The Rosie the Riveter mascot on the jersey of the National Women's Hockey League franchise located in the shadow of New York City means a little more to Westporter Rebecca Russo. Trying to make her name both on the ice and in sports as a career, Russo will double as a professional athlete and one of the pioneers out to prove she can ‘do it.’

The WNHL hadn't played its first game when Russo arrived on campus at Boston University after playing for prep school power Shattuck St. Mary's. Fast forward four years and Russo has a roster spot with the Riveters.

Prior to the launch of the WNHL in 2015, women in the sport didn’t have much to look forward to after four years of college. Now the four-team league that employees close to 100 female athletes.

"It’s like wow, you have something to work and get to a pro league which is unbelievable for women’s hockey," Russo said. "I think it’s just really exciting. I can't wait until that first game."

Russo was inked to a one-year contract June 28 and has been training with the club since. All four teams in the league - Boston, Buffalo, Connecticut and New York - are in the Northeast.

The season for Russo starts Saturday, October 8th when the Riveters take on Boston.

Russo graduated from Boston University in June and soon went to a camp that the Riveters were holding. Head coach Chad Wiseman and his staff saw the potential of the forward and wanted to bring her aboard to fill one of the final two roster spots.

"She has energy and speed," Wiseman said. "On the ice she has a great skill level, but her speed level made her stand out among the strongest players (at the camp)."

In 144 games in Boston University, Russo notched 37 goals and 48 assists. Steadily improving in each season, she scored 38 points (15 goals, 23 assists) in 39 games, including a seven-game point streak.

Russo has trained for the past several off seasons with a personal trainer who works with NHL players, which has resulted in more explosive movements on the ice.

Wiseman said Russo will serve an important role to the club, which finished bottom of the league a year ago. A dynamic forward who can thrive on both the power play and the penalty kill, Russo will get the opportunity to test her skills against some of the best players in the world.

"I think she going to play in a lot of important situations," Wiseman said.

"She has speed to play with some of the top players; she has the offensive ability to be on the power play and make a great impact on the penalty kill."

Russo also works for Major League Baseball Network as she aims to break into professional sports. She hopes to become a broadcaster in the pro ranks. Due to her hectic schedule with the Terriers, opportunities were few and far between.

"Playing college hockey set me back a little bit," Russo said. "I couldn't get those internships taking classes and playing hockey. "Since I got this job this is my foot in the door."

She is living the dream now though. She lives in an apartment with several teammates, trains with the Riveters twice a week and has a short commute to her career.

“It’s going be a battle out there,” Russo said. “These are the top players in the country; I’m really looking forward to challenging myself as a player.”

rlacey@bcnnew.com