Credit: Stock image | Pixabay

Former University of Maine women’s ice hockey right winger Audra Richards signed a contract Monday to play for the Metropolitan Riveters of the National Women’s Hockey League.

The Riveters are based in Newark, New Jersey.

Richards, a native of Maplewood, Minnesota, registered 45 goals and 25 assists in 132 career games for the Black Bears before graduating in 2016.

She has continued to play hockey in several leagues.

“Each game and practice reminds me of how much I miss meaningful competitive hockey and it gets me more and more excited to be part of a professional league,” Richards said in a news release. “Seeing the NWHL come to my home state of Minnesota made me realize I wasn’t ready for my hockey career to end so I’m incredibly excited and honored to join the Riveters.

“The NWHL is truly doing something special for the sport that has defined me as a person my entire life. I could not be happier to represent such an amazing program,” she added. “Signing a contract to be a pro women’s hockey player was one of the most exciting moments I’ve ever experienced and I’m even more excited to throw on the jersey and play.”

Richards has been an elementary school physical education teacher in Minnesota and is also coaching varsity high school girls hockey, soccer, and track and field.

The Riveters won the NWHL regular season title this past season with a 13-3 record and went on to capture the Isobel Cup (playoff championship).

The NWHL was a four-team league but will add a fifth team, the Minnesota Whitecaps, this coming season. The other teams are the Boston Pride, the Buffalo Beauts and the Connecticut Whale.

UMaine has had several players in the league including Brittany Ott, who has played in all three NWHL All-Star games. Ott, who plays for the Boston Pride, was a teammate of Richards at UMaine for one season (2012-13).

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