Jan. 28, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The celebration of the 30th anniversary of women's hockey at Yale culminated Saturday night with a banquet where a new endowment for the sport was announced, marking another milestone of support for women's hockey at Yale. Over 100 alums, team members and supporters of the program were on hand at the Yale Law School for the event.
"I am thrilled to announce that as of today, we have raised approximately $300,000 for this endowment," Lauren Monahan '94 said. Two anonymous donors have pledged to match contributions until the endowment goal of $1 million is reached.
Monahan also detailed the extent of the program's growing support base, which she noted was over 300 strong. Participation has increased for each of the past three years.
The endowment announcement was the highlight of a memorable evening that marked the largest gathering of Yale women's hockey alumnae ever. The night began with Yale Athletics Director Tom Beckett thanking all of the alums for what they have done for current team members.
"They know today that every time they step on the ice, they have a chance to win," Beckett said. "That is because of all of you in this room and what you have done for Yale, and what you have done for Yale hockey."
Beckett also acknowledged all of Yale's former coaches that were in attendance and gave their players a chance to give them each a round of applause.
He also had a surprise for one attendee: Helen Resor. Resor, who is heading to Torino with Team USA next week as Yale's first women's hockey Olympian, was presented with a team photo to symbolize Yale's support for her on her Olympic odyssey.
"You know we're there with you on every shift, every practice," Beckett said.
June Mendoza Wheeler '80, Yale's captain in 1979-80 and a three-time team MVP, was the next to speak. She recognized those of Yale's early women's hockey players that were in attendance and recalled memories of her playing days, using her old jersey as a graphic aid.
Current captain Lisa Jacque '06 then addressed the crowd. She noted that when she was being recruited the team was 3-12-1 in the ECAC, but head coach Hilary Witt and associate head coach Harry Rosenholtz convinced her that the team was capable of much more.
"Harry and Hilary had a vision of what the program could be," Jacque said. "We were told there would be difficult times, hard weekends and long road trips, and there were ... We truly believed that we could persevere and be a winning program. Last season, a lot of that hard work culminated in achievements that not only made the newspaper but made the record book."
Jacque read through a long list of Yale's accomplishments from 2004-05, including the program's first playoff win and a victory over Harvard for the first time in 20 years (a feat the Bulldogs repeated earlier this season).
That led into Witt's turn at the podium, and she made sure to thank the banquet organizers.
"People have worked so hard over the last few months to make this event possible," she said.
Monahan concluded the ceremony with the announcement of the endowment.
Jacque summed up the theme of the evening perfectly in her speech.
"We are currently standing on the brink of a new era for Yale women's hockey," she said. "This is an extremely exciting time for our program. Right now with the talent, drive and resources we have available to us, and the support from those around us, the possibilities are endless."
report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity