In the final week of 2015, the women’s hockey world caught up to Meghan Fardelmann. A week defined by greatness, Fardelmann accomplished a pair of significant career milestones. Perhaps the most unique aspect of such a memorable time was the fact that she reached such pinnacles with two different NWHL clubs.
A tireless worker who brings a team first approach, she refined her strong leadership skills with the DEC Salzburg Eagles as an assistant captain and member of the coaching staff. It is the type of teamwork skills that she also brings to her off-ice position in the automotive industry.
Said week would start donning the colors of the New York Riveters. In a December 27 contest against the Buffalo Beauts, Fardelmann contributed to a new chapter in Riveters lore. Scoring goals in all three periods, she would register the first hat trick in franchise history, contributing to a 7-3 victory, the largest margin of victory for the Riveters this season.
Scoring the first goal of the game, unassisted no less, Fardelmann set the tone quickly as the Riveters would jump out to a 2-0 advantage. After Russian national team member Lyudmila Belyakova scored twice in the second for the Riveters, giving her the first multi-goal game of her NWHL career, Fardelmann would score at the 9:02 mark.
Earning the assists on Fardelmann’s second goal were a pair of Riveters named to the inaugural NWHL All-Star Game on January 24, 2016; Morgan Fritz-Ward and Janine Weber (the first European player named to the event). Said goal would provide the Rivieters with a 5-1 advantage.
Although the Beauts would reduce the lead to a 5-3 mark during the third period, Weber would score an unassisted tally to restore the three goal advantage. With less than two minutes remaining in the contest, Fardelmann would complete the hat trick by scoring into an empty net as Belyakova and Madison Packer both earned the assists.
Fittingly, Fardelmann’s third goal would also stand the final one of the game. For her efforts, Fardelmann was not only named as the Second Star of the Game, she was recognized as the NWHL’s Player of the Week.
Considering that Fardelmann also participated in the ceremonial faceoff for the NWHL’s first-ever game, a contest against the Connecticut Whale, the hat trick brought an eventful first half of the season full circle. In reflecting on such an eventful game, a jubilant Fardelmann also recognized the bigger picture,
“We all want to be a part of this to help write the history of this league. It was really special, especially in a win.”
Just four days later on New Year’s Eve, Fardelmann enjoyed the opportunity to make history a second time. Joined by Riveters teammate Bray Ketchum, the two were loaned to the Boston Pride as participants in the Women’s Winter Classic. In addition, three members of the Connecticut Whale were also loaned to the Pride as several members of their roster had commitments to the US national team. Being able to share this opportunity with a fellow Riveter was a point of pride for Fardelmann,
“Yes, it was awesome to share the moment with a teammate, and also nice to have a selfie buddy.”
Prior to the New Year’s Eve matchup featuring alumnae from the NHL’s Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, the Pride and the NWHL’s Canadiennes de Montreal took to the ice for the inaugural Women’s Winter Classic. Such a match also represented another unprecedented first as neither league had played each other before.
The chance to don the Pride colors resulted in gracing the frozen surface at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts to compete in the Women’s Winter Classic, the first-ever outdoor professional women’s hockey match. Having played her NCAA hockey with the Boston College Eagles, it represented an emotional homecoming for Fardelmann.
“Playing in the first outdoor women’s game was awesome, and I am lucky to have gotten the opportunity. The tunnel to the field was busy and full of excitement. It was surreal being in Gillette with that energy for outdoor hockey.”
An experience that Fardelmann shall cherish for the remainder of her career, she pointed out that the environment that day was one spent working in collaboration to proudly represent the NWHL, participating in a remarkable showcase for the game. Everyone stepped up and showed a tremendous spirit, regardless of which club they lace their skates for during the NWHL’s regular season.
“It was friendly, and they were welcoming to all the guest players. Everyone was happy to be part of the experience and in good spirits. A four-team league means exposure to the other teams all the time. I think everyone understands the rivalry is naturally going to happen with every other team.”
Although the contest finished in a 1-1 tie, it was an appropriate ending as the real winner was the game itself and the quantum leap experienced on this day. While it may have been a unique experience for Riveters players such as Fardelmann and Ketchum to share the ice with members of the Whale as members of the rival Pride, friendship was the theme on this landmark day.
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credit: Riveters photo from Michael Majewski/NWHL
Winter Classic photo obtained from: https://twitter.com/bmfardelmann