The Buffalo Beauts will be enlisting in the help of a two-time Olympian and longtime Buffalo Sabre to help guide the way during the franchise’s inaugural NWHL campaign.
It was announced Monday that Shelley Looney, a longtime U.S. women’s team forward, and Ric Seiling, who played in more than 700 NHL games, will be co-coaches of the Beauts for the NWHL’s debut season, which kicks off Oct. 11.
It won��t be the first foray into a leadership role for either Looney or Seiling. For the past two seasons, Looney has been the hockey director for the Buffalo Bison Hockey Association, and she previously undertook the same role with the New Jersey Colonials from 2006 to 2013.
Looney also spent time with the Under-17 National Team Development Program and served as an assistant coach at University of Vermont. As for Seiling, the former Sabres winger spent three seasons patrolling the bench in the Central League and had stint as a coach in the OHL and an assistant coach in the AHL.
"Being here in Buffalo is perfect because they really embrace their sports," Looney said in a release. "It's a great fit, and I think the city will really come together to support this team and this league.”
Seiling, who saw the city support the sport firsthand during his nine years in Buffalo, echoed Looney’s sentiments, saying fans will turn up so long as the team pushes itself and stays competitive.
"People are friendly, people are responsive,” Seiling said. “You just have to come to every game with an honest effort, be entertaining and competitive, and you've got a really good shot at making it.”
Oddly enough, this won’t be Looney’s first foray into the NWHL. Before the current iteration of the league popped up this past year, an NWHL existed for several seasons between 1999 and 2007. Looney spent one season with the former NWHL’s Vancouver Griffins, scoring 10 goals and 35 points in 24 games.
"This league as a whole, especially in Buffalo, will help to grow girls' youth hockey," Looney said. "This gives young players a platform where they can see positive role models play and envision what they can reach in their career."
Looney won a gold medal with Team USA at the 1998 Olympics, scoring the game-winning goal against Canada with little more than nine minutes remaining in the third period. She also helped the team capture a silver at the 2002 competition. Over her career, Looney participated in eight women’s World Championships. She retired after failing to make the 2006 Olympic team.
Seiling retired in 1988 after a 738-game NHL career in which he scored 179 goals and 387 points. A skilled defensive winger, Seiling was drafted 14th overall by the Sabres in the 1977 draft.