The Pride have a full line of forwards now. They announced Friday that they had agreed to a contract extension with superstar forward McKenna Brand. Originally selected 17th Overall in the 2017 NWHL Draft by the Metropolitan Riveters, she instead signed out of Northeastern with the Pride. After tallying 6 goals and 11 assists for 17 points in 16 games in her rookie campaign, she exploded this season with 19 goals and 17 assists for 36 points in 24 games. She lead the league in scoring for much of the season before league co-MVP Allie Thunstrom came on strong late, ended the year tied for second in the league in scoring, lead the league in game winning goals, and finished a strong third place in League MVP voting. Throughout her professional career, Brand has produced at a 1.33 points per game rate, and has never finished lower than 5th in league scoring.
Brand has thoroughly enjoyed her time in the league thus far. “I am so grateful to be signing with the Pride for my third season in the NWHL,” she said in the league’s press release. “Last year was truly one of my favorite years of hockey, playing with some amazing people. The culture that the Pride organization created last season was a major part of our success and I cannot wait to be a part of that again. I am looking forward to playing in front of the best fans in the league and continue to grow the game in the Boston area.”
Team President Hayley Moore gushed over the skillset Brand brings to the table, making it clear that bringing her back to the Pride for a third consecutive season was an organizational priority. “From the moment McKenna started her pro career in Boston until now, she just keeps getting better,” said Moore. “Her pure skating ability, scoring prowess, and hockey IQ, coupled by her selfless attitude and work in the community, make her an ideal member of the Pack. We are lucky to have McKenna back for a third season with the Pride and can’t wait to see where she brings her game next.”
Coach Paul Mara has been more than impressed with Brand’s efforts the past two years, even noting that her skills should get an opportunity with the U.S. National Team in an article from the Hockey News in December. Brand has never skated with the National Team Program at any level, but she has put the country on notice after her production the past two years.
Moore finished her Northeastern career as the program’s all-time leader in games played, and earned First Team All-Hockey-East honors her junior season after scoring 23 goals in 37 games. She serves as a hockey skills development coach and a nanny in addition to her time with the Pride, and hopes to continue in those capacities moving forward. “The family is amazing, and the boys that I take care of are my best buds,” she said. “They absolutely love coming to Pride games and watching us play, which is something that’s pretty special for me to be able to share with them.”
Stay tuned to Pride Diehards (@PrideDiehards on Twitter) for any additional signings and news out of our favorite women’s professional hockey team!
Featured Image courtesy of Michelle Jay (@Michelle_Jay3)
By: Spencer Fascetta | Follow me on Twitter @PuckNerdHockey