The New York Riveters underwent a huge roster overhaul this offseason. Lyudmila Belyakova, Brooke Ammerman, and face of the franchise Nana Fujimoto are no longer with the team. But the player that Chad Wiseman and the Riveters might miss the most is veteran winger Meghan Fardelmann.
Dani Rylan liked what she saw from Fardelmann at the league’s 2015 international training camp and at the Beantown Classic. Rylan, who served as the Riveters’ general manager last season, signed Fardelmann to a $20,000 contract. She and Belyakova were New York’s two highest-paid forwards last season.
“Fardelmann is a two-way forward with a lot of strength and power,” Rylan commented in the league’s press release. “She played well at the Beantown Classic and I was impressed with her presence on both ends of the ice.”
Being one of the team’s three highest-paid players carried with it some lofty expectations. But from the first drop of the puck, Fardelmann’s value to the Riveters was never in question.
On a Riveters team that celebrated work ethic and two-way hockey Fardelmann frequently set the bar. The former U.S. national team player was physical, aggressive on the forecheck, and trustworthy away from the puck. In short, Fardelmann was everything that head coach Chad Wiseman seems to look for in his forwards.
After her college career Fardelmann played overseas and was as an assistant coach for the DEC Salzburg Eagles for three years. Her leadership and experience made her a valuable presence off the ice in New York. At 28 years old she may have lost some of the quickness she had at Boston College, but she was never behind the play.
Last season New York was routinely dominated in puck possession, but Fardelmann still produced. All six of Fardelmann’s goals came at even strength. She was the team’s highest scorer during 5-on-5 play.
Even with all their offseason additions, the Riveters will miss her tireless forechecking and ability to get pucks to the net. She was one of the few forwards on the team that could create turnovers and seamlessly transition from defense to offense.
Fardelmann also has an absolutely blistering shot that the Riveters didn’t get to see nearly enough of last season. Her contributions to her team’s modest success on the ice shouldn’t be overlooked. She ranked second in goals on a team that was starved for offense. She also scored the first hat trick in franchise history against the Buffalo Beauts.
Wiseman and the Riveters could have used the offensive depth that Fardelmann represents next season. But a return to the Riveters or another NWHL team for the 2016-17 season was never in the cards for the Kansan. When Fardelmann was reached for comment she made it clear her time in the NWHL was over.
“I made the decision to play for one year last summer,” Fardelmann shared. “Everyone was really excited to be a part of it all, and I wanted to come out of ‘retirement’ to join in the NWHL history.”
“However, I made a deal to my fiancé, to my job, and to myself financially that I would just play one year,” Fardelmann revealed.
Before last season Fardelmann was playing in a Kansas men’s league on a team sponsored by a bar. Now, a year later, she proved that she still has “it” but is ready to pass the torch.
“It was unforgettable to be able to be part of a competitive women’s team again, and I wish the Riveters and the league an amazing future,” Fardelmann reflected. “There is a lot of young talent entering the league too, and I think that’s where the future rests.”