The National Women’s Hockey League has lost one of its six teams currently participating in the 14-day bubble from Lake Placid, NY. On Thursday morning, reports surfaced that the Metropolitan Riveters had removed themselves from the competition, following an odd set of circumstances presented during Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Whitecaps.
The Metropolitan Riveters are pulling out of the @NWHL Lake Placid tournament due to “health and safety concerns” related to COVID-19, multiple sources tell ESPN. Story to come.
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) January 28, 2021
On Tuesday, the team’s head coach Ivo Mocek did not surface from the dressing room for the third period, alongside forward Rebecca Russo. Whether or not that was COVID protocol related or a completely different issue, it does beg the question as to what the Riveters’ concerns with the tournament actually are.
Wednesday’s scheduled game between the Riveters and the Buffalo Beauts was changed to the Beauts playing the Toronto Six, with the Riveters not participating, citing “a decision not to play was made in line with the NWHL’s medical protocols prioritizing the health and safety of all participants during this season in Lake Placid.”
Whether or not the Metropolitan Riveters remain within the New York bubble or head back home will be a decision left up to the team. The five remaining teams will continue with the tournament, playing in the format of a round-robin.
Seeing a significantly reduced schedule from past years, the two-week tournament saw each team arrive by January 22 and had each team set to play in five games (one game against each team), in order to determine the four teams moving on to the single-game semifinal. A single game Isobel Cup Final has been set for Friday, February 5, concluding the 2020-21 season.
Leading the way offensively for the Riveters is 23-year-old defender Leila Kilduff, who has two goals and three points – including one game-winner – in the team’s three games. Both forwards Rebecca Russo and Kelly Babstock each have two points in three games, with Russo earning the team’s only power play marker.