We’re starting to see a team come together! After inking Christina Putigna to an extension late last week, the Boston Pride announced Monday that they had also tendered rookie Lexie Laing an extension for the 2020-21 season. It is clear that the team values Laing’s two-way game highly, as Coach Paul Mara called her, “One of the best two way forwards in the game,” last season.
Laing, who was selected by the Pride 12th Overall out of Harvard in 2017, had an outstanding rookie campaign. She tallied 12 goals and 15 assists for 27 points in 24 games en-route to her first All-Star selection. She ended the season 3rd on the team in game-winning goals (3), and her 27 points was good enough for 4th on the team. More impressively, she had 11 multi-point outings, including two instances of 3 points in a game. She finished second in the league in faceoff percentage (61.12%), trailing only team captain and league co-MVP Jillian Dempsey, and led the league in penalty differential at a +12. Laing only took two penalties all season, but put the Pride on the powerplay on 14 separate occasions.
Mara could not contain his excitement about Laing’s game. “Lexie is awesome in every aspect of the game,” he said. “For comparison, I’d say that the great Patrice Bergeron is the Lexie Laing of the Bruins.”
For her part, Laing seems equally excited to continue playing for her hometown Pride. “My coaches and teammates with the Pride created a great atmosphere and made every day at the rink worthwhile,” she stated in the official press release. “Boston really does have the greatest sports fans. It shows every time we have a game, so playing in front of a packed crowd really motivated my return.”
Laing is the 3rd of the Laing sisters to suit up for the Pride since the NWHL’s inception. Brianna, the lone goaltender of the family, played in Year Three, and eldest Denna was of course part of the inaugural Boston Pride team in Year One. This means that, for Lexie, staying with the Pride has a greater meaning than simply playing hockey. After Denna suffered a tragic spinal cord injury in the 2015 inter-league outdoor game prior to the Winter Classic that year, the Pride have held a “Denna Day” every season, where the team honors and fund-raises for the now paralyzed Laing sister. This year, Lexie got to take the ceremonial faceoff while Denna dropped the puck at Warrior, then helped her team set the All-Time Single Season Wins Record for the league in that very game. Due to the age gap between the two sisters, they never got to play on a team together, but because the Pride have consciously maintained a strong relationship with Denna, involving her with many different aspects of the organization (you can often find her around the rink at games and practices for the Pride), Lexie finally got to experience what it would’ve been like. “It’s definitely special for me…” she said in aJanuary 17th article from The Hockey News. “It’s cool to see how she leads and inspires other people on my team.”
Prior to joining the Pride, Laing spent 5 seasons at Harvard (she redshirted the 2017-18 season), finishing with 33 goals and 58 assists for 91 points in 130 games with the Crimson. She lead the team in scoring her final two seasons, and was an ECAC All-Rookie Team selection and ECAC Rookie of the Year finalist as a freshman. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Animals and Public Policy at Tufts while playing for the Pride.
Featured Image courtesy of Michelle Jay (@Michelle_Jay3)
By: Spencer Fascetta | Follow me on Twitter @PuckNerdHockey