With amazing acceleration and strong playmaking abilities, Shelby Bram has proven to be more than just a key component in the Buffalo Beauts’ offensive attack. Taking into account that the Beauts boast the highest number of Canadian-born players among all the rosters in the NWHL’s Founders Division, Bram has also become an ambassador for the game, proudly representing the Canadian content in the incipient league.
It is part of a landmark 2015 for Bram which not only saw her graduate from Mercyhurst University, she won a gold medal with Canada’s National U22/Development Team at the Nations Cup. Gaining an invitation to Canada’s National Women’s Team Fall Festival in the autumn, Bram became the first Canadian signed to an NWHL contract to attend the Festival.
Among the notable accomplishments in her remarkable hockey career, Bram has already left a unique mark with the Beauts franchise. During the Beauts’ second contest, one that saw the squad pepper the Connecticut Whale with an astounding 56 shots, Bram would become the first Canadian-born player to log a point in franchise history. In the third period of the October 18 contest, Bram and US national team captain Meghan Duggan would contribute assists on a goal scored by Kelley Steadman. Such a feat represented an exceptional point of pride in her promising NWHL career,
“It means a lot! Just for the fact that I can help my team. If I can help this team win, then that is what I am going to do.”
Bram would follow it up with another historic feat in Beauts franchise history. Once again facing the Connecticut Whale, the November 15 match saw Bram and Duggan continue their strong on-ice chemistry. Both would earn the assists on a third period goal scored by Devon Skeats, who became the first Canadian in Beauts franchise history to score a goal.
An additional aspect of playing with the Beauts that has provided Bram with enjoyment is the chance to give back to the community. As Buffalo represents one of the most loyal markets for women’s hockey in the United States, Bram and her teammates are looking to connect with the community and reciprocate in a profound way.
Such an effort has involved admirable endeavors for charity. Most recently the Beauts held a food drive for the less fortunate. One of the most emotional efforts involved fund raising for breast cancer research, quickly emerging as a staple for many clubs in women’s ice hockey.
Having engaged in numerous Pink at the Rink initiatives when she competed with the Mercyhurst Lakers at the NCAA level, the chance to do so again with the Beauts was important for Bram. In addition to donning stylish black and pink jerseys for the club’s Strides for the Cure event, Bram literally went the extra mile. With several other teammates, Bram engaged in the Making Strides for Cancer Walk earlier in the day.
“I could not be more proud of this organization for their participation in such great events. I hope that we can show everyone that we will do anything we can to show our support!
We also auctioned off our game worn pink jerseys and all proceeds went to a charitable organization… So it just makes you feel good inside.”
Having played with Mercyhurst University (located in nearby Erie, Pennsylvania) from 2011-15, Bram enjoyed a stellar year run that her Bram capture 2013 All-CHA First Team honors and the 2014 College Hockey America Best Defensive Forward. In her final game with the Lakers, a March 6 contest against the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers, Bram would log an assist.
Her initial experience with the Beauts would result in her career coming full circle. Of note, Bram and her Beauts teammates competed in a September 25 exhibition game against the Lakers at the Mercyhurst Ice Centre. Bram would win 10 of 14 faceoffs in a 4-1 final for the Beauts.
“Playing Mercyhurst was kind of surreal. After spending 4 years of my life being on that campus and in that jersey, it was a bittersweet experience. I caught myself cheering for Mercyhurst on a few plays (laughs), than realized I was on the other team!”
The Mercyhurst connection remains strong with the Buffalo Beauts. In addition to goaltender (and fellow Canadian) Amanda Makela suiting up for the Beauts, they are also joined on the team by Kelley Steadman. Having played alongside Steadman in her freshman season at Mercyhurst (2011-12), which also saw Bram play with older sister Bailey, the chance to call Steadman a teammate again at the NWHL level has resulted in some memorable moments with the Beauts, as they also share playing time,
“Playing with Kelley again has been amazing. At school, she was someone who I looked up to. So having the ability to play with her again is great. On top of that, I get to play on her line. With all the talent (that) she possesses, that allows me to become a better player.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”