(Toronto Six Twitter)
The Toronto Six continued to stay busy this offseason, re-signing backup goaltender Samantha Ridgewell. The move comes as the NWHL announced their schedule for opening weekend, which sees the Six square off against the Buffalo Beauts on November 6th.
Ridgewell primarily served as the backup to Elaine Chuli, who was also re-signed earlier this summer, and it appears that the Six have plans to dress the same tandem in goal this upcoming season.
While the Six didn’t bring home a championship in their inaugural season, their decision to bring back both Chuli and Ridgewell shouldn’t come as a surprise. Elaine Chuli, in just her first season in the NWHL, was among the league’s top netminders throughout the season. Moreover, in my conversations with Chuli herself, she seems poised and ready to return to the crease.
“For as long as I enjoy the preparation, then I want to keep playing and I still do really enjoy it”, said Chuli during our off-ice conversation. “I always train, I always work out and I always know when it’s time to start skating with my goalie coach to get back into the swing of things.”
Ridgewell, on the other hand, only saw game action a couple times. And while the Six ended up on the losing end of both of those contests, the 25 year-old should serve as an admirable backup as she gains more experience behind the veteran Chuli.
“I’m just glad that I did re-sign,” stated Ridgewell via the Toronto Six press release. “When the season was over, I felt like we didn’t get to truly experience what this league has to offer, so that was a huge reason why I wanted to re-sign right away.”
On top of the fact that this tandem showed plenty of promise last season, they both seem eager and motivated to return, something that should pay dividends for the Six when Toronto welcomes them back.
A fellow NCAA product, Ridgewell spent four seasons at Merrimack College (including three alongside Toronto Six teammate Mikyla Grant-Mentis), a notable Division I hockey program on the East Coast. In 98 collegiate appearances, Ridgewell posted a respectable 2.66 GAA and a .919 SV%.
Putting up career highs in her senior year, Ridgewell earned WHEA Second Team All-Star honours and was twice named the WHEA Goaltender of the Week. She ended the season leading the conference in save percentage while finishing third in goals-against-average.
“Getting to go back and start practicing with the girls, the thoughts of games on a regular basis, and in front of the fans, they really proved they were interested (last season)”, Ridgewell said, noting that she was excited to return to Toronto. “It’ll be really fun to play in front of people again.”
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