Six members of the Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey team were honored with awards at the annual Women’s Ice Hockey Awards Dinner at Eli’s on Whitney Restaurant in Mar. In addition to the awards, the banquet featured a tribute to the seniors and a video highlight of the team’s most successful season in program history.
Freshman forward Vicky Graham, of Glen Riddle, PA., was the only player to take home two pieces of hardware as the MVP and Best Offensive Player. Neither award should have come as a surprise, as Graham easily led the Bobcats in scoring with 29 points (14 goals and 15 assists) in 34 games.
“Vicky is a very talented and dedicated athlete. She is one of only two players (Jayne Riley is the other) who never missed a single practice or game due to injury, illness, or suspension,” said Head Coach Michael Barrett. “This dedication paid off as she shattered the single season scoring record, which was previously 16 points.”
On the defensive side of the game, sophomore Sarah Campbell, of Smithers, British Columbia, was named the Best Defensive Player. She finished second among blueliners and fifth overall in scoring with 17 points (five goals and 12 assists) in 33 games.
“Sarah’s improvement from last year to this year was dramatic – even throughout the year,” Barrett said. “She was very steady defensively, and had a breakout season offensively. Her confidence was much better this year, and I think that made a big difference.”
Campbell had a difficult time adjusting to Division I hockey during her freshman season, when she registered just three points in 28 games played. She found the style of play to be completely different compared to the hockey she had played at home the boys.
“Finally, come January I told myself this wasn’t me playing and I had to change,” Campbell said. “So, I started being more risky staying up in the slot of the offensive zone longer and just being more aggressive and slowly things starting clicking and the confidence started building.”
Freshman forward Ashley Jaffray, of Olds, Alberta, took home the Seventh Player Award for going above and beyond expectations. Although she only recorded five points, Barrett praised Jaffray for her hard work and unselfish attitude.
“Being a freshman, and being recognized by your teammates as a hard working teammate, means everything to me,” Jaffray said. “Trying to make myself grow throughout the year as a player, it was a complete honor to know that the people around me recognized that about me and rewarded me for it.”
Every team needs someone to boost the team’s morale throughout the course of a grueling 34-game schedule. For the Bobcats, sophomore blue-liner Erin Sweet, of Tewksbury, MA, has been that player for each of the past two seasons and consequently has won the Team Spirit Award in back-to-back seasons.
“It means a lot to me to know that my teammates can actually see and appreciate how much I love the sport of hockey and this team,” Sweet said. “There is no greater honor than to be recognized for the love, heart, and desire that I bring to the rink everyday.”
Barrett praised Sweet for setting an example, both on and off the ice, for the other players to follow. After playing in only 20 games during her freshman season, Sweet appeared in all but one game this year, picking up one goal and one assist.
Student-athletes have to put an incredible amount of work both into their sports and schoolwork. On the women’s ice hockey team, freshman forward Kelly Rider, of Glenmont, NY, demonstrated this best by achieving a 3.94 GPA during the first semester while still making it to every practice and game.
“I’ve had lots of practice balancing hockey and school throughout the years,” said Rider, the winner of the Academic Achievement Award. “You have to have good time management and dedication to both your work on and off the ice.”
An athletic training major, Rider missed most of the season due to a foot injury. In the five games that she did appear in, she was held pointless.
Last, but perhaps most important, is the Community Service Award, which went to junior forward Gillian Gallagher, of Monteville, NJ, She leads the team in community service activities, which includes reading to elementary schools, visiting nursing homes along with Jaffray and sending care packages to soldiers.
“Gill is the most giving, unselfish athlete I have ever coached. On her own, she grows her hair long so she can cut it and donate it to Locks for Love,” Barrett said. “She spent her entire spring break and numerous weekends building homes for Habitat for Humanity. She is simply amazing.”
She has helped build numerous houses in Bridgeport and has done two separate builds in South Carolina. In addition, Gallagher helps in soup kitchens and continually collects soda tabs for the Ronald McDonald charity house.
“Many people are in need and do not ask for help. My contribution to the community is important in many aspects,” Gallagher said. “I live here in a community and I feel like it goes both ways. The community helps us and we should definitely help the community. Everybody needs help at some point in their life, and I feel that I can contribute in a positive way.”