Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Jaclyn Hawkins adds new dimension to women's hockey

As women’s ice hockey continues to grow in the early 21st Century, one of the most prominent figures in helping to expand the game, while widening its reach globally is still a player herself. Current Boston Blades player (and former Connecticut Huskies star) Jaclyn Hawkins deserves to be part of The Hockey News List of the 100 Most Powerful and Influential People in Hockey. Having grown up in Manotick, Ontario (near Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada), Hawkins played at the high school level with Chelsea Grills, a future star for the St. Lawrence Skating Saints.
After leaving Canada’s capital region for a new life at The Taft School in Connecticut, Hawkins graduated to the University of Connecticut. In continuing the tradition of Canadian greats who excel at the NCAA, Hawkins captured the Hockey East Rookie of the Year Award, and the USCHO.com Rookie of the Year in 2005, respectively. One of the highlights of her career with the Huskies was scoring a Hockey East record three power play goals in one game (accomplished on October 21, 2006). Her senior season would mark a career high with 41 points, while earning the Hockey East Sportsmanship Award and a spot on the New England Hockey Writers Division I All-Star team. She would finish her career as a member of the NCAA 125 point club.
While her career would lead to a temporary sabbatical, as she embarked on a coaching stint with her alma mater, Connecticut, it would not be long before she returned to the action on the frozen surface. Following in the footsteps of other NCAA stars (such as Andria Hunter and Nadine Muzerall); Hawkins continued her playing career in Europe.
It would be of no surprise that when the CWHL announced its groundbreaking player draft in 2010 (a first for professional women’s hockey in North America), Hawkins name would be announced as one of the selections. In helping to write hockey history, Hawkins was picked by the Boston Blades, the only club based out of the United States. She would continue to build her legacy as one of the most prominent sportswomen in New England sporting history.
During this time, Hawkins created a website that has quickly grown into one of the premier resources in the game. After the first year, the site earned tens of thousands of hits, displaying its relevance among aficionados of the game. Graciously allowing players and fans (both male and female) the opportunity to blog their views on the game, Hawkins has created a forum without comparison. Even in summer, many players will continue to write. Said writing covers subject matter as diverse as vacations with teammates, hockey schools, new arenas and their charitable work. All pieces provide an entertaining and often human side to a game that still comes across as fresh and exciting during the summer solstice.
The true gem of the site is a section where players and coaches can register profiles online. While coaches have a new database upon which to recruit, players are presented with a superlative networking tool. Hawkins has created opportunities for the game which are not only innovative but would have seemed impossible to imagine during the apex of the Nagano Winter Games in 1998. One day, she should be deemed worthy of a spot in the Builders Category of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The resourceful Hawkins has brought betterment to the lives of many women’s hockey players, especially in countries where the game is still growing. While some of these grateful players may have never met Hawkins, her impact on their careers make them proud to call her their friend. She has empowered players to constantly create their own history while exploring opportunities that have brought a wellspring of rewards.

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