Earlier today, Elena Orlando announced that she is retiring from pro hockey. The 29-year-old defenseman tweeted out the announcement this morning. Orlando was a huge part of the Connecticut Whale over the course of her career.
Orlando played 4 seasons at Quinnipiac before starting her pro career. With the NCAA, she played 85 games with 11 points (3G 8A). She went over and played a year in Sweden after college. She played in just 5 games there but she had 2 points and a -3 rating.
After those games in Sweden, the NWHL was founded so she came back to the US to join up. She’s been with the NWHL since 2015, her first season was with the New York Riveters but then she moved to the Whale and that is where she stayed for the remainder of her career. She played 89 games in her NWHL career and 7 additional postseason ones. She was a great leader and player for the Whale. She was a steady, stay-at-home defender for the team and helped them reach 4 semifinals and 1 quarterfinal in her time there. Losing Orlando is harsh for the Whale. They lost their captain Shannon Doyle to retirement at the end of last season and now they’ll be without Elena.
There are some good defenders left on this roster but Doyle and Orlando carried the bulk of their core. The Whale did just draft Hannah Bates from St. Cloud who will fit in nice with this roster should they get her signed. But, they are now without two of their leaders heading into next season and that’s gotta sting a bit. Regardless, tough loss for the Whale but a hell of a career to a great defender. I wish her all the best in retirement!
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