June 12, 2008
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Coming off its seventh straight ECAC Hockey playoff appearance, Yale returns 17 players -- all but one skater and one goaltender -- for the 2008-09 season. The Bulldogs will add five players to the mix in the Class of 2012, which was announced Thursday. The incoming class includes three forwards, one defenseman and one goaltender.
Here is a look at the incoming freshmen:
Forward Lauren Davis (Morrison, Colo.) had 13 points in 20 games for Colorado Select last season. She won back-to-back state championships in hockey at St. Mary's Academy. She also ran cross country (captaining the team twice) and played lacrosse (captaining the team once) for the Wildcats. Davis was all-conference academic first team in both of those sports.
"I chose Yale because of the incredible opportunities that the education will offer for my future," said Davis.
Defenseman Heather Grant (Toronto, Ont.) has spent the past two seasons playing for the Toronto Jr. Aeros, helping the team to a first-place finish and PWHL championship in 2006-07 and serving as assistant captain this past year. She totaled 27 points and just 14 penalty minutes in two seasons. Prior to that Grant played for the Midget Aeros for two seasons, finishing first in the regular season twice and winning a pair of provincial championships along with one NMGHL championship.
Grant comes to Yale from Lawrence Park School, where she was an honor roll student and vice-president of the Girls Athletic Board. In addition to playing hockey she was also on the cross country, field hockey, rugby and soccer teams. She was a two-time team MVP in both field hockey and ice hockey.
"When I was looking at universities, I was looking for a school with strong academics where I could continue to play hockey," said Grant, who is considering a career in medicine. "Yale fit the bill perfectly. In fact, as soon as I stepped on campus, I knew that I wanted to spend the next four years of my life there."
Forward Aleca Hughes (Westwood, Mass.) has played for the Connecticut Stars for four years, earning two bronze medals and one silver at Nationals. The Stars also produced a pair of current Bulldogs, rising senior forward Maggie Westfal (New Canaan, Conn.) and rising sophomore forward Bray Ketchum (Greenwich, Conn.).
Hughes also played at Hotchkiss, where she was the team captain this past year and made the All-New England Division I team. She was All-Founder's League the two previous years. Hughes also captained the field hockey team at Hotchkiss.
Hughes brings size (5'10") and impressive bloodlines to the Bulldogs, with family connections to three other Division I ice hockey programs. Her father, George, played hockey for Harvard and is seventh on the Crimson's career scoring list (66 goals, 95 assists). Her mother, Allison, played for BU. Her older brother, George, will play hockey at St. Lawrence and her younger brother, Gunnar, will play at Salisbury.
"I chose Yale because I believe it values a balance between academics, athletics and extracurriculars," Hughes said. "I am grateful for the opportunity to become enriched by this strong academic atmosphere and am excited for the competition of Division I sports. I can't wait to be a part of this strong tradition."
A rare righty-catching goaltender, Genny Ladiges (Almonte, Ont.) won a Provincial Silver Medal and PWHL Championship Silver Medal in 2008 with the NCCP's Ottawa Jr. Capitals, posting a 2.03 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. She also won a gold medal with Team Ontario Red at the 2007 Women's U-18 National Hockey Championships, leading the tournament in goals-against average and save percentage.
Ladiges comes to Yale from Almonte and District High School. In addition to playing hockey she was also on the cross country, soccer and volleyball teams. She was MVP in cross country, hockey and soccer (twice).
"I chose Yale because of the diverse opportunities it offers both inside and outside of the classroom," Ladiges said. "From an academic, social and athletic perspective, I feel that it's the right fit for me."
Forward Becky Mantell (Princeton, N.J.) was a co-captain for the Connecticut Polar Bears this past season. In 83 games over the past two years she has 27 goals, 58 assists and a +/- of +75. She played with current Bulldog sophomore goalie Jackee Snikeris (Downingtown, Pa.) on the Polar Bears and played against Ketchum when Ketchum was with Greenwich Academy and on the Connecticut Stars.
Mantell comes to Yale from Lawrenceville School, where she received the Melissa Magee Best Female Athlete Award. She was co-captain of the field hockey team in addition to playing ice hockey. On the ice she was honored as the New Jersey Devils Girls Player of the Year in 2007 and was all-state all four years.
"I fell in love with Yale on a tour of the campus two years ago," said Mantell. "Obviously, Yale is one of the leading universities in the world. What really attracted me beyond the incredible facilities was the diversity of the student population and the opportunities to explore different academic options. I also felt an immediate connection with the hockey coaches. There is just a different atmosphere at Yale that appealed to me. I looked at a lot of other schools, but, for me, there was just something that felt `right' about Yale. My visit for Bulldog Days, sitting in on classes and meeting other incoming freshmen, just reinforced those feelings."
The Bulldogs are tentatively scheduled to open the 2008-09 season with a three-team scrimmage Oct. 18 at Brown with Princeton. The regular season opener is Oct.25 at New Hampshire.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (email@example.com), Yale Sports Publicity