Feb. 20, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Yale senior forward Crysti Howser (Wilmette, Ill.) has been selected as a finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian Award, given annually "to college hockey's finest citizen." In addition to excelling on the ice Howser has also been active in a number of community service initiatives. She is the fourth Yale women's ice hockey player to earn finalist status in the award's 14 years. No other school in the country has had more student-athletes named finalists.
Howser was one of 10 finalists announced Friday. In its 14th season, the Bank of New York Mellon Hockey Humanitarian Award is open to all female and male collegiate hockey players at the Division I, II or III levels. The winner will be named in a ceremony on Friday, Apr. 10 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the 2009 men's ice hockey NCAA Frozen Four.
Howser follows in the footsteps of Yale's other three finalists, Julianna Schantz-Dunn '00, Deanna McDevitt '03 and Kristin Savard '07. Savard won the award in 2007. As a freshman Howser began volunteering weekly at New Haven's Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen, organizing and distributing dinners for those in need. She continues to do that to this day, and in recent years she has also been one of the key participants in the Yale Sports Empowerment Program. Through that initiative she and other Yale students organize weekly health and fitness education sessions for residents at local homeless shelters.
In her sophomore year Howser volunteered for the AIDS Walk New Haven event in April. She returned the following year, this time as organizer of a team. Howser and other Yale student-athletes obtained financial donations from sponsors to enable homeless men from the Emmanuel Baptist Shelter who were part of the Yale Sports Empowerment Program to participate in the walk as a team, combining two of her community service efforts into one.
In 2007 Howser also began her involvement in Yale's Relay for Life 12-hour walking fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. She was a coordinator for one of the most successful Relay for Life events in the Northeast that spring, helping raise nearly $250,000 for the American Cancer Society. She and one of her hockey teammates were in charge of soliciting sponsorships and food donations for the event, which hosted more than 2,000 people. Howser then served as head coordinator last year, making her solely responsible for organizing food donations from more than two dozen New Haven restaurants. She got her entire team involved as committee members and also got the Yale men's ice hockey team involved through a friend of hers on that team. The event raised more than $100,000. Howser is continuing her involvement with the Relay for Life this year.
Howser expanded the geographical bounds of her work in May of 2007. Through i-to-i, an organization she learned of through Yale's Career Services Center, she spent two weeks in a rural South African nature reserve, 200 miles north of Cape Town. With other students from various European and North American colleges she worked on an environmental conservation project that sought to protect an agriculturally rich region containing some of the rarest natural plant life in the world from further damage. This May, after she graduates from Yale, Howser intends to do another trip through i-to-i.
Howser has also taken part in various holiday gift-giving initiatives for underprivileged families both in New Haven and back home in Illinois, including coordinating the effort for her residential college at Yale (Silliman). During her first two years at Yale she was also involved in Athletes in Action, a faith-based group that met weekly and helped engage her in numerous community service projects. In the spring of her freshman year she participated in Bulldog Buddies, a program run by the Yale Athletic Department through which student-athletes read to and play sports with children at a local elementary school once a week.
On the ice, Howser is just the fourth player in Yale history to lead the team in scoring for three straight seasons. The Bulldogs have won 48 games during her class' tenure, more than all but two classes in Yale history. Howser is second on Yale's career points list (116), third on Yale's career goals list (57) and third on Yale's career assists list (59). She also has the third-best single-season goal total in school history (22, 2006-07) and the fourth-best single-season point total in school history (37, 2006-07). She was an honorable mention All-Ivy League selection last year.
Howser has also been a part of the USA Hockey program. She was a member of USA Hockey's Under-22 Select team each of the past two summers, playing in the annual three-game series against Team Canada. She scored a goal for the U.S. this past summer. Howser was tied for fifth in scoring at the 2007 USA Hockey Women's National Festival and also was invited to USA Hockey's Holiday Camp in December of that year, training as part of a group of 56 of the top players in the country. Before coming to Yale she was a part of multiple USA Hockey player development camps.
A political science major, Howser eventually plans to go to law school but is looking into teaching or working for a non-profit in the immediate future.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity