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Whale sign long-time captain Shannon Turner for final season

Shannon Turner greets hockey players from Greenwich before the game at Ingalls Arena in New Haven in Connecticut’s first season.

The Connecticut Whale have announced the signing of captain Shannon Turner to a one-year deal on Thursday. Turner, who has played all seven seasons with Connecticut, has played in a team-record 109 games for the Whale. The defenseman has been team captain for the past three years.

Turner said it will be her final professional season.

“Having this be my last season playing will make each game and practice mean that much more,” she said. “Every Whale team has been special to me and my past teammates and coaches are on my mind for this final year with the Whale. I want to win the cup for them and all the time and effort they put in to help us build to this point of the program.“

Connecticut will begin their first season at Simsbury’s International Skating Center in December when the Whale host the Minnesota Whitecaps in a pair of Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) contests on Friday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. and on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m.

Connecticut opens the season on Nov. 5 at league champion Boston and hosts a pair of games at Milford Ice Arena on Nov. 9 and 10. Nine of the Whale’s 12 home games will be in Simsbury this season.

In her time with the Whale, Turner has scored nine goals and collected 36 assists for 45 points.  The three-time PHF All-Star also currently holds two additional franchise records — all-time assists (36) and all-time penalty minutes (110).

“We couldn’t be happier that Shannon, our captain, has decided to return for another season,” said second-year head coach Colton Orr. “It’s great for us as a team, it’s great for the fans, and it’s great for our young players to have such a tremendous leader. She has been here since day one and helped turn around the organization and lead the Whale to our first-ever Isobel Cup final.”

Connecticut lost to Boston in last March’s Isobel Cup championship game, 4-2.

“She plays the game with passion and is the backbone of this team,” Orr said.

Known for her shot-blocking ability, Turner has spent many of her seasons using her platform as a professional hockey player to raise awareness for different causes.

Most recently, she created the #BlockingOutTheStigma campaign during the 2021-22 season which benefited Active Minds, a nonprofit organization that focuses on supporting mental health awareness and education in young adults through education, research, and advocacy with a focus on ages 14-25.

Turner added to team culture last season and furthered her mental health awareness efforts by introducing the “Progress Not Perfection” motto into the Whale locker room. All players donned a “Progress Not Perfection” sticker on their helmets to remind them that it is about getting a little bit better at something each day and that it is never about achieving perfection because no one is perfect.

Connecticut won a team-record 15 games a year ago compared to 14 in the previous five seasons.

Outside of the Whale, Turner serves as the director of the Stateline Hawks girls hockey program as well as head varsity hockey coach at Greenwich Country Day School, where she also teaches sixth and seventh grade English.

Whale sign Sullivan
Earlier in the week, Connecticut signed forward Tori Sullivan to a free agent. The 26-year-old is the final piece of the Whale’s strong offensive group.

Sullivan has played three seasons for Boston, scoring 12 goals and 19 assists for 31 points in her career. “She is a good skater that has a ton of skill. She has proven to be successful at the pro level. She is a player that brings a lot of energy and is already fitting right into our group,” Orr said.

Two preseason games
Connecticut has two preseason games on their schedule. The Whale will face Buffalo at the Northwell Ice Center in East Meadow, N.Y. on Saturday, Oct. 22 and will host the Metropolitan Riveters on Saturday, Oct. 29 at noon at Milford Ice Arena.

News releases from the Connecticut Whale used in preparing this story.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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