The Buffalo forward will return to the league less than a year after she took her maternity leave
The NWHL announced on December 16 that forward Brooke Stacey has re-signed with the Buffalo Beauts ahead of the 2021 bubble season. Stacey’s return marks a huge moment for the young league; she will be the first player to return after a maternity hiatus.
Stacey and her partner announced they were expecting last February, and she gave birth just this summer. Now, less than a year after she stopped playing, Stacey will return to the NWHL to make history as the first mother to resume play after taking time off for a pregnancy.
Image Source: NWHL
Her return will also be the first opportunity for the NWHL to put its maternity policy into practice. The NWHL Player’s Association helped negotiate an agreement with the league that pays players who become pregnant 100% of their salary. A supportive maternity policy is a crucial element of any successful women’s league, so Stacey’s return represents an important milestone for the NWHL.
Stacey will face high expectations after her incredible rookie season in 2019. She scored 8 goals and recorded 8 assists over 14 games to give her the second-highest goals scored total for her team and put her in the top three Beauts for primary points scored (goals + primary assists). Her breakout performance was well-recognized when she was chosen for the 2020 NWHL All-Star weekend in Boston, where she competed in the skills competition.
Stacey’s return to the Beauts could give them a much-needed offensive boost as they head into what’s sure to be a hotly contested bubble season. The new mother should be a great help in front of net, especially if she can get into a groove with Taylor Accursi.
Stacey is a Quebec native and one of only two Indigenous players in the NWHL (she is part of the Mohawk tribe), and now she’ll have the opportunity to set a standard for new moms in the hockey landscape as well. “I am extremely excited and grateful to be returning to the Buffalo Beauts and the NWHL,” said Stacey in an official league announcement. “I want to be a role model for new moms, showing that it is possible to compete at the highest level even after a couple of months postpartum. The NWHL continues to make strides in bettering the league for all its players, and that’s something I am proud to be a part of.”