North Dakota’s Ryleigh Houston Transferring To Bulldogs

North Dakota’s second-leading scorer from 2016-17 is transferring to Minnesota Duluth for 2017-18.

Freshman forward Ryleigh Houston of Winnipeg, Manitoba, announced her intention to transfer to the Bulldogs on Wednesday via her Instagram account. She posted eight goals and 18 assists a year ago in Grand Forks.

Houston’s 26 points ranked second among WCHA freshmen last year. She was a member of the WCHA All-Rookie Team.

“I’m very humbled and excited to say that I will have the opportunity to further my education and hockey career at the University of Minnesota Duluth,” Houston wrote.

Houston would have been the Fighting Hawks top returning scorer in 2017-18, but the University of North Dakota announced in March that its women’s hockey program was being cut, effective immediately. Attempts to keep the program alive have since been squashed as the university continues to stand by its decision.

“As one door closes, I am grateful for another one to open,” Houston wrote. “In saying this, I am very proud of being a part of the University of North Dakota women’s hockey program. If I had to do it all over again for just one year with the incredible program and coaching staff that once was, I would. Nothing will replace the friendships and memories I made in Grand Forks and I know they will last a lifetime.”

Houston was a member of the Canadian Women’s Under-18 National Team at both the 2015 and 2016 IIHF Women’s U-18 World Championships. Because North Dakota is cutting its program, Houston will be eligible to play for the Bulldogs right away in the fall.

According to a running list kept by the Grand Forks Herald, Houston is the sixth Hawk to announce she is transferring to a new school.

In addition to Houston, the Bulldogs gained one former North Dakota recruit in Centennial junior forward Gabbie Hughes.