Current and Former Yale Women's Ice Hockey Players Remain Active With Various Causes
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – It has been nearly a year since Yale women's ice hockey center Mandi Schwartz '10 (1988-2011) passed away after battling cancer for more than two years. Yet she continues to inspire efforts by her Bulldog teammates to help others.
After the final game of the 2011-12 season at Harvard on Saturday afternoon Feb. 18, the Yale team traveled North instead of heading right home to New Haven. The Bulldogs attended a Boston Blades Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) game in Reading, Mass., that served as a fundraiser for the Mandi Schwartz Foundation -- the charity that Yale senior captain Aleca Hughes (Westwood, Mass.) started in Mandi's memory.
Donations for the foundation were accepted at the game, and t-shirts from the most recent "White Out for Mandi" (the Yale team's annual fundraiser at Ingalls Rink) were available as well. Hughes dropped the ceremonial first puck and sophomore forward Patricia McGauley (Wilcox, Sask.), who is from the same home town and high school as Mandi, sang the National Anthem. The Blades' roster features two players with Yale connections -- Bray Ketchum '11 and assistant coach Jessica Koizumi. Koizumi had a pair of goals and Ketchum had an assist as the Blades beat Burlington 6-0.
The Yale women's ice hockey team is also once again working with the Yale football team and the Yale field hockey team on the Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive at Yale. These drives, held annually every Spring since 2009, have added 2,500 potential matches for patients in need of transplants to the Be The Match registry. Further details about this year's drive will be announced shortly.
For her efforts in particular, Hughes has been named as one of five finalists nationally for the Hockey Humanitarian Award. The winner of that award will be announced at the NCAA Men's Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla., on Friday Apr. 6.
In addition to the efforts of current team members, former Bulldog Berit Johnson '10 is training to run the Lavaman Triathlon in Hawaii on Apr. 1 in Mandi's memory. Johnson is part of a group of 11 Yale alums taking part in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's "Team in Training" program. Throughout various locations in the world these alums are participating in a sports endurance event to honor and benefit individuals battling blood cancers.
"There are a few things that anyone who knew Mandi would have told you about her: she loved her family and friends and always put others ahead of herself; her work ethic was unparalleled; and she had an unbelievable passion for hockey that was truly inspiring. These are the things I think about when I am training for the Lavaman Triathlon and raising money in Mandi's memory," Johnson said.
For more information about Johnson's efforts, visit http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/lavatri12/bjohnsoml6
Mandi's younger brother Jaden just signed with the NHL's St. Louis Blues. He was a first-round draft choice by St. Louis in 2010.