Ivana Bilic second casualty to NWHL salary cuts

BROOKLYN, NY - OCTOBER 25: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white.) helmets belonging to the New York Riveters of the National Womens Hockey League are placed on the boards prior to the game against the Connecticut Whale at the Aviator Sports and Event Center on October 25, 2015 in Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Connecticut Whale held their home opener this past weekend, and it would end up being defenseman Ivana Bilic’s last as a member of the team.

On Monday the NWHL announced Bilic has opted to leave the league in the wake of the salary cuts.

“We hoped every player would stay with us, but we knew there could be departures after the announcement of necessary salary reductions, and we respect and understand those decisions,” said Commissioner Dani Rylan in a press release. “Ivana is an outstanding player and person and was a welcome addition to our league this season. We wish her all the best.”

This was Bilic’s first season in the NWHL after playing four years at Bemidji State. She signed a one-year, $14,000 contract with the Connecticut Whale in July.

The Coquitlam, B.C. native’s future plans are unknown.

Bilic is the second player to leave the NWHL due to salary cuts. Morgan Fritz-Ward was the first to ‘retire.’

The Whale and New York Riveters play one final game this coming Sunday before the league goes on a planned four week hiatus.

What most appear to be waiting for is seeing who will return to the NWHL following the break in play.

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Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter!