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Celebration of a goal during Nov. 15 women's hockey game

Celebration of a goal at Lynah Rink Nov. 15 during Big Red women's hockey's 6-2 triumph over the visiting Yale Bulldogs. Photo: Ned Dykes.

Women's ice hockey a winner on and off the ice

As the calendar flips to November, all of the Hill is abuzz: hockey season has finally arrived. Over the past five years, Cornell women's ice hockey has experienced success as one of the winningest of the Big Red's 37 varsity programs, collecting four ECAC hockey tournament titles and appearing in the NCAA Frozen Four three times.

Ceremonial puck drop at Nov. 15 women's hockey game

Ceremonial puck drop at Lynah Rink Nov. 15. Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick '09 declared the day "Cornell Women's Hockey Team Day," citing the team's "exceptional work both on and off the ice." Photo: Ned Dykes.

While the Big Red has racked up wins and accolades on the ice, it's the work off of it that the team takes most pride in. Community service and civic engagement have been hallmarks of the program, which has had a long-standing relationship with the Tompkins County chapter of the United Way. Although the rigors and time constraints of being a Division I athlete at a Cornell are considerable, the team frequently finds time to give back to the Ithaca community.

"I think everyone on our team recognizes how lucky we are to have the opportunities we have to go to a fantastic school like Cornell and to play hockey, but we also realize at the same time that not everyone is so lucky," senior team captain Brianne Jenner said. "We are in a great position within the Ithaca community to help those who are less fortunate."

The team is frequently involved in service projects and also has participated in a successful mentoring program called Cub Club, launched in 2010 in partnership with the Tompkins Girls Hockey Association. Another aspect of the team's service to the Ithaca community is its fundraising for the United Way, including the team's annual fundraiser game. The team has played an integral role in raising donations totaling more than $230,000.

Saturday, Nov. 15, was the date for this year's event as the Big Red welcomed Yale to Lynah Rink. Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick '09 declared "Cornell Women's Hockey Team Day," citing the team's "exceptional work both on and off the ice." Morgan Stanley of Ithaca, the primary sponsor of this year's game, pledged to donate $1 for every fan in attendance at Saturday's contest. The United Way also conducted raffles and distributed personal donation pledges in the Lynah Rink concourse for fans.

More than 1,000 fans packed Lynah in support of the cause and got to witness the Big Red's 6-2 triumph over the visiting Bulldogs. The team celebrated a ceremonial puck drop with members of the Cub Club joining their big sisters on the ice. The Big Red jumped to a 2-0 lead in the opening four minutes of play before cruising to the lopsided victory.

"Being involved in service for the Ithaca community has always been very important to our team identity," Jenner said. "We were thrilled to see so many fans turn out for the game last weekend to support both our team and the United Way."

Dan DeCaria is a multimedia coordinator in Cornell's athletics communications office.

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