The NWHL International Camp held this weekend in Boston features two players from Japan, Belyakova from Russia, in addition to many players from Canada and some from the United States. Belyakova signed with the Riveters during camp and the Beantown Classic games taking place this weekend in Marlborough, Massachusetts, for which the NWHL has assembled teams to compete in the showcase. This marks the Riveters' second signing of a non-North-American skater, following Janine Weber (Austria).
Belyakova is 20 years old, from Moscow, and has been a competitor with the Russian National Team since the age of 15. She won the bronze medal at the IIHF Women's World Championships in 2013. Most recently, she earned the gold medal in the Winter Universiade in Granada, Spain with Team Russia, defeating Canada and handing them their first ever FISU (International University Sports Federation) loss in women's hockey. She's considered an offensively-minded forward who is creative with the puck, both in terms of scoring and setting up her teammates.
In an interview on the NWHL's website, Belyakova expressed that playing hockey in North America has been her dream since childhood, due to the quality of competition and challenge involved.
The Riveters have signed five other forwards and one defender, and have until August 17 to finalize their roster.
Congrats on achieving your dream, Lyudmila! See you in October.