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Jackee Snikeris Earns Invite to USA Hockey Goaltending Camp Again

Jackee Snikeris. (photo by David Silverman,
Jackee Snikeris. (photo by David Silverman,

Rising Senior Part of Group of 12 Women Selected for Warren Strelow Goaltending Camp

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Rising senior goaltender Jackee Snikeris (Downingtown, Pa.) has earned a spot at USA Hockey's annual Warren Strelow Goaltending Camp again, placing her in a group of 12 of the best female goalies in the country. This is Snikeris' third selection to the prestigious camp, which debuted in 2008. A nominee for the Kazmaier Award as the top women's college hockey player last year, Snikeris was 10th in the country in save percentage (.927). She was the only ECAC Hockey goaltender selected for the camp.

The Strelow camp takes place in Ann Arbor, Mich., from May 27 to 30. All goaltenders invited to the camp are under consideration to play for USA Hockey at the highest levels of international competition. The camp is for the top female and male goaltenders in the country and features both on-ice and off-ice work with multiple coaches. Joe Exter, the former Merrimack goalie who played professionally in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, is USA Hockey's National Team Goaltending Coach.

A five-time USA Hockey player development camp pick when she played for the Taft School and the Connecticut Polar Bears prior to coming to Yale, Snikeris was first team All-Ivy League this past season and was also selected to play for the ECAC Hockey All-Stars in an exhibition game against Team USA last January. She broke the Yale career record for shutouts with her 13th on Jan. 30 -- in just her 49th career game -- and had four shutouts for the season. She had a streak of 10 straight games with 30 or more saves, including 46 vs. Cornell Feb. 13 to tie her career high. She is on pace to break the Yale career goals-against average record (she is at 2.16 and the record is 2.35) and finish second on Yale's all-time save percentage list (she is at .927 and the record is .928).

Snikeris' performance this season came on the heels of a similarly remarkable 2008-09 campaign. Her five shutouts that year tied the Yale single season record. The only player in school history to finish a season with a higher save percentage than Snikeris' .934 was June Mendoza '80, who had a .951 mark in a 13-game season in 1977-78. And no-one in school history has made as many appearances as Snikeris did and finished with a lower goals-against average; Mendoza's 1.98 GAA in a 15-game 1978-79 season was the previous best prior to Snikeris' 1.67 mark.

Besides Snikeris, Yale has many connections to the USA Hockey program. Defenseman Helen Resor '09 was the first Yale women's ice hockey player to make the Olympics when she played for Team USA and earned a bronze medal in Torino in 2006. She also has two gold medals (2005, 2009) and one silver (2007) with the U.S. at the IIHF World Championships. Forward Crysti Howser '09 was a member of USA Hockey's Under-22 Select team in 2007 and 2008, playing in the annual three-game series against Team Canada. She scored a goal for the U.S. in 2008.

Additionally, forward Maria Dennis '88 was on the 1990 U.S. Women's National Team that earned silver at the first IIHF Women's World Championship, and goaltender Laurie Belliveau '98 was on the U.S. Women's National Team that earned silver at the 1999 IIHF Women's World Championship. Also, former Yale men's hockey assistant coach Ben Smith coached the U.S. women's team at the Olympics three times, winning a gold medal in 1998, and now serves as a National Team advisor. Former Yale equipment manager Ed Maturo was equipment manager with the U.S. Women's Olympic Team in 2006 and the U.S. Men's Olympic Team in 1994.

A number of current Bulldogs have been involved in other USA Hockey programs recently. At the same time Snikeris' selection to the Strelow Camp was announced, USA Hockey also announced that Yale head coach Hilary Witt will serve as an assistant coach for the U.S. Under-22 Select Team this summer. Additionally, four Bulldog players -- rising sophomore goalie Erin Callahan (Kenilworth, Ill.), rising junior forward Aleca Hughes (Westwood, Mass.), rising senior forward Bray Ketchum (Greenwich, Conn.) and rising sophomore defenseman/forward Natalie Wedell (Arden Hills, Minn.) -- participated in USA Hockey's Open Olympic Team Tryouts last year.

The 12 females selected to the Strelow Camp include all three U.S. goalies from the 2010 Olympics -- Brianne McLaughlin, Molly Schaus and Jessie Vetter. The camp is named after Warren Strelow, who helped coach the goalies on the gold medal-winning U.S. “Miracle on Ice” men's team at the 1980 Olympics. Strelow also coached in the NHL, working with stars such as Martin Brodeur. He passed away in 2007.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity