WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Olympic gold medalist and Westfield native Kacey Bellamy has signed a one-year contract to play for the Connecticut Whale hockey team in the 2023-24 Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) season.

Bellamy is an eight-time World Champion with the U.S. National Women’s Team and will make a return to the ice two years after retiring from the Olympic team. Bellamy was an alternative captain of the team in 2018 when they won the gold medal along with silver medals in the 2010 and 2014 Winter Games.

“I am beyond excited to join the Connecticut Whale family,” said Bellamy. “The professionalism, diligence, and care they showed throughout the negotiation process made all the difference in my decision. I had the benefit of watching each PHF team in depth this year within my scouting role, and I believe Connecticut has all the pieces in place to win an Isobel Cup. I want to thank them for giving me the opportunity to come back to the game I love and have missed, and I am excited to meet the team and start building toward winning a championship together. Stepping away from the game brought me a new perspective, and I was able to see life in a different light. The thought of playing again has been on my mind for a while, but I wanted to get a feel for the league on a more personal, behind the scenes level. It has exceeded my expectations in all aspects, and I am tremendously proud to restart my hockey career in the PHF.”

Bellamy added that she is excited to be able to play for a team close to her home, “The opportunity to play in front of my nieces and nephews will give them a glimpse into the life of a professional athlete, and I hope it sparks a dream for them and others. My goal is to grow women’s hockey further, be a positive role model, and show little girls that they can live out their dreams for a long time. None of this would be possible without the support of my Global/Maples co-workers Joe Callahan and Trevor Smith. They are one of the best teams that I have ever been part of, and they helped me immensely with my transition into a new career. They have supported me with this decision since day one and I am grateful for their guidance throughout the process.”

The Connecticut Whale team finished last season with a 14-8-2 record and made their first Isobel Cup appearance in the previous season. Bellamy joins the roster of forwards Taylor Girard, Kennedy Marchment, Melissa Samoskevich, and defenders Tori Howran and Allie Munroe.

“We are excited for Kacey to bring her talents, leadership, and passion for the game to The Pod,” said Colton Orr, Whale head coach. “She is a massive addition to our defensive core and will be a big part of continuing to build our team culture and our quest for an Isobel Cup! I know she can’t wait to get back out on the ice with her new teammates, and we can’t wait to see her in the green and blue.”