As the inaugural NWHL season rolls on, it may best be dubbed as “The Season of Steadman.” One of the most underrated stars in women’s hockey; her legendary displays this season have resulted in a long overdue appreciation. Her heroics from the first-ever All-Star Game, culminating in Game MVP honors, add to the admiration.
Originally slated as a practice player with the Beauts, Steadman has become part of franchise lore, shining on every stage. Having scored the first goal in the history of the Beauts, she has emerged as one of the NWHL’s leading scorers, gaining the opportunity to join her contemporaries in the inaugural NWHL All-Star Game.
With the landmark All-Star Game contested at Harbor Center, the Beauts home rink, it would serve as the backdrop for another of her legendary displays. Selected sixth overall in the NWHL All-Star Fantasy Draft by Beauts’ teammate (and All-Star captain) Emily Pfalzer, it would prove to be the most influential acquisition.
Scoring the first goal in All-Star Game history (Team Knight goaltender Jaimie Leonoff would give up the historic marker), it would set the tone for the remainder of the contest. With the momentum in Team Pfalzer’s favor, not only would Steadman score again, logging the first multi-goal game in All-Star history. The chance to score twice in front of the hometown crowd only added to Steadman’s elation, although she reflected on it with great maturity, appreciating the fact that the greater achievement consisted of a day where the game was celebrated and fans were honored for their support,
“The All-Star Game in general was so much fun to be a part of and I couldn’t have been more happy with how our team played and the attitude we had throughout the day. Obviously scoring a couple goals was great and it helped the fans get into the game and enjoy it more, but that day was all about just having fun.
If I hadn’t scored and hadn’t been named MVP, it still would have been an awesome day because we saw how much the fans enjoyed it. Buffalo has been so great to us all year long and I was really happy that we could bring that excitement to them and have our hometown fans cheering us on.”
Another Beauts teammate would also make her mark with Team Pfalzer. Devon Skeats, the only alum from Canadian Interuniversity Sport to skate in the contest became the first Canadian to score an All-Star goal as Team Pfalzer would score five goals in a convincing victory against a strong Team Knight.
Steadman would share in the sense of history with another Beauts teammate. Although she skated for Team Knight, Shelby Bram shared a unique honor with Steadman. Of note, the two became the first alums from the Mercyhurst Lakers to skate in the All-Star Game. Considering that Steadman was once named the College Hockey America Player of the Year, having been bestowed the honor of NWHL All-Star Game MVP adds to a remarkable haul of hockey hardware,
“It was a huge honor to be selected to play in the All-Star game, let alone be named MVP. This definitely ranks at the top of the list when it comes to accomplishments that I cherish and will remember forever. As I’ve said before though, the All Star Game is all about having fun and being with your teammates and friends, so regardless of the MVP selection, it was an amazing day and I’m grateful to have been a part of it.”
Taking into account that Steadman also balances her playing duties with an executive role for the Robert Morris Colonials women’s program, there was more school pride on this day. With Team Knight goaltender (and Beauts star) Brianne McLaughlin having rewritten the Colonials record books, it added another special connection to Steadman’s memorable All-Star performance. As a side note, Steadman’s second All-Star goal would come against McLaughlin.
While her contemporaries may be more celebrated, Steadman’s ethereal serenity and graciousness make her the type of teammate anyone would want on their roster. Delivering on all accounts this season, the superlative performance at the All-Star Game was a chance for Steadman to give back to the game, appreciative at the opportunity to extend her playing career while providing fans with some remarkable memories, memories that are also treasured by this outstanding competitor,
“I think what I will remember most is just having a permanent smile on my face the entire day. In every picture I have seen from the skills competition and the game, I’m smiling from ear to ear and just having a blast with my teammates. From the costumes, the jokes, the pranks, and the little girls in the stands wearing our jerseys and holding up signs for us, the day couldn’t have been any more fun.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credit: Beauts action shot by Michael Majewski
All-Star celebration obtained from Twitter: https://twitter.com/ksteadman9