Wednesday evening the NWHL announced a trade between the New York Riveters and the Connecticut Whale. The New York Riveters have acquired goaltender Chelsea Laden; the Connecticut Whale have acquired goaltender Shenae Lundberg.
While no-trade clauses do exist in the league, neither Laden nor Lundberg has one in her contract.
The league stated repeatedly in 2015 that no trades would occur during the first season, however, many players –– including National Team players –– incorporated no-trade clauses into their contracts because trades were allowed per the contract, which reads:
Right to Assign. The Team’s rights and obligations under this Agreement, including the right to the Player’s services in fulfillment of her obligations hereunder, may be assigned by the Team and reassigned by any assignee to an NWHL professional team without the consent of the Player, provided the burdens on the Player are not significantly increased. New terms and conditions to address those burdens shall be negotiated between the assigned Player, the Team to which the Player is assigned, and the Team assigning the Player in the event there is a significant increase in burdens on the Player.
Player’s Obligation to Report. If this Agreement is assigned, Player shall report by telephone or in person to the assignee within forty-eight (48) hours after being notified by either the assignee or assignor of the assignment of this Agreement
This is not a surprising move for either Laden or Lundberg; both have ended up in the “third goalie” position despite being strong contenders. Facing a deep team and unexpected injuries (a twisted ankle for Lundberg and a broken finger for Laden) both saw more bench time than ice time, and both clearly wanted more ice time than they were getting. Neither are from Connecticut or New York and were likely to be more amenable to a move if it meant they would get more playing time.
“My general manager, George Spiers, made this decision because he thinks it will be good for the league and good for my personal career. I will obviously miss my CT Whale team, but I am looking forward to this new opportunity. My teammates understand and have been super supportive,” Laden said in a statement to Today’s Slapshot.
Laden has appeared in one game for the Connecticut Whale on October 18, registering a 2.00 goals against average and .947 save percentage. Lundberg has logged 28:56 in a relief effort on October 18 and registered a .875 goals against average.
An additional factor that would not exist were Buffalo in the mix is the commute: both Connecticut and New York franchises are close to one another and the difference is likely negligible for Lundberg and Laden.
Laden will report to the Riveters practice at 10:00PM Wednesday night and Lundberg will report to the Whale’s practice at 10:00PM Thursday night.
At the time of this writing neither the NWHL nor Erika Lawler, the head of the NWHLPA, have responded to requests for comment.