It took a while, but the Minnesota Whitecaps roster for the 2020-21 NWHL season is finally starting to take shape. Over the past few weeks, they signed four players – or one less than they already had signed for the upcoming season.
On Aug. 21 the Whitecaps announced that forward Audra Richards was returning for her second season with the team and third in the NWHL. On Sept. 1 the team announced that they had re-signed forwards Meaghan Pezon and Meghan Lorence, and goaltender Allie Morse. Pezon will be entering her third season with Minnesota and the league, while Lorence and Morse will be entering their second season in the NWHL and with the Whitecaps.
A two-time All-Star, Richards has put up 28 points (17g-11a) in 40 career NWHL games and also has two goals in three playoff games. This past season she was seventh on the Whitecaps in points (24) and registered her first pro assist, and in the previous season with the Metropolitan Riveters, she shared the team lead in goals (8).
“Hockey has always been a part of my identity and I’m very appreciative of the Minnesota Whitecaps and the NWHL for giving me the opportunity to be a part of history and for continuing to advance the women’s game,” said Richards, who is from Maplewood, Minnesota.
“Season 6 is going to be a monumental year for the NWHL and I cannot wait to be a part of it, and to play in front of the amazing Whitecaps fans and future draft picks. Let’s Play Hockey!”
Pezon is the only player among the four recent signees that was a part of the Whitecaps Isobel Cup-winning team in 2019. This past season she was tied for fifth on the team in scoring (with Lorence) with 21 points (8g-13a), and in 33 career games has 23 points (9g-14a).
“I cannot wait to see what this season has to offer, and I’m honored to be a part of this growing league,” said Pezon in the press release announcing the signings. “NWHL fans are the best in the business, and I can’t wait to play again for the best of the best – the Whitecaps fans who have supported us along the way! I am so excited to be a Whitecap again.”
Lorence joined the Whitecaps last season as a rookie, but she was 27-years-old at the time. Like Pezon, she had 21 points (10g-11a) last season and was a big part of the team’s offense. In college with the University of Minnesota (2011-2015), she was a part of three NCAA championship teams and had 102 points (50g-52a) in 158 games.
“I’m thrilled to sign with the Whitecaps for another season in the NWHL,” said Lorence in the press release. I embrace the opportunity to help grow the game and be a role model for the young female players that dream of being in pro hockey. I’m excited to play the game I love, in my home state, and for the best fans.”
Morse won her only start last season with the Whitecaps as Mandy Leveille’s backup and saw action in two other games. She stopped 23 of the 26 shots fired at her and picked up her first win (17 saves) backstopping Minnesota to a 9-3 win in Buffalo on Feb. 23.
“We obviously have some unfinished business to take care of this year, and I can’t wait to help us bring Izzy home in 2021 for the amazing Whitecaps fans,” Morse said in the press release. “I’m proud to be back with the Whitecaps and for Season 6 of the NWHL.”
The Whitecaps now have nine players signed for next season. Richards, Pezon, Lorence, and Morse will join forwards Allie Thunstrom, Corinne Buie, and Jonna Curtis, defender Amanda Boulier, and goaltender Amanda Leveille.