January 18, 2007

Savard Named Finalist for Hockey Humanitarian Award

Jan. 18, 2007

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Yale women's hockey captain Kristin Savard (Framingham, Mass.) has been named one of five finalists for the Hockey Humanitarian Award, presented annually to college hockey's finest citizen. The Yale women's hockey team is now the only program in the country -- men's or women's -- to have had three finalists in the last eight years (Deanna McDevitt '03 and Julianna Schantz-Dunn '00 were Yale's other honorees).

One of Savard's main community service projects is "Teaming Up", an effort to raise awareness and funds for maternal health in South Africa that she helped found this past year.

Savard will be honored at an upcoming home game. The 12th recipient of the Hockey Humanitarian Award will be named in a ceremony held in conjunction with the NCAA Skills Competition and Hobey Baker Award on Friday, Apr. 6 in St. Louis, Mo., during the 2007 NCAA Men's Frozen Four.

Yale has had two finalists for the award in prior years, including Deanna McDevitt '03 in 2003 and Julianna Schantz-Dunn '00 in 2000.

Here is a look at Savard's work:

Elected Yale's 30th captain by her teammates, senior forward Kristin Savard has been a leader both on and off the ice throughout her career.

Savard has founded "Teaming Up", Yale's effort to raise awareness for improving maternal health in the developing world - a project she hopes to expand to other schools and teams. Of all the health statistics monitored by the World Health Organization, maternal mortality represents the largest discrepancy between developed and developing nations. Nearly 600,000 women die each year from pregnancy-related complications, and 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries. Most of these deaths are preventable with proper access to health resources.

Led by Savard, Yale is raising money this season to enable the women of the Keiskamma community in South Africa to partake in the UbuMama program. UbuMama ("motherhood") is an arts-based initiative in which women from a community design and produce a maternity gown depicting, in images and words, the challenges of motherhood in their communities. The garments are then used as instruments to gain support for this important cause. The program has been successfully implemented in six communities so far.

Dozens of other communities have expressed interest in the Ubumama program but lack the funding to implement it - thus "Teaming Up", a campaign designed to provide the necessary funding. Led by Savard the Yale women's hockey team is encouraging fans to pledge a donation for each goal the team scores this season as part of its "Goals for Goals" campaign. Raising sufficient funds will enable the women of Keiskamma to produce two garments. One will be used to raise awareness in South Africa while the other will be used on Yale's campus. Savard is also helping plan other events to raise awareness at Yale, including a swim-a-thon by the women's swimming team and an event by the women's lacrosse team (her roommates are the captains of these two teams).

Savard and her roommate recently traveled to Washington to meet with the Global Health Council and the World Health Organization to discuss their efforts and learn more about maternal mortality. The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood and other groups in Washington have supported the Teaming Up project and expressed interest in seeing it expand. Savard plans to apply for grants and continue looking for organizations that will help fund the project to continue its growth.

Savard first became involved with the issue of maternal health this past summer when she worked for Imagine Chicago, a non-profit organization that works in partnership with individuals and local organizations such as schools, museums, churches, businesses, and community groups to design and implement innovative civic projects. The projects are designed to build meaningful connections across generations and cultures and have lasting institutional and community impact. Savard spent her summer working directly with Imagine Chicago's president, Bliss Browne. She attended numerous conferences with Browne, including the Sustainable Cities Conference and an EPA conference on social development. Savard documented Imagine Chicago projects from around the world (Imagine Nepal, Calgary, Cape Town, etc.) and edited a book about Imagine Chicago's approach to community involvement.

In addition to her work on Teaming Up, Savard is in her second year serving on Yale's Thomas W. Ford '42 Student-Athlete Community Outreach Committee, an organization designed to bring Yale student-athletes and Yale Athletics into the New Haven community and to bring the New Haven community onto the Yale campus to be a part of Yale Athletics. Among the Community Outreach Committee's projects are an annual holiday toy drive, which Savard and her teammates participated in this season. They were sent information about a local underprivileged family and then shopped for and wrapped gifts for the children.

With the Community Outreach Committee Savard also helps organize the two annual Yale Athletics Youth Days, in which local children come on Yale's campus and use Yale's athletic facilities with coaching from student-athletes.

This January Savard and her teammates will be a part of "Skate with the Players", a day that gives local youths the chance to skate at Ingalls Rink with Bulldog men's and women's hockey players. She and the team also recently attended a family skate with the Connecticut Polar Bears, a girls' hockey program based in nearby Northford.

Savard and her teammates have also participated in the Relay for Life, raising money for the American Cancer Society. Last year they raised $3,730.00.

Savard spent two years as a tutor for first-graders at a New Haven elementary school. She also worked over the summer at Dynamic Skating hockey camps throughout high school and until last year, when she was away working for Imagine Chicago.

A political science major, Savard excels in the classroom and is a two-time ECAC All-Academic selection. She has also been a part of a renaissance on the ice for the Bulldogs, who won more games in her first three seasons (39) than any other three-year period in school history. During her time here Yale has set the school record for wins in a season (16, 2004-05), made its first trip to the ECAC semifinals (2004-05), snapped a 41-game losing streak against Dartmouth (a 1-0 win Feb. 3, 2006), snapped a 39-game losing streak against Harvard (a 3-2 win Nov. 12, 2004), snapped a 37-game winless streak against Brown (a 3-1 win Feb. 14, 2006) and snapped a 19-game losing streak against Northeastern (a 3-0 win Jan. 7, 2006).

Savard was an ECAC All-Star selection last season, competing against Team USA in an exhibition match at Ingalls Rink Nov. 1 during the U.S. team's "Skate to 2006" pre-Olympic tour. She is currently tied for seventh all-time at Yale in assists (42) and is eighth in points (75). Her 33 goals place her one away from moving into the top 10 in that category. She led the team in scoring as a freshman in 2003-04 (14-8-22) and was named to the ECAC All-Rookie Team. As a sophomore she had 24 points (9-15-24) and won Yale's Coaches' Award, given to the player who has shown the most grit and determination during the season. Her 20 points (7-13-20) last season placed her third on the team.

Savard earned a spot in the USA Hockey Women's Festival in the summer of 2004, playing with and against several U.S. Olympians in a round-robin tournament.

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