Friday afternoon, the NWHL announced the resignation of head coach Jake Mastel from the Connecticut Whale. Mastel resigned Thursday night just before practice; a reason for his resignation still has not been given by the league. Mastel has not been made available for comment.
Heather Linstad, the former Northeastern and University of Connecticut women’s ice hockey coach will take on the position for the remainder of the season, joining assistant coach Lisa Giovanelli Zuba on the bench, who has been with the team all season. Giovanelli Zuba led the Whale in practice Thursday night absent a head coach.
“I’m very excited for this opportunity to work with such a talented group of athletes,” said Heather Linstad in the league’s press release Friday. “They have clearly established a winning tradition early on in Connecticut, and I hope to build on that leading into playoffs.”
Linstad resigned from her most recent coaching post at UConn. It was alleged in a lawsuit against the school that Linstad removed a player from the team for not being “stable enough” following an alleged rape.
Today’s Slapshot has reached out to the league for comment on said appointment. We will update this article when warranted.
The Whale are first in the league with an 11-2 record and a winning percentage of .846, trailing only the Boston Pride in goal-differential with a +14 to the Pride’s +23. While all four teams will make the playoffs the Whale will make a strong bid for the Isobel Cup, the league’s end-of-season trophy.
The Whale will resume league play following the All-Star Game break this Sunday at home against the Boston Pride this Sunday.