As the Buffalo Beauts celebrated their first game as part of an energizing October 11 opening day, the player who would contribute to their nascent history by scoring their first goal ever has quietly built a solid hockey legacy. Forward Kelley Steadman is among a rare group of players that have played for the US national women’s team at the U18, U22 and Senior Team levels. As a side note, she would win the inaugural gold medal at the IIHF U18 Women’s Worlds in 2008.
Raised in Plattsburgh, New York, Steadman was originally designated as a practice player with the Beauts. Other practice players on the Beauts include the likes of Courtney Carnes, Annemarie Cellino and Maggie Giamo. For Steadman to get the chance to play in the Beauts’ inaugural game was more than just a pleasant surprise, it was an outcome that only seemed possible in a Hollywood movie.
Scoring at the 7:58 mark of the third period, Steadman not only placed her name in Buffalo Beauts history, she would spoil Boston Pride goaltender’s Brittany Ott’s shutout attempt, which would have been the first-ever in NWHL play. Adding to the joy of such a monumental milestone was the fact that her goal was assisted by former Boston Blades teammate Meghan Duggan, who won the Clarkson Cup together in 2013. Duggan and Steadman were also teammates with the gold medal winning Team USA at the 2013 IIHF Womens’ World Championships.
“It was an amazing feeling to score the first goal in Beauts history. Our team battled hard the entire game and our goalie, Brianne McLaughlin, kept us in the game and made some great saves. We knew that we needed to get a goal for our fans and our team did a great job of keeping the pressure on Boston and getting pucks to the net.
My linemate, Meghan Duggan, made a great pass over to me and I knew I had to put it in the net. The best part of the game was not scoring the first goal, but seeing so many people and young girls in the stands so excited to watch women’s hockey and be a part of the experience.”
As Steadman’s lienmate, Duggan would also assist on her second career goal with the Beauts, scored on October 18 during the Beauts breast cancer fundraiser against the Connecticut Whale. Steadman’s second goal also carried another element of history. Earning the second assist was Shelby Bram, who was one of Steadman’s teammates with Mercyhurst. With the assist, Bram became the first Canadian-born player to register a point with the Beauts.
For fans in Buffalo and Western New York, Steadman is a name that they should be familiar with. Of note, Steadman competed for the national powerhouse Mercyhurst Lakers in Erie, Pennsylvania, less than 100 miles away from Buffalo.
With the Lakers, Steadman was the 2012 College Hockey America Conference Player of the Year. Perhaps more impressive was the fact that Steadman also led the NCAA in goals per game average that year. Throughout her NCAA career, she had always established herself as a sniper, a role that definitely suits her in the NWHL.
Taking into account the world class talent that played at Mercyhurst, headlined by players such as Meghan Agosta, Bailey Bram and Jesse Scanzano, Steadman also becomes the first Lakers alum to score a goal in the NWHL. This complements another historic first for Steadman, as she was the first-ever member of the Lakers to suit up for Team USA. Although the Lakers represent a former chapter in Steadman’s career, she is still involved in CHA hockey.
In addition to her role with the Beauts, Steadman is with the Robert Morris Colonials women’s ice hockey program as the Director of Hockey Operations. Last season, Steadman was a member of the Colonials coaching staff, a role that Beauts goaltender Brianne McLaughlin occupied a few seasons ago.
The chance for Steadman to continue her career in two unique roles as a player and executive is unique and well-deserved. Not only is she a highly talented competitor that is an asset for a league such as the NWHL, she is helping to set a positive example for the young women of the Colonials program, proving that there is a viable future in women’s hockey.
“Playing in the NWHL has been incredible and words canNOt really describe how monumental it is to be involved in the first women’s professional league. Getting to interact with fans and young girls from Buffalo has been one of the best parts because we know that we are making a difference and that these girls can have a league they can look forward to playing in.
I have also really enjoyed being a part of a great team, with great people around me and getting to play under a legend like Shelley (Looney). I remember being 10 years old and going to camps run by her and a few other U.S. National Team Players. To see how far the game has come since then is incredible and I cannot wait to watch and help this league continues to develop and grow."
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”