PHF free agency opens with an Olympic gold medalist and eight-time World Champion making her official return to the ice
BOSTON, MA – (April 20, 2023) – The Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) in association with the Connecticut Whale Hockey Club has announced that defender Kacey Bellamy has signed a one-year contract to play for the Whale in the 2023-24 PHF season. Terms of her agreement include a salary of $122,000 plus a signing bonus of $7,000. The Olympic gold medalist and eight-time World Champion with the U.S. National Women’s Team is the league’s first official free agent signing of the offseason and will make the transition back to the ice after serving the last year as the PHF’s Scout and Player Relations Liaison.
“Roster building is underway for the 2023-24 PHF season and Kacey’s decision to return proudly reflects the league’s momentum heading into our ninth season,” said Reagan Carey, PHF Commissioner. “Kacey is a uniquely versatile asset to any team, program, and league, and we are genuinely grateful for her unwavering commitment to advancing the professional game and supporting the growth of the PHF both on and off the ice during this new era for the league. While we will miss her experience, presence, and dedication to our hockey operations staff, her return to the PHF is a win for fans, for our league, and certainly for the Connecticut Whale. I’m excited to see her love of the game restored in a way that brings her back to competition at the pro level!”
Bellamy’s commitment to return to the ice comes nearly two years after announcing her retirement from the U.S. National Women’s Team where she was an instrumental leader over a 15-year period. During that time, she helped the program achieve unprecedented success highlighted by Olympic gold as an alternate captain in 2018 along with silver medals at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Games. She made nine IIHF World Championship appearances where she won gold eight times including three-straight tournaments in 2008, 2009, and 2011, followed by five-straight in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019, along with a silver medal in 2012. Over the last year in her PHF hockey operations role, Bellamy harnessed in-depth knowledge of the player pool including collegiate and professional prospects while actively communicating with NCAA and U SPORTS coaches and serving as an additional resource for athletes aspiring for careers in the PHF. She also served as a coach for PHF Team USA at the 2023 All-Star Showcase.
“I am beyond excited to join the Connecticut Whale family,” said Bellamy. “The professionalism, diligence, and care they showed throughout the negotiation process made all the difference in my decision. I had the benefit of watching each PHF team in depth this year within my scouting role, and I believe Connecticut has all the pieces in place to win an Isobel Cup. I want to thank them for giving me the opportunity to come back to the game I love and have missed, and I am excited to meet the team and start building toward winning a championship together. Stepping away from the game brought me a new perspective, and I was able to see life in a different light. The thought of playing again has been on my mind for a while, but I wanted to get a feel for the league on a more personal, behind the scenes level. It has exceeded my expectations in all aspects, and I am tremendously proud to restart my hockey career in the PHF.”
The native of Westfield, MA has previous PHF experience as a member of the Boston Pride during the league’s first two seasons where she was a two-time All-Star, recording 23 points in 30 games, and won the Isobel Cup in 2016. Before joining the PHF, the former University of New Hampshire Wildcat graduated with four-straight Hockey East titles and All-American and conference MVP honors her senior year. Bellamy also has pro experience with five years in the CWHL for the Boston Blades where she won Clarkson Cup titles in 2013 and 2015. She later joined the Calgary Inferno and won a championship in 2019 followed by two seasons as a member of the PWHPA.
“Playing near family and close to home is a dream come true for me,” added Bellamy. “The opportunity to play in front of my nieces and nephews will give them a glimpse into the life of a professional athlete, and I hope it sparks a dream for them and others. My goal is to grow women’s hockey further, be a positive role model, and show little girls that they can live out their dreams for a long time. None of this would be possible without the support of my Global/Maples co-workers Joe Callahan and Trevor Smith. They are one of the best teams that I have ever been part of, and they helped me immensely with my transition into a new career. They have supported me with this decision since day one and I am grateful for their guidance throughout the process.”
Connecticut finished third in the PHF standings during the 2022-23 season with a 14-8-2 record, one year after winning a franchise-high 15 games and making their first appearance in the Isobel Cup Championship. The Whale now has six players under contract for the 2023-24 season with Bellamy joining forwards Taylor Girard, Kennedy Marchment, Melissa Samoskevich, and fellow defenders Tori Howran and Allie Munroe who are all entering the second season of their two-year deals.
“We are excited for Kacey to bring her talents, leadership, and passion for the game to The Pod,” said Colton Orr, Whale head coach. “She is a massive addition to our defensive core and will be a big part of continuing to build our team culture and our quest for an Isobel Cup! I know she can’t wait to get back out on the ice with her new teammates, and we can’t wait to see her in the green and blue.”
The PHF’s unrestricted free agency period officially commenced on April 11 with a record salary cap of $1.5 million per team.
About the Premier Hockey Federation
The PHF is the home of professional women’s hockey in North America. Established in 2015 as the National Women’s Hockey League, the NWHL rebranded to become the PHF in 2021 and provide opportunities for elite athletes to earn a living playing the game they love while fueling the continued growth of the sport. The league is made up of the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters, Minnesota Whitecaps, Montreal Force, and the Toronto Six who all compete annually for the Isobel Cup. As part of a two-year agreement with ESPN, live coverage of the 2022-23 and 2023-24 PHF seasons is available exclusively on ESPN+ in the United States, and provides international rights for games which includes TSN in Canada. For more information visit premierhockeyfederation.com.