by Paul Peck, Buffalo Sports Page

Shannon Szabados said it.  Buffalo Beauts Co-Head Coach Craig Muni and General Manager Nik Fattey nodded in agreement.  When it comes to women’s professional hockey, Buffalo is now the destination of choice.

That was confirmed by the signing of Szabados. The two-time Canadian Olympic gold medalist signed with the team on Wednesday, and talked about the decision at a media gathering Thursday during the Sabres Developmental Camp.

A move to Ohio to live with her boyfriend made the geography work.  But beyond that, it was a decision based on what she’s from the franchise.

“It’s an incredible feeling, an honor. What they’ve done with the new ownership and the kind of a way they’re taking the league and women’s hockey, it was exciting for me,” said Szabados.

She will team with recently signed USA Olympian Nicole Hensley to give the Beauts one of the top goaltending tandems in the NWHL.  It’s just another recent signing by the team, bringing in some of the top players in women’s hockey.

There are a few obvious reasons why.  The Beauts are now owned by Pegula Sports & Entertainment, and that tie to an NHL ownership group has elevated the team’s stature in the sport.  The Harborcenter and adjacent facilities are also a draw.  So is the high level of coaching from NHL veterans Muni and Ric Seiling.

For the 31 year old Szabados, the desire to play was still strong, despite the recent disappointing Olympic loss to the USA.

“I didn’t know what the plan was, whether to retire or to play or to play for fun.  After the Olympics, I missed having the skates on and I wasn’t ready to hang it up.  Buffalo was the closest team, and where they are headed sold me on it.”

The team has signed a number of other veterans, including many with Olympic experience.  They appear to be all-in to build a championship team.

“It’s good for women’s hockey, and I’m excited to be here.”


Paul Peck

Paul Peck is sports broadcaster with over 25 years experience in TV and Radio. He served as sports anchor, reporter, and producer at WIVB for 24 years. In that role, he covered all four Buffalo Bills Super Bowls, the Buffalo Sabres in the Stanley Cup Finals, the NCAA Basketball Tournament and the Daytona 500. He has been the Voice of the UB Bulls Football for 17 seasons, in addition to host of Bulls Athletics TV & Radio shows. Peck also served as the sideline reporter for the Buffalo Bills Football Network, host of the bowling show "Beat The Champ" and announces college basketball for ESPN 3 and Time Warner Cable Sports Channel. He has also been the Master of Ceremonies for the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, one of the largest sports banquets in WNY.

Paul is also involved in the local business community, having been a financial advisor at AXA Advisors, and is currently the Vice President of Sports Development at VSP Graphics Group.

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