Buffalo Beauts defenceman Meg Delay believes the most important moment left for the National Women’s Hockey League this shortened season is to make sure someone hoists the cup.
The Buffalo team received a surprising spot in the league’s semi-finals after the Connecticut Whale forfeited from the Lake Placid bubble on Feb. 1 due to Covid protocols.
However, following the news of the rescheduled playoffs to begin on Mar. 26, the number four seed has returned to the Whale.
Although Delay is disappointed her team isn’t in the playoffs after all, she’s looking towards next season with an open mind.
“We get a fresh start,” said Delay, on an internet call. “Now we can just step back, relax, focus on the next season, kind of hit the restart button, and get a little head start … Hopefully that works out in our favour.”
Delay signed with the Beauts in 2019 and had six points in her first season, including one goal. The defenceman isn’t afraid to dig for the puck and has racked up a total of 37 regular season penalty minutes with the club over the last two years.
Last season, the 23-year-old Canadian scored a goal in her only NWHL post-season appearance so far.
After a disappointing 2021, the Buffalo team will reset and focus on the next season, but, ultimately, to Delay, the rescheduling of the Isobel Cup is a good thing for the image that women’s hockey has in the media.
“We need to finish the league, we need to hoist that cup, or else it’s going to show and that’s going to be a deficit for the rest of us,” said Delay. “If we want to be equal with the NHL and everyone else, we need to do what they do, and I think the finals is definitely going to help us in that sense.”
The current NWHL began with four teams and has now grown to six. As a Niagara-area native Delay knew that she wanted to play for the Beauts, one of the founding franchises, because it felt close to home.
Delay takes her role of representing female hockey players seriously.
“We’re obviously still new as a league, but those first steps need to be taken.”
“The NHL started with six teams and now look at them. I feel like I’m almost like a pioneer for women’s hockey and being on one of the original six teams is amazing.”