Forward Leads Bulldogs into 39th Varsity Season
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Junior forward Janelle Ferrara (Winthrop, Mass.) has been elected captain of the Yale women's ice hockey team for the 2015-16 season. Ferrara was selected by a team vote, and was introduced formally at the team's post-season banquet Tuesday Apr. 14 in the Schley Room at Ingalls Rink.
"Simply put, Janelle is a tremendous person," said Yale head coach Joakim Flygh. "She is a caring and loyal teammate, a passionate and diligent student, and her strength of character is extraordinary. When I look at Janelle and her hockey career to date, I am truly impressed by her dedication to her teammates and to all that our team stands for. She will be an excellent captain."
Ferrara is one of five rising seniors on the team, joined by forward Hanna Åström (Örnsköldsvik, Sweden), goalie Rachelle Graham (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), forward Jamie Haddad (Wilbraham, Mass.), and defenseman Kate Martini (King City, Ont.). She has been a major contributor to the Bulldogs' offense throughout her career. She has missed only one game, and has routinely skated on one of the team's top scoring lines.
"It is such an honor to be elected captain by my teammates, and I'm so excited for next year," said Ferrara. "This team is full of great leaders and together we are going to continue to exceed expectations and work harder to take the next step as a program. This past year, the seniors did an amazing job leading us to a winning season [12-10-0 in ECAC Hockey games] and we made so many great strides as a hockey team. My class and all of the returning players are ready to put the work in to become even more of a competitive threat, and I am excited to see what's ahead for this team."
As a freshman Ferrara tied for second on the team with six goals, including a hat trick vs. Dartmouth. She also tied for second on the team in power play goals with three, and tied for third on the team in assists with six.
Ferrara enjoyed a breakthrough campaign as a sophomore, leading the team in assists with 17 -- nearly tripling her total from the previous season. She also led the team with a +7, and she finished second on the team in points (6-17-23). Her goal at 17:33 of the second overtime at Harvard on Feb. 28, 2014 gave the Bulldogs a 3-2 win over the Crimson in the first game of their ECAC Hockey quarterfinal playoff series, providing a final highlight for the season.
"My most memorable moment as a Yale women's hockey player has to be when our team won in double overtime my sophomore year against Harvard in the first game of the opening round of the ECAC playoffs," said Ferrara. "It was an amazing feeling to beat our rivals in a playoff game, and I think from that moment on our confidence as a program soared. Looking back at my three years here, it is great to see how far this program has come and we are only getting better."
This past season saw Ferrara remain one of the team's primary play makers. She established a career high in assists with 19 -- tied for the fourth-best single season total in Yale history. Combined with her 17 assists in 2013-14, Ferrara now has two of the top 12 single-season assist totals in school history. With 42 career assists, she is tied for 13th on Yale's all-time list in that category.
A remarkably disciplined player, Ferrara incurred just one penalty this season. At one point, she went nearly a year without a penalty (from Feb. 28, 2014 to Jan. 30, 2015).
A psychology major in Silliman College, Ferrara has excelled academically as well. She has earned ECAC Hockey All-Academic Team recognition in each year of her career so far, and was a finalist for ECAC Hockey's Mandi Schwartz Student-Athlete of the Year award this past season. She earned that honor with a 3.53 cumulative grade-point average along with numerous contributions to the community.
As a current member of the team that Mandi Schwartz once played for, Ferrara has been active in honoring Mandi's memory. She has served as a committee member to help plan the annual marrow donor registration drive at Yale that bears Mandi's name, and during Ferrara's first three years in New Haven the drive attracted large numbers of registrants each time -- 843 in 2013, 686 in 2014 and 761 in 2015. The drive overall has helped at least 29 patients with life-threatening illnesses find donor matches for transplants. Ferrara also helped plan the White Out for Mandi fund raisers that the Yale women's ice hockey team held to benefit the Mandi Schwartz Foundation in 2013 and 2014. The 2014 White Out for Mandi raised more than $30,000.
Ferrara has also been a part of other team-wide initiatives during her time at Yale, including spending time with Giana Cardonita -- the pediatric brain tumor patient that the team adopted in 2011 through the "Yale Bulldog PAWS (Pediatrics Alliance With Student-athletes)" program in conjunction with Yale-New Haven Hospital. Giana has been a regular visitor to Ingalls Rink, where Ferrara and her teammates continue to serve as a source of support as Giana deals with the aftereffects of the surgery for her tumor.
Another community service initiative that Ferrara participates in is Bulldog Buddies, where Yale student-athletes go to local schools and mentor and tutor elementary students.
In addition to her volunteer work, Ferrara spent a summer working at a hockey camp, counseling and coaching young players.
Ferrara comes from a family of athletes, as her father, Frank, played baseball and hockey at RPI and her mother, Lisa, played basketball at Bentley. Her sister, Nicole, is on the ice hockey team at Syracuse.
Prior to coming to Yale Ferrara attended Rivers School, where she served as captain and was a first team Division II New England Girls Prep All-Star. She also played for Assabet Valley, winning national championships in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2012.
Ferrara has been accepted into the Tuck Business Bridge Program at Dartmouth for this summer. Her future goal is to obtain an MBA degree.
Ferrara takes over as captain as the Bulldogs look to build on a season full of accomplishments. Yale finished 2014-15 with the second-most wins in school history (15) and the second-most goals in school history (93). This year marked the Bulldogs' second straight ECAC Hockey playoff appearance after a five-year absence, and their 12 conference wins tied the school record (set in 2004-05). Next year the team returns its top five scorers -- including Ferrara -- and three of the five defensemen who played in 26 or more games.
"We are already focused on improving both physically and mentally for next season," said Ferrara. "It is great to see everyone work so hard in the gym during the off season and push each other to be better. We have also been working on defining our core values and discussing what having a championship culture means. I am confident that with the relentless work ethic and attitude my teammates have, we will find success next year."
The fifth Yale captain from Massachusetts, Ferrara leads Yale into its 39th varsity season.
Yale Women's Ice Hockey Captains from Massachusetts
1981-82 Laurie Dalheim (Lee, Mass.)
1997-98 Sarah Russell (Belmont, Mass.)
2006-07 Kristin Savard (Framingham, Mass.)
2011-12 Aleca Hughes (Westwood, Mass.)
2015-16 Janelle Ferrara (Winthrop, Mass.)