After much speculation about where she would play in 2015-16, it has been confirmed that Olympian and women’s hockey star Brianna Decker will be heading to the NWHL.
Decker, 24, spent the 2014-15 campaign with the CWHL’s Boston Blades, but it was announced Wednesday that she will be jumping ship to the NWHL for the league’s inaugural season to suit up with the Boston Pride.
"It's an honor to sign with the Boston Pride," Decker said in a statement. "I love living in the city of Boston and I know a lot of the other girls on the team and we gel really well. I think that we have a lot of skill on this team that is going to get us through a great first season.”
At this point, Decker is the premier name to jump from the CWHL to the NWHL as North America’s first paid women’s league draws closer to opening up its first season. Her contract was announced for one season, but financial terms of the deal have not yet been released.
"Brianna is one of the best players in the game, not just today, but ever," said Pride GM Hayley Moore. ”She is a veteran, leader, and will contribute endlessly to our success in Boston.”
Decker was an absolute force offensively this past season with the Blades. In 12 contests in the CWHL, Decker notched 16 goals and 32 points, good for more than 2.5 points-per-game. Though she played half the games of CWHL leading scorer Rebecca Johnston, Decker finished only five points back of the scoring lead and was named the CWHL Rookie of the Year for her outstanding campaign.
Decker suited up in all three playoff games for the Blades and notched five goals and eight points en route to capturing the CWHL’s Clarkson Cup.
Before heading to the women’s professional game, Decker spent four seasons at the University of Wisconsin where she amassed 115 goals and 244 points in 143 games. Her best season came in her third year, when she tallied 37 goals and 82 points in 40 games for the Badgers. For her performance, Decker was named the Patty Kazmaier Award winner as the top female player in the NCAA.
Decker captured a silver medal in her first Olympics in 2014, finishing in a tie for second in scoring with two goals and six points in five games. In the semi-final contest against Sweden, Decker scored one goal and three points to help Team USA into the gold medal game.