Vinkle Brings Strong Two-way Play, Winning Record to Beauts

by Hannah Bevis

The Beauts have had an aggressive offseason so far, signing 23 players this summer. One of the team’s new signings is Cassidy Vinkle, and while this will be her first season in Buffalo, Vinkle has a resume that points to her playing a big role for the Beauts.

The 23-year-old has two championships to her name already. Vinkle won two NCAA championships with the Clarkson Golden Knights, and she learned a lot about herself as a player during her time there.

“My time at Clarkson was amazing. My teammates, our coaches and staff, the professors, and the community all helped make my four years the best they could be,” said Vinkle. “Playing hockey there made me a much more well-rounded player and taught me so many lessons on and off the ice.

That well-roundedness is what made Beauts’ general manager Nate Oliver go after the 5’7” forward. Vinkle’s offensive prowess and her strength at both ends of the ice - something he says is pretty rare when it comes to top-level forwards - was a big draw for a Beauts team that’s looking to strengthen its forward core.

“What I like most about Vinkle in terms of what she does on the ice is that she is a two-way center that plays first-line minutes. That’s not very common,” said Oliver. “With Cassidy…we definitely see her as a top-6 forward, if not our topmost center. While we know that she is highly dependable in her own end, we see her as being the type of center that’ll create a good chunk of offense as well. She is an excellent blend in that way.”

The same potential that Oliver sees in the Belleville, ON native was one of the reasons Vinkle decided to sign with Buffalo this offseason. The Beauts have been known in the past as a gritty, never give up kind of team. This offseason, Oliver and head coach Rhea Coad have looked to keep that same team culture while adding new, skilled players to their lineup. The addition of players like Jenna Suokko from Finland and 2021 draft picks Anjelica Diffendal and Emilie Harley, bolstered by returners including blueliner Marie-Jo Pellitier, forward Autumn MacDougall, and netminder Carly Jackson (who Vinkle says has been a big help during her transition to the pro level), the Beauts are primed for a breakout season.

“I joined the Beauts because I see a lot of potential for the upcoming season. I like the culture the team is building and it’s something I want to contribute to,” said Vinkle. “I look forward to being a piece of the puzzle and helping bring the Isobel Cup back to Buffalo.”

Outside of hockey, Vinkle is passionate about helping others stay in peak physical shape - she’s a fitness trainer for her day job, a career she said was inspired by working with her strength trainer at Clarkson, Tad Johnson, as well as Jackie Jarrell at Gold Performance training. While earning her masters degree at New England College, she also served as an assistant coach for the team.

“I chose New England College because I wanted to help build their program. I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted to do after I graduated, so I decided to get my MBA while coaching. I was the graduate assistant at New England College, so NEC paid for my masters, living, etc. and I was assistant coach for the hockey team,” said Vinkle. “It was a great two years and good experience for coaching down the road.”

That experience at all levels of the game - as a player, coach, and fitness trainer - makes Vinkle just as well-rounded off the ice as she is on it. Head coach Rhea Coad is looking forward to what Vinkle will bring to the Beauts this upcoming season.

“Signing Cassidy was huge for us. Her hockey IQ along with her skill are going to add creativity to our o-zone play,” said Coad. “From the first time I talked to Cassidy on the phone, I knew she was a Beaut!”

Beauts Bites: 

Favorite food? 
Pregame -a chicken caesar wrap. Otherwise - chips and dip.

Go-to hockey celly?
Typical - stick in the air and then hugging a teammate

Are you superstitious, or just a lil' stitious? 
Just a lil’stitious. I like my stick freshly taped and my skates tied perfectly.

What team are you most looking forward to playing? 
Toronto. I know a lot girls who play for the Six and it is closer to my hometown than Buffalo.

Who are your dream linemates? 
My dream linemates are Kelly Mariani, who was my roommate and linemate at Clarkson, and Connor McDavid…for obvious reasons.