- The goalies for the NWHL's Buffalo Beauts became known for wearing their equipment everywhere. In signing her new contract, Kelsey Neumann upped the game for her fellow netminders.
It’s no secret that goalies are a off-beat bunch, and when it comes to the Buffalo Beauts, the team’s netminders like to kick it up a notch.
Take, for instance, Beauts second-year puckstopper Kelsey Neumann, who signed her new one-year contract with the team this week while in full equipment, the latest example of the NWHL champs showing that life is much more fun in goalie gear.
“So, all last season... me and Amanada Leveille started it—more so Amanda,” Neumann says with a laugh. “When she was announced before she coming to Buffalo, she posted a picture of herself walking the dog in her goalie equipment. so then it turned into us doing these shenanigans throughout the year. When I was signing, I texted her and I was like ‘I’m gonna do it in my goalie equipment!’ and see what happens and make it fun for the fans and everything.”
Neumann and Leveille teamed up with Brianne McLaughlin to form a three-headed goalie monster fondly known as ‘McLevMan‘ that reveled in having fun on and off the ice in full regalia.
“The whole ‘McLevMan’ persona really brings out my personality a lot and I think it also brings out Amanda’s,” Neumann says.
There's a whole lot of unconventional in 26-year-old's career already. She trained with former Soviet great Vladislav Tretiak as a child—“He's always been an important part in my goaltending career,” she says of the man she lists as her favorite athlete. Her NCAA career took her to Clarkson and SUNY Plattsburgh before quitting prior to her senior season. She joined a women's team in North Carolina near her parents and then moved to Buffalo to join the Beauts.
"My journey is a little different than some of the bigger names in the league," she says.
For Neumann, the goofiness is just part of what she brings to the table. She's also an active volunteer with the Buffalo Bisons youth team when she's not teaching at Journey’s End Refugee Services, Inc., where she works with students who are high school-aged and into their mid-20s, never having been to school or knowing English.
“There's totally more layers to me, but ‘McLevMan’ definitely helps bring out the personality,” Neumann says.
With a new contract in hand—glove?—Neumann will have more opportunity to share her character with NWHL fans in Buffalo and beyond. With McLaughlin’s retirement after the Isobel Cup-winning run, the fun and games are being left with Neumann and Leveille, who are already carrying on the spirit.
“I think she left big shoes to fill,” Neumann says. “She really helped both of us come into our own on and off the ice last year, with her interaction and having her as a role model and a veteran in the league. I think me and Amanda are ready for the challenge.”