Cailey Hutchison is having quite the rookie season for the NWHL’s Metropolitan Riveters. Centering the third line, she has put up 10 points in 21 games and has won 51% of her faceoffs. She is also one of the leaders on the team, being named an assistant captain in her first season with the team.
Well, now she can add NWHL All-Star to her resume. Hutchison was named to the NWHL All-Star roster to replace best friend and Buffalo Beaut Brooke Stacey. Stacey recently announced that she and her partner are expecting their first child, thus putting an end to her season. Although she took part in the skills competition, Hutchison was named her replacement for the All-Star game.
“When I got the call, I couldn’t believe it!” she said. “Being an All-Star obviously wasn’t a huge focus for me, just playing hard in every game for my teammates is my goal, but to be one is pretty cool, especially in my rookie season.”
And how was the experience?
“The All-Star game was such an amazing experience. To be with all the best players in our league on two teams, the game was fast-paced and highly skilled. It was so much fun. It was also really amazing to meet other players from different teams and get to know them a bit.”
The Riveters Are A Much-Improved Team This Season
Last season was a disappointing one for the Metropolitan Riveters. They finished fourth in the league before losing to eventual winners Minnesota in the playoffs. This season has been much better. They currently sit third and have already more than doubled their numbers of wins from last season.
“The focus is to be the best team on the ice no matter what or who we play,” said Hutchison. “Clinching third place is definitely a priority, but working together as a team for a full 60 minutes of play is at the top of the list. We want to establish good habits and good camaraderie going into playoffs.”
Wearing a letter will mean Hutchison has a big role to play in ensuring the team’s good habits and camaraderie continue throughout the season. Being a leader, whilst also being a rookie, has been a big learning experience for her.
“At the beginning, I was definitely more on the quiet side. I found myself just trying to lead by example with always competing and working extremely hard. Working with Madison Packer and Rebecca Morse has been a tremendous help in regards to finding my voice. I’m really grateful to have this role.”
Madison Packer and Rebecca Morse are clearly role models to the rest of the team and Hutchison agrees.
“As I mentioned before they’ve been helping me grow as a leader but they help me in so many other ways as well. They are two tremendous athletes, players, captains, and teammates. I always found no matter where I go and no matter how old I am I find people to look up to and strive to be like and that is definitely Packer and Moose.”
Helping Grow the Game Is Still a Priority
Women’s hockey still has an uncertain future. The NWHL is one of two groups of players trying to help grow the game. They have focused their efforts on running their league and trying to grow it through sponsorships and online via Twitch streaming service. The results are noticeable to players like Cailey Hutchison.
“Women’s hockey is growing,” she said. “Being part of the NWHL, I see so many little girls telling us they want to be a Riveter one day and that’s when I know we are doing the right thing. I remember being younger and always telling people I wanted to be the next Crosby. Now, we see girls saying they want to be the next Madison Packer. It’s special.”
“Every day the league is getting stronger, more girls are falling in love with hockey, and as the players, we are getting more and more respect. That is all I could ask for.”
It can’t have been an easy decision to decide to join the NWHL after the summer announcement from the PWHPA. The opportunity to play competitive hockey ultimately became too difficult to pass up for Hutchison.
“It definitely made it more difficult for me but all I knew even from when I was a part of the PWHPA for a short period of time was that I wanted to play. I wanted to be on the ice every week to showcase women’s hockey and give little girls someone they can watch and look up to. Once I came to terms with my vision and saw others who wanted to do the same thing, signing with the Riveters was an easy decision.”
The Hutchisons Are a Hockey Family
Cailey isn’t the only star hockey player in the Hutchison family. Brothers Nick and Conner both have their own promising hockey careers. Nick is currently a senior at D1 Canisius College in Buffalo, where he leads the team in goals. He has been a consistent scorer in the NCAA and should attract plenty of interest from pro teams once he finishes school.
Conner is currently in his second season with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. He is the top-scoring defenseman on the team, currently sitting at 40 points through 56 games. He is committed to the University of Vermont for the 2020-21 season.
Growing up with two hockey-playing brothers definitely had its benefits for a young Cailey Hutchison.
“Coming from a family of two brothers who also play hockey, competition is the only thing we know. Whether the situation is on the ice training in the offseason or seeing the last cookie on the table, there is always a brawl haha. I love it though. If I didn’t have them, I wouldn’t be the player I am today. I think my competitiveness and intensity stems from growing up with them. I owe them a lot.”
The Future Is Bright for Cailey Hutchison
It is still not an option for NWHL players to be full-time hockey players due to the limited salaries they receive. For Cailey Hutchison, the future lies in nursing. “Right now, I’m in nursing school. My dream is to be a Neonatal Intensive Care nurse or a Pediatric Intensive Care nurse.”
Her desire to work with children also extends to hockey and her current role as a coach.
“In addition to school, I am the co-founder and director of the Wade Warriors Girls Spring/Summer hockey tournament team. We are a young program but we have girls from all over the country come play for us. I spend a lot of time giving lessons to young players on ice, working them out in the gym, doing video analysis, college guidance, etc.”
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Feature Image Credit: Michelle Jay/NWHL