‘Though she be but little, she is fierce’

Metropolitan Riveters defender and Philadelphia native Cassie Dunne is making a name for herself in the National Women’s Hockey League’s closest market to Souderton. She plays at ProSkate Arena in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey.

In the 2019-20 season Dunne has transitioned into a playing role for the Metropolitan Riveters as compared to her role with the Connecticut Whale in the 2017-18 season.
It was hard for Dunne to break into the National Women’s Hockey League [NWHL] in her rookie season.
“I think it was difficult breaking into the whale as a rookie and we had a lot of returning players,” Dunne said.
According to the NWHL website, Dunne played five games in the 2017-18 season with the Whale.
“She was immediately thrust into a role [on the Riveters] where she needed to be that stay at home defense,” director of NWHLPA Anya Packer said.
Packer, the current color commentator for the Riveters and former teammate of Dunne, has watched her game grow.
“Watching her go from a player that wasn’t playing on a team that then transitioned into a playing role. It boosted her confidence,” Packer said.
Dunne played club college hockey for Penn State University’s American Collegiate Hockey Association team.
“Something that club hockey players in the United States are able to do is go to the world university games,” Dunne said.
According to the NWHL website Dunne was selected as co-captain of the U.S. Women’s National University team that won bronze.“My senior year I was selected to go to try out and [I] went to try out,” Dunne said. “I made the team. It was that experience that made me fall in love with hockey all over again.”
Dunne’s teammates praise her positivity.
“I enjoy playing with her because she communicates well,” Dunne’s defensive partner Nichelle Simon said, “and she’s always positive on the bench.”
Simon competed to be on American Ninja Warrior in 2017.
“[Competing on American Ninja Warrior] also put me in a position to be able to make the NWHL team that I’m playing for now because I really learned a lot about how to train and compete at a high level,” Simon said.
According to Dunne, Simon “still has all that strength” from when she competed to be on American Ninja Warrior.
“She is like my very strong second half,” Dunne said. “Every day I’m in the gym, I’m like, I need to get just as strong as my defensive partner.”
“I think that [the NWHL] would see a really great response to starting a team [in Philadelphia,]” Dunne said. “The fans in Philadelphia, they want to support anything and everything that’s great, and that brings passion and that brings community.”
Flyers fans “want to be a part of what hockey means now,” according to Dunne.
“You look at the fans that go to the Flyers games that they go for You Can Play Night, they go for Pride Night,” Dunne said. “There’s all of that inclusivity.”
With the Riveters franchise moving around, the NWHL has been able to test different markets.
“I think Philly would be a tremendous market,” Packer said, “especially with it being so close to the Southern New Jersey rink that the Riveters are playing in right now.”
According to the NWHL website Dunne is 5 feet 3 inches tall.
“I think [defending as a smaller player is] a lot about body position,” Dunne said, “and then it’s a lot about confidence and I think that your size and your strength, especially as a defenseman, is really important.”
Now, Dunne is getting more ice time as a Riveter compared to with the Whales.
“I think she’s done a good job at honing that quiet smooth defender style,” Packer said.