Mercyhurst Magazine Summer 2016

Amanda Makela (top left), Shelby Bram (bottom left) and Kelley Steadman (top right). Photos courtesy of the Bufalo Beauts.

Laker alums make history in NWHL For women’s hockey alumni Shelby Bram ‘15, Amanda Makela ’15 and Kelley Steadman ’12, the launch of the National Women’s Hockey League meant not only a chance to keep playing the game they love, but also the opportunity to be paid for doing it.

Player salaries are modest – ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 – so players can’t yet make it a full-time job.

While Kelley played for the Beauts, she was also a grad student in instructional leadership at Robert Morris University and an assistant women’s hockey coach for the RMU Colonials. She earned her master’s degree in June. While she hopes to extend her playing career as long as she can, her eventual dream is coaching college hockey. Amanda, an exercise science major, says her main goal after graduation was fnding a place to play hockey. She put of a job search until she found a team. After exploring other options she settled on the NWHL, convinced it would ofer a highly competitive brand of hockey, along with a paycheck and a convenient location close to family and Mercyhurst. She found it tough to ft a job into her hockey schedule, but she continued to travel to Toronto to train and to coach young goalies. She too sees coaching in her future. Shelby says of the past year, “It was an incredible experience making history for women. Also getting to take part in the frst All-Star Game and the frst Isobel Cup fnals.”

The three former Lakers signed with the Bufalo Beauts, one of four teams competing during the NWHL’s inaugural 18-game season that ended in February. (2016 graduate Emily Janiga will join the Beauts next season.) After a slow start, the Beauts made the league fnals before losing to the Boston Pride. Shelby and Kelley were both selected to the league’s frst All-Star Game and Kelley was named its MVP after a two-goal performance. But she says the best part was being able to inspire young hockey players. “Seeing little girls wearing your jersey and holding up signs cheering for you was amazing,“ she says. “It’s very cool to reach out to young girls and show them something they can aim for.” Kelley majored in elementary education, but has never stopped playing hockey. She worked out with the U.S. national team, got an Olympic tryout, played for Boston in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, and spent a season in Russia before the NWHL beckoned.

Learn more about the National Women’s Hockey League at . 24

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