The NHL trade frenzy must have gotten to the NWHL as well. Though no trades were enacted –– the league has gone on record saying they will not trade a player in this inaugural season, though many players added no-trade clauses to their contracts regardless ––the new year saw Yekaterina Pashkevich added to the Connecticut Whale’s roster as a practice player, replacing Mary Rose Morrison.
Morrison, a Manhattanville graduate, dressed for preseason and regular-season games; her Elite Prospects page as well as the NWHL’s site list her as playing only one regular-season game and registering zero points. She did, however, score for the Whale in a preseason game Connecticut played against the CT Junior Rangers U18 boys’ team.
Morrison was removed from the roster with no explanation early in the season. However, her name remained on the team site until late December, when Pashkevich took her place, having come to the U.S. to help translate for Whale forward Yekaterina Smolentseva, the Russian National Team captain.
Pashkevich is a three-time Olympic player, having been selected to the Russian National Team in the 2002, 2006 and 2014 Winter Olympics. In 2002 she led the team in scoring, netting five points (3 goals, 2 assists) in five games. The following Olympic games she earned one assist in five games and in 2014 Pashkevich played in all six games, once again recording one assist.
Pashkevich is by far the oldest player in the league at 43 years of age. She is a workhorse of a defenseman, however, and contributed to the Whale’s play for the first time last Sunday against the Boston Pride. At 5’9, she adds some height to the Whale team and a solid defensive presence. Her age may prove a hindrance, as Pashkevich played only two periods against the Pride in her one game for the Whale. She did not register any shots on goal or assists.
Pashkevich is listed as no. 18 on the NWHL’s site, though she suited up for her first game in no. 44.
The Whale are still missing defensemen Lindsay Berman and Anya Battaglino, both of whom were injured in on-ice collisions with the Buffalo Beauts.