural season.
Currently working in Manhattan, where Figueroa is bringing her engineering expertise to the Kingsbride National Ice Center in the Bronx, she can definitely be considered a homegrown talent. Having played her junior hockey in nearby New Jersey with the Princeton Tiger Lilies and the New Jersey Colonials, she also played with the Lawrenceville School, where she was inducted into their Strength and Conditioning Hall of Fame. In addition, she gained a spot on the US Under-18 national team, competing at the IIHF U18 Women’s Worlds.
A point of pride for Figueroa is the chance to connect with the fans and raise awareness about the Riveters. Having visited Kingsbride Heights classrooms in Public School 086 with Riveters teammates including Bray Ketchumm, Jenny Scrivens, Janine Weber to speak to kids about hockey, it proved to be one of the highlights of her season, symbolizing her passionate dedication for hockey in New York, including access to more available ice.
On the ice, Figueroa and the Riveters competed against the New York Fire Department’s (FDNY) club team, partnering with the Friends of Firefighters, a non-profit dedicated to the wellness of current and former firefighters. As Figueroa graced the ice in this very unique exhibition match, the key objective was fun. The chance for Figueroa to participate in these empowering events is an extension of her love of the game,
“My teammates and I all know that the success of this league is dependent on our fans. We are all playing for 2 main reasons:
1. We love hockey, and 2. We want to grow the game so that girls growing up as passionate as we were about the sport have the opportunity to pursue their dreams.”
During the first half of the NWHL season, Figueroa has experienced several exciting moments. Among them was the chance to be the first defenseman to score a goal in Riveters history. Figueroa would accomplish the feat on home ice in an October 18 match against the Boston Pride. Said goal was unassisted, coming against Brittany Ott in the second period, adding a proud chapter to her local legend.
Off the ice, Figueroa was the recipient of an exciting announcement, discovering that her jersey was among one of the ten best-selling in the league. Testament to her growing popularity as a fan favorite, and the strong sentiment Riveters fans have for her as one of their own. Other Riveters in the top ten jersey sales include Janine Weber, Ashley Johnston, Jenny Scrivens and Nana Fujimoto.
“I was very excited and honored to have one of the top-selling jerseys in the league. My whole life I was playing hockey for myself, my teammates, and my coaches and family who have supported me along the way. It is a rewarding experience now playing for fans who are rooting for us in the stands.”
Frequently paired on the blueline with the likes of Ashley Johnston and former Clarkson Cup champion Kiira Dosdall, Figueroa is not the only player on the Riveters with nearby hometown roots. River Vale, New Jersey’s Brooke Ammerman, who also played on the US U18 national team, joins practice player Taylor Holze, who was raised in Lynnbrook, New York, adding a strong sense of local association with the fans.
That sense of association is also one that has unified a Riveters roster that features players from five countries (US, Austria, Canada, Japan, Russia) and ten different states. It has resulted in one of the most exciting qualities about playing for the Riveters. The feelings of friendship and family that exist are resulting in an exceptional team culture. With Figueroa’s team-first approach and winning smile, she is destined to be a cornerstone for the team, proudly contributing to its encouraging spirit and growing camaraderie. Figueroa explains how it is an element that has made playing with the Riveters highly enjoyable.
“Absolutely! Our camaraderie and mindsets are a big reason why we will be successful. Also, there is healthy competition between us. We compete hard against each other on the ice in practice and we’re equally excited for each others’ successes.”
"All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credits: Troy Parla