Jan. 28, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - On Jan. 28, the Bulldogs celebrated the 30th anniversary of women's hockey at Yale with a special banquet that included the announcement of a new endowment for the program. Yale captain Lisa Jacque '06 spoke on behalf of the team to thank all of the Bulldogs' supporters. Here is an excerpt of her speech:
It seems that it was just a few months ago that I was walking to the Schley Room on a Tuesday night in September of 2002 for my first ever meeting at Ingalls Rink. There were seven of us, nervous freshmen, making the walk to meet our new team that day and I had no idea how quickly the time would pass. Three and a half years later, I stand before you as a senior, and a captain, looking with pride, but also poignant sorrow, at only a handful of weeks remaining before me as a Yale Hockey player.
My time with Yale Hockey has been an amazing journey -- it has had its ups and downs, its great successes and its heartbreaking defeats. I have had the unique privilege of being on this team during its time of most radical change. When I was recruited our program was 3-12-1 in league play. Harry and Hilary had a vision of what this program could be, a vision that they passionately detailed for their recruits during our senior years in high school. Our class was told that we would be the face of a new Yale Hockey program, that we would be the players that would start the arduous and formidable task of turning a losing program around. We were told there would be difficult times, hard weekends and long road trips. And there truly were - the seven of us experienced what life was like on a team that had no expectations for itself or its success except from each other and our coaches.
When my class began here, losing 6-1 to Harvard meant we hadn't done too badly, and squeaking past Dartmouth and Brown without a terribly lopsided score meant it had been a good weekend. We went 5-11 in league play during my freshman campaign of 2002-2003, with an overall record of 9-20-2. That first season we experienced some extremely trying times, which ultimately would see us lose four of our classmates, but we stuck it out, believing that this program could be turned around. There are only three of us left now -- Sarah Love, Deena Caplette and I, who truly believed that we could persevere and be a winning program. Through those freshman and sophomore years a lot of the successes our team worked feverishly for were small achievements that weren't big enough for record books or newspapers, but baby steps, that proved that we, as a small, closely-knit program, were pushing hard enough to make changes and pull this team into new territory.
Last season, a lot of that hard work culminated, for the first time, in achievements that made the newspapers; that even made the record books. We broke the record for wins in a season, not only won a playoff game but won a series, hosted a playoff series, and went to the league's final four. We beat Harvard for the first time in 20 years. We were voted Team of the Year by the Yale Daily News, and voted as having the Game of the Year with our overtime win against Princeton to clinch our historic spot in the ECACHL Final Four.
We are currently standing on the brink of a new era for Yale Women's Hockey. This is an extremely exciting time for our program because as of right now, with the talent, drive and resources that we have available, as well as the support from those around us, the possibilities are endless. My classmates and I have been fortunate enough to watch and be a part of the creation of a new reputation and a new tradition of winning for Yale Hockey. I am immensely proud to have been here through some of the hardest and most trying times, the times that defined our character as individuals and as a team, the times that tested us as athletes, teammates and people but ultimately moved us forward to the successes we are now enjoying and will continue to enjoy. Our senior class has also had the pleasure of seeing three amazing and talented classes come in after our own, groups of women who have all individually and collectively raised the bar and our team's own expectations for what we were, and are, capable of achieving. Though looking back I feel great pride in what my classmates and I helped begin and what our whole team has augmented, I am terribly jealous that I won't get to be here for what I am sure will be the beginning of consistent and persistent success.
Being a part of Yale Women's Hockey from my freshman year to today, when we expect to beat teams like Harvard and Dartmouth because we are a more gifted program, has truly been a privilege. But the greatest benefit to being a Yale athlete was getting to be a member of one of the most extraordinary groups of females, with the best team chemistry, that I have ever encountered. Practices, road trips, and the locker-room are the scenes of some of my best memories at Yale. I will certainly miss many things at Yale when I graduate, but I will miss most getting to play my favorite sport alongside four classes of my best friends and teammates, and getting to be a part of a team that each day strives to exceed its own expectations and to make itself the best program in the nation.