Noora Raty plays men’s hockey in Finland; Shannon Szabados set to return to Columbus

Noora Raty

Olympic bronze medalist Noora Raty starred as she became the first Finnish woman to play in a men’s professional hockey league Saturday. Raty saved 30 of 31 shots in her debut, a 5-1 victory.

Raty joins other Olympians — including American Angela Ruggiero and Canadian skater Hayley Wickenheiser and goalies Manon Rheaume and Shannon Szabados — to play in men’s leagues around the world.

Neither Rheaume — according to this stat log — nor Szabados earned professional shutouts, though. Szabados, who won gold at the last two Olympics, re-signed with the Columbus Cottonmouths of the Southern Professional Hockey League for the upcoming season after playing two games with the club last season.

Szabados’ season starts Oct. 24, giving Raty more than a month-long head start to notch that first shutout.

Raty, 25, said at the Sochi Olympics that she was ready to retire from the sport if she couldn’t find a suitable, competitive league. She starred at the University of Minnesota, helping the team to a 41-0 record and NCAA Championship in her senior year in 2012-13.

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