Chuli was a second round pick of the now-defunct Vanke Rays in the 2017 CWHL draft. She played in 27 games, tied for most in the league with Boston Blades starter Lauren Dahm. Although she helped the team to a hot start, her final record was 14 wins (including four shutouts) and 11 losses. She posted a save percentage of .913 with a goals against average of 2.94.
After four years in the NCAA as the starter for the University of Connecticut, Chuli took a year off for surgery and rehab before joining the CWHL. She has international experience as well, winning a gold medal with Team Canada in 2012 at the Women’s Under-18 World Championships.
With last season’s starter Sonja van der Bliek gone to the SDHL and Sami Jo Small transitioning to GM, having a proven CWHL starter like Chuli become available in free agency is nothing less than a gift. While there are some strong goalies available to the Furies in this year’s draft, such as Shea Tiley and Elijah Milne-Price, the transition to the professional level is always a bit of a question. This signing should give Furies fans some peace of mind as they look to the season ahead.
Elaine Chuli is the last of Vanke’s international players from last season to sign with a team for the 2018-19 season. Three international Kunlun players (Shiann Darkangelo, Taylor Marchin and Kelli Stack) remain unsigned.
Still on the horizon for the Furies are their three draft pre-signings. There are some very nice options in this year’s draft class, so we’ll see what the GM can bring home.