USWNT standouts Brianna Decker and Kacey Bellamy sign with CWHL's Calgary Inferno
After several United States women's national team members signed in the NWHL this offseason, a pair of gold-medal-winning skaters are returning to play in Canada.
Top-line forward Brianna Decker and defender Kacey Bellamy signed with the Calgary Inferno of the CWHL on Tuesday, joining former Boston Pride teammate Hilary Knight with the jump north. Knight made headlines last season, signing with the CWHL's Les Canadiennes de Montreal after the Olympics following two seasons in the NWHL.
Both skaters played with the Boston Pride in the NWHL during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons before missing last season to play with the Olympic team.
"Calgary was an easy choice, as it offers so much -- great group of players, world-class facilities, competitive coach and a beautiful city," Decker said. "I'm extremely excited to get going and continue to grow the game."
Decker was a part of the top line with Knight to lead the Pride to an Isobel Cup in the NWHL's 2015-16 inaugural season and helped the team return to the title game in 2017 with a one-loss regular season.
She was named the NWHL MVP in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.
Bellamy was a top-pairing defender with the Pride and one of several key losses on the blue line in the past two seasons, with Blake Bolden signing in Switzerland before last year.
"To have the opportunity to play for [head coach] Shannon Miller is a complete honor," Bellamy said. "I think I am most excited about meeting the team. It will be special to share this year beside players I have competed against for so many years and to try to win the Clarkson Cup."
Multiple Team USA players have signed in the States, primarily with Buffalo and Minnesota, and Amanda Kessel returned to Newark with the defending Isobel Cup champion Metropolitan Riveters.
The CWHL began paying players for the first time last season, and several players have returned to the decade-plus-old league.
The signings come a week after 12-year CWHL commissioner Brenda Andress stepped down and the dissolving of the Vanke Rays, one of two CWHL teams in China to debut last season.