It’s been a very busy week for our team.
First off, it was our last week of classes, before our two week reading period. Many of us had a million papers and projects due. Sleep was definitely minimal. This also meant it was our last week of organized workouts with our strength coach Joe Mahr. We had our final end of season testing on Wednesday and our final workout with Joe Friday.
On Wednesday night our University held a memorial service at Calhoun College where friends and teammates paid tribute to Mandi Schwartz. Juniors Aleca Hughes and Heather Grant read readings from the Bible; Psalm 139:7-14 and 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. Seniors Lili Rudis, Bray Ketchum, Jackee Snikeris, and Sam MacLean put together a speech about how Mandi became ill and also about how incredible of a person/teammate she will always be remembered for. Freshmen Patricia McGauley who is from the same home town as Mandi, sang “Ave Maria” a capella. It was beautiful to witness.
On Thursday from 11-4 our team was joined by the football and field hockey team to hold our annual bone marrow drive in Commons. This year we called it the Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registry Drive. Nearly 900 new people signed up, bringing the total to more than 1,600 signed up in Mandi’s name. It was great to see the turnout as well as our entire team wearing their jerseys volunteering at the event!
On Friday night it was our teams’ end of the season banquet. The Master of Ceremonies was our Bulldog Buddy, Giana Cardonita who did a fantastic job keeping the
program orderly as well as keeping the evening light with her adorable sense of humor. Best joke of hers, “Who organized this shindig on Good Friday? I can’t even eat any meat tonight!”
There was a hilarious slideshow put together by freshmen Jenn Lawrence in which she compared each
player and staff to an animal. Lauren Davis won the Wendy Blanning Award for Most Improved, Aleca Hughes won the Mandi Schwartz Award for courage, grit and dedication, Jackee Snikeris won the Most Valuable Player Award for the third straight year also winning the Bingham Cup for academic recognition, the
3 v 3 tournament presentation was given to the Pylons (Sam, Paige, Tara, and Aurora) and lastly, the coaches award was given to all four seniors. Other highlights were Captain Sam MacLean handing over the traditional gavel to next season’s elected captain, Aleca Hughes, Coach Zumi’s video highlighting this seasons good times and bloopers, amazing senior speech in which the four seniors outlined the entire year of memories, Coach Uk’s season in review speech, player gifts to coaches, varsity gifts, senior gifts, and lastly a fun video for the seniors. Alum, and Yale’s only Women’s Hockey Olympian,
Helen Resor, made an appearance and did a fantastic speech presenting the MVP award for Snik. Former ’10 alum Caroline Murphy presented the Mandi Schwartz award via video from Germany.
It was a great night and apparent to others outside of the hockey team that were there to witness how close of a team we are.
We want to use this opportunity to say
thanks to many people. Thank you to our Athletic Director-Tom Beckett for helping our team make the trip to Wilcox Sask for Mandi’s funeral. It meant the world to our entire team for us to be a part of that! Thanks to Coach Paul for everything he has contributed to Yale hockey for 4 seasons (he has stepped down as our
assistant coach) You will be missed! Another thanks to Nina Szemis, our athletic trainer who had her hands full with taking care of all of our injuries this season (Nina is going on to South Carolina next year). Good bye to the seniors-thank you for building this foundation and setting the bar for Yale Women’s Hockey!….and for those returning we know we have huge shoes to fill. Training is number one priority this summer so that we can be the fittest team in the ECAC. Finally-thanks to everyone staff, parents, and fans for making this season so memorable!