New Hartford's Annika Zalewski will skate in Buffalo once again.
Zalewski, who finished her senior season as a three-time captain on Colgate University's women's hockey team this spring, agreed to terms to play professionally with the Buffalo Beauts of the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL) Thursday.
Colgate captain and@NicholsSchool grad,@nikazalewski will see you at@HARBORCTR in the fall!pic.twitter.com/e8IbzZMOQU— Buffalo Beauts (@BuffaloBeauts)June 14, 2018
The 2014 graduate of Buffalo's Nichols School starred on the Vikings' nationally recognized prep hockey team. She tweeted Thursday how she was "So excited to be returning to Buffalo" upon the announcement. In August, Zalewski became the first Colgate women's hockey player to be drafted into the NWHL when the defending champion Beauts selected her with the 14th overall pick.
"I'm really excited to sign my first professional contract with the Buffalo Beauts," Zalewski said in a news release. "It's an honor to be joining such a tremendous organization, and I'm looking forward to the start of the season!"
Zalewski comes from a hockey family. Her older brothers Mike and Steven both played professionally for Straubing Tigers of the German hockey league Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) in 2018. Mike also is a former Utica Comets player.
Familiar faces in Julianna Iafallo and Savanna Harmon each signed with the Beauts Thursday. Iafallo is an Eden native and Ohio State grad who was high school teammates with Zalewski. Harmon played on the Clarkson team that defeated Colgate 2-1 in overtime of the national championship game in March.
“These three players bring valuable leadership and a winning pedigree with them from the collegiate level,” Beauts general manager Nik Fattey said in a news release. “It’s unique for us to be able to add captains from three of the four teams from last year’s NCAA Frozen Four. All three players have elite skill and are very hard workers, and we are excited about the impact they will have on our organization”
A 5-foot-10 forward, Zalewski registered 38 goals and 46 assists in 131 games at Colgate, helping the Raiders turn their program around, culminating into the best season in program history with a 34-6-1 record and NCAA Championship game appearance.