Bulldogs Honored by New Haven Register for Humanitarian and Community Service Efforts

Yale and Princeton pose together after the "White Out for Mandi" game. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Yale and Princeton pose together after the "White Out for Mandi" game. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Team Named Newspaper's Dave Solomon Memorial Sports Persons of the Year for 2011

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – In recognition of their humanitarian and community service efforts, the Yale women's ice hockey team has been selected as the New Haven Register's Dave Solomon Memorial Sports Persons of the Year for 2011. The team was featured on the front page of the newspaper's sports section on Jan. 1.

The Bulldogs' efforts centered around their teammate Mandi Schwartz '10 (1988-2011), who passed away in April after battling cancer for more than two years. The team has helped organize a pair of major annual events at Yale in her name. The Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive at Yale, held each spring with help from the football and field hockey teams, has added more than 2,500 potential marrow donors to the Be The Match registry for patients with life-threatening illnesses. At least six genetic matches for patients in need of transplants have been identified through the Bulldogs' efforts.

The team also has held a "White Out for Mandi" fundraiser game at Ingalls Rink each of the past two falls. Those games have raised more than $40,000. Yale's captain, senior forward Aleca Hughes (Westwood, Mass.), has started a charitable organization, the Mandi Schwartz Foundation, to help keep Mandi's legacy of helping others alive. In addition to the White Out, the team is raising money for the foundation by participating -- along with Yale's men's ice hockey team -- in the season-long "Goals for Good" campaign. Through that campaign, ECAC Hockey teams compete against each other to see who can raise the most money for charity.

The team has also participated in numerous other efforts. Last spring they supported the "Do it for Daron" campaign to raise awareness of youth mental health issues in honor of Daron Richardson, a Canadian hockey player who took her own life at the age of 14 in 2010. Yale sophomore forward Jenna Ciotti (Ottawa, Ont.), played for Daron's father, former NHL player Luke Richardson.

The Bulldogs also continue to spend time with their adopted teammate Giana, a local 10-year-old girl who is recovering from surgery for a brain tumor. Giana was the first adoptee in the "Bulldog Buddies" program that pairs Yale teams with young patients at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Junior forward Alyssa Zupon (Basking Ridge, N.J.) helped coordinate those efforts.

The Sports Person of the Year award is now named after Dave Solomon, the New Haven Register sportswriter who died in a one-car accident last August. He had written poignantly about both Mandi Schwartz and the Yale team's adoption of Giana.

The complete article by the Register's Chip Malafronte can be read by clicking here. More information about Mandi Schwartz is available by clicking here.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity