Babstock makes transition from ice to turf

Alec Turner

For the past four years, Kelly Babstock has been a face of Quinnipiac ice hockey. Now as her hockey career comes to an end, Babstock has resumed her career in another sport she played as a child.

Babstock recently joined the women’s lacrosse team. She will be eligible to play for the remainder of the 2014 season and 2015, as well.

As a child, Babstock grew up playing lacrosse and hockey hand-in-hand. She started playing lacrosse at the age of 2 and picked up ice hockey at the age of 6. As she grew older, Babstock continued to improve on her skills in both of the sports, and was a very successful athlete on the field and at the rink.
Babstock enjoyed both sports growing up, and believed that playing them kept her interested in both.

“When hockey got over in the winter, it was always good to know that it was lacrosse season,” Babstock said about her childhood.

Babstock comes from a family of lacrosse. Her brother, Jeff Shattler, plays professional lacrosse for the Calgary Roughnecks, and has always helped her stay competitive.

“He liked me playing lacrosse, but he also wanted me to stay involved in other sports too,” Babstock said.

Babstock found that playing two sports helped her keep a competitive mentality and physicality that has made her successful.

“The physicality of both sports helped me improve in both of them and know about my surroundings,” Babstock said, “it was something that kept me competitive.”

Babstock also became physical by playing against the boys’ teams growing up as a child.

Coming out of high school, Babstock received offers to play both lacrosse and ice hockey. She eventually picked Quinnipiac for its hockey program.

The accolades that Babstock earned on the ice in her four years is lengthy. She has been a member of the all-ECAC Hockey team all four years, she has led the team in scoring all four years, and she currently holds every single game, single season and career scoring record for Quinnipiac.

During her senior season, Babstock went to lacrosse head coach Danie Caro and told her she was interested in playing for the team in the spring. Caro heard about Babstock’s talent and was intrigued.

“At first, we were hoping that she wasn’t teasing us,” Caro said.

She wasn’t teasing at all. Babstock was very interested in continuing her student-athlete career at Quinnipiac.

The NCAA rule for eligibility states a student-athlete can have a fifth year of eligibility in a second sport after finishing their four years in a different sport. The eligibility runs for one more calendar year, and could not be used later on in life. This means that Babstock will be able to finish off the 2014 lacrosse season, and also come back to play in 2015 for the Bobcats.

“I didn’t want to be done with school, and I wanted to play lacrosse again,” Babstock said. “I am thankful to have that opportunity.”

After the women’s ice hockey team’s exit in the league semifinals, Babstock began training and practicing for the lacrosse season. This took a toll on her physically and mentally. Getting used to a new team, however, was the least of concerns.

“The team is so welcoming to me, so it was easy to adjust to the new team,” Babstock said. “They have helped me get more comfortable playing again.”

Babstock has had troubles adjusting to playing a sport that she hasn’t played competitively in four years. Caro believes it comes down to what her body is used to.

“The hardest part for Kelly’s transition so far has been physically, it’s a much different set of muscles that it takes to skate then run,” Caro said.

Caro believes Babstock has improved her game as a team player, while also learning the team’s offensive plays. Babstock is, in Caro’s eyes, the perfect feeder that the team has been looking for. Caro also thinks Babstock’s confidence can help the team succeed.

“The team gets very excited when she is out on the field because she has the ability to change the personality of the team,” Caro said.

Caro believed Babstock would take it slow this season to get used to be playing lacrosse again, but that isn’t what Babstock had in mind. In just three games on the team, Babstock has already record seven points, including six goals. She is fourth on the team in scoring.

Though she only has three games under her belt, Babstock is already thinking about a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title, while also bringing the same attitude and leadership she brought to the women’s ice hockey team.

“I want to compete in the tournament this year and give everything I have this season,” Babstock said. “I always play hard and do my best, and my goal is to help everyone on the team do that this season.”