NORTHFORD, Conn. – The Connecticut Whale of the National Women’s Hockey League, announced that it has signed former Bemidji State University defenseman Ivana Bilic to a contract for the 2016-17 season.
The Coquitlam, British Columbia native capped her collegiate career as the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s 2016 Defensive Player of the Year after tying for sixth among WCHA defensemen with 22 points (3g-19s) and ranking second in the nation in blocked shots (98).
Bilic led the Beavers in points per game (0.67), was atop the team’s assists list with 19 and tied for second in the WCHA in power play points with 11 (2g-9a). Bilic’s play was good enough to earn her a spot on the All-WCHA Third Team for the second time in her career.
The 2015-16 alternate captain finished her BSU career 61 points (13g-48a) in 128 games. She left BSU ranked third all-time among BSU defenders in scoring and third on BSU’s assists by defenseman list.
“Ivana is a solid defenseman who can block a lot of shots,” said Connecticut General Manager Lisa Giovanelli. “She’s a great addition to our defensive core and will make our blue line even stronger.”
The NWHL is a four-team professional women’s hockey league, established in 2015. Connecticut finished 2015-16 season with an 13-5 overall record to finish second, behind Boston, during the regular season.
Bilic is the first former Beaver to earn a professional contract in the NWHL.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).