Looking to bolster their blue line, the Whitecaps on Tuesday signed defender Sydney Baldwin, a two-time NCAA champion for the Gophers and a finalist for the 2018 Patty Kazmaier Award.

Baldwin, 23, spent the 2018-19 season with EHV Sabres Wien of Vienna, Austria, in Europe’s Elite Women’s Hockey League. She led Sabres defenders in scoring with 19 points in 10 games and helped her team reach the league final.

“I am incredibly passionate about the game of hockey and am excited to continue my journey on the ice and be part of the Whitecaps,’’ Baldwin said. “My goal is to start the year strong and give the fans entertaining games and help the team defend the Isobel Cup.’’

Baldwin had highly decorated careers with both the Gophers and Minnetonka High School. She helped the Gophers win NCAA championships in 2015 and ’16. As a senior in 2017-18, Baldwin had 12 goals and 20 assists on her way to first-team All-America honors and player of the year and defensive player of the year accolades in the WCHA. In high school, she led Minnetonka to three consecutive state championships (2011, ’12 and ’13) and was named Minnesota’s Ms. Hockey in 2014.

“Sydney was a great star in high school and college,’’ said Jack Brodt, Whitecaps general manager and co-head coach. “We have no doubt she’ll be an outstanding player in the NWHL and leader of our defense.’’

The Whitecaps open their exhibition season on Sept. 22 against the Gophers at Ridder Arena and their regular season with an Oct. 12-13 series against the Metropolitan Riveters at TRIA Rink.

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