Lewicki Taking Hockey Skills to the Big Time

MOUNDSVILLE — Kristin Lewicki is skating to the Big Apple.

The John Marshall High grad and former D-III College Player of the Year has inked a contract with the Metropolitan Riveters of the National Women’s Hockey League.

The Riveters are the reigning NWHL champions and based in Newark, N.J., a stone’s throw from New York City. Lewicki was a rookie last season while playing for Buffalo. The Beauts lost to the Riveters in the Isobel Cup Championship title game.

“They (Riveters officials) contacted me recently and offered me a roster spot. They gave me some time to think about it. I decided why not take the opportunity,” she said. “They have connections with the New Jersey Devils of the NHL. I am really excited about this opportunity.”

The former Adrian College (Mich.) great acquitted herself quite nicely in her maiden voyage in professional hockey.

Lewicki netted five goals and two assists in 14 games with Buffalo last season. She made the NWHL All-Star Game, winning the Fastest Skater Award in conjunction with the game.

The way the league operates is all players receive one-year contracts. They essentially become free agents after the season and can sign with any other league team.

“It was a great year in Buffalo. We advanced to the title game and I made a lot of special friendships,” the 23-year-old ice dandy said. “I thought I did pretty well. I look to do better this season.

“The Riveters really wanted me. It really is exciting. I don’t know anyone there. So, I am going into it a little blind. I do know they are a very fast team with great chemistry. They are a close group.”

The Riveters play their home games in the Barnabas Health Hockey House at the Prudential Center. The team name and logo are based upon Rosie the Riveter, the subject of the World War II-era motivational poster “We Can Do It!”

“We start practice Sept. 17 and we go to Sweden the last week in September. We open our regular season Oct. 6 against Minnesota,” Lewicki said. “I have been running every day and doing some bike rides. I also have been shooting some pucks and this month I will be working out with a trainer.”

The soft-spoken star was a two-time All-American at Adrian and is the sixth all-time leading scorer in NCAA D-III history. Lewicki authored a sensational senior season with 32 goals and 34 assists in 31 games. Those numbers pushed her career totals to 179 points in 113 games — 90 goals and 89 assists.

The multi-talented forward also received the ultimate honor. She was named the U.S. College Hockey Division III Women’s Player of the Year for the 2016-17 season.

BRUNEY STEAK FRY

The Martins Ferry Purple Rider Booster Club’s annual steak fry is taking on a special theme this year. The Saturday, Sept. 8 fest will honor the career of coaching legend Dave Bruney.

The public is invited to come and celebrate Bruney’s remarkable four-decade run as the Purple Riders’ head grid coach. The steak fry will be held at the Martins Ferry Recreation Center from 6-10 p.m. and cost is $25 for a single or $40 for a couple.

People interested in tickets can contact any booster member or Paul Matuska or Derek Edwards at Martins Ferry High School (740-633-0684) or Greg Steele at the middle school (740-633-9741). They also may be reached via email at paul.matuska@omeresa.net; derekedwards@omeresa.net or gregsteele@omeresa.net

The steak fry will also feature a DJ, Chinese auction and 50/50 raffle. The meal includes steak, baked potato, green beans, salad, bread, dessert and drinks. Please bring your own place setting. All proceeds go to the boosters club.

BUBBA’S BITS

∫ I ran into Cross Wilkinson at the OVAC All-Star Football Game last Saturday. The former Wheeling Park all-state QB was on a short break from the Toledo Rockets summer grid workouts. Cross looks physically strong and says both football and classes are going well.

∫ Many people have asked me what happened with the Brooke High boys’ basketball coaching situation. Cameron Koehler did a masterful job with the Bruins boys hoopsters during his all-too short tenure with the program. Koehler, and his wife, both lost their teaching positions when the Brooke school cut 42 teachers to alleviate severe financial issues within the district. Koehler has subsequently landed a teaching position at Triadelphia Middle School while Linsly has hired his wife. I believe Koehler will be a head prep coach in the not-too distant future. He comes from great stock as his dad, Dave, is one of the finest coaching minds I have ever been around.

∫ I love the acquisition of Chris Archer by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Buccos now have a legitimate mound ace for at least three years. Moreover, all the key pieces on the roster are signed for next year as well.

∫ Although Wheeling American Legion Post 1 didn’t grab the brass ring at this past week’s state tournament, kudos go out to Jon-Michael Brunner for leading the team to a successful season in his first year as the team’s field boss.

∫ Saturday will mark a special day in the village of Brilliant. The Jefferson County community will hold its initial Hall of Fame ceremonies for now defunct Brilliant High School which closed in 1972. I have been honored to be selected as one of the emcees.

∫ Football media days took us to Beallsville on Thursday morning. Larry Deem has the Blue Devils trending upward. The showpiece of the visit was the school’s new impressive fieldhouse. It is still a work in progress but is expected to be ready for Week 1. It is quite spacious with a wrestling room and a locker room for cheerleaders.

∫ Golf’s final major plays out this week. My PGA Championship pick is Tiger Woods. He has been knocking at the door in several recent tournaments.

Bubba Kapral can be reached at bkapral@timesleaderonline.com

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