April 17, 2007

Guillemette Named Captain, Seniors Honored at Annual Banquet

April 17, 2007

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Yale held its annual women's hockey team banquet Tuesday night at The Course at Yale, saluting the record-breaking Class of 2007 and introducing junior defenseman Ann-Renée Guillemette (North Bay, Ont.) as the team captain for 2007-08.

"This is an incredible honor," Guillemette said. "I'm really looking forward to next year. There is so much potential on this team, and so many players that are capable of stepping it up."

Guillemette has appeared in 82 games for her career, making her the most experienced player on Yale's roster for next season.

"Ann-Renée is quiet, but she is willing to take on responsibility," said Yale head coach Hilary Witt. "She has been through a lot, but she has always handled adversity like a pro. Whenever something did not go her way, she just worked harder to overcome it."

The banquet ceremony began with Associate Head Coach Harry Rosenholtz saluting the senior class, which won more games (54) than any class in school history. In fact, Yale won more games in the Class of 2007's four years here than in the 10 years prior to their arrival combined (52).

"This was the class that helped to tear down the mighty walls," Rosenholtz said, recalling the way the class helped end long losing streaks against Harvard, Dartmouth and Brown while also securing Yale's first-ever ECAC playoff victories.

"They were eight enormously talented kids who stuck together and stuck it out," Rosenholtz said. "They found a way to become a cohesive unit, overcome great obstacles and make sacrifices for the greater good. These class members will always share a special bond. They will continue to challenge future classes to live up to their high standards."

In addition to recognizing the major and minor letter winners, along with Yale's league-record 19 ECAC All-Academic team selections, several individual awards were handed out by Witt after being selected by team vote.

Senior forward Kristin Savard (Framingham, Mass.) won the Bingham Award for leadership. The 2006-07 captain, Savard received the Hockey Humanitarian Award earlier this month at the NCAA men's ice hockey Frozen Four after spearheading Yale's effort to raise money and awareness for maternal health issues in Africa through the organization she started, "Teaming Up". Earlier in the day she was recognized at Ingalls Rink in a ceremony with New Haven Mayor John DeStefano.

Savard finished her career fourth all-time at Yale in assists (54), tied for fifth in points (93) and eighth in goals (39). She gave credit to her classmates, pointing out that the large class size made a difference for her as captain.

"My class made everything so much easier," Savard said. "I never had to make a decision alone. I always had seven people behind me."

Sophomore forward Sarah Tittman (Chilton, Wisc.) won the Blanning Award as the team's most improved player.

"She has done everything we've ever asked her to do, she works hard and she listens constantly," said Witt. "That is the reason why she has improved."

Senior forward Kelsey Johnson (Wayzata, Minn.) won the Bulldog Award for team spirit. Johnson, who was also recognized as a finalist for the ECAC's Student-Athlete of the Year Award, was praised for helping shape the team with her positive attitude.

"These are the things that coaches notice," Witt said. "People that put the team ahead of themselves -- those are the people that make the winning records happen."

"Honestly, it's very easy to be spirited among such an amazing group of girls," Johnson said. "Everyone is so supportive. I don't think that I did anything any different from anyone else -- we all supported each other."

Senior forward Sheila Zingler (Wausau, Wisc.) won the Most Valuable Player Award. Zingler, who was selected to participate in the NCAA's Frozen Four Skills Challenge, tied for the fourth-best single-season assist total (18), fifth-best single-season point total (35) and 10th-best single-season goal total (17) in Yale history.

Those numbers all represented career highs for Zingler -- she surpassed her previous best point total by 16, her previous best goal total by 10 and her previous best assist total by seven. She ended her career fifth on Yale's career assists list (51), tied for seventh on Yale's career points list (89) and tied for ninth on Yale's career goals list (38). She also led the team in +/- this year with a +24, but deflected the praise for her accomplishments to her linemates.

"It was the people that were around me that allowed me to do this," Zingler said.

Senior forward Christina Sharun (Nanaimo, B.C.) received the Coaches' Award for her grit and determination -- along with her numerous off-ice contributions that ranged from coaching a local youth hockey team to serving as the team's skate-sharpening expert.

"The group of girls in this room is phenomenal," Sharun said. "Because of that group, it made it really easy to come to the rink every day. It's always fun. It's been a really, really fun four years."

After that Witt thanked Rosenholtz and assistant coach Kim Mathias, the athletic department administration and the support staff.

The seniors -- Johnson, Savard, Sharun, Zingler, defenseman Regan Gilbride (White Plains, N.Y.), goaltender Carrie Horbatuk (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), defenseman Nina Resor (Westwood, Mass.) and forward Jenna Spring (Cranbrook, B.C.) -- then presented gifts to the staff. Savard finished by addressing the team as captain for the final time before turning the reigns over to Guillemette.

"I'm confident that you guys will carry on the tradition and keep the program going in the right direction," Savard said.

report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity

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