Women's ice hockey program celebrates 20 years of growth and success

October 27, 2021

Women's ice hockey celebrates 20 years

As Quinnipiac’s No. 8 nationally ranked ice hockey team looks forward to beginning conference play at home in a couple of weeks, past and present student-athletes are reflecting on the growth of the program since its inception 20 years ago.

The program’s success has skyrocketed into the national consciousness since its inception, especially under current head coach Cassandra Turner. Most recently, the Bobcats had the best program start with six consecutive wins.

“The women’s ice hockey team is a storied program at Quinnipiac,” said President Judy Olian. “The wonderful alumnae who launched this celebrated program were talented, focused and passionate. Their dedication and skilled playing transformed a small program into one that is regularly ranked among the nation’s best. These women, as student-athletes, were inspiring both on the ice and in the classroom, and are role models to the many women who came after them across our Division I sports teams.”

The success of the program is the story of strong women who realized their dreams — and the dreams of a university.

“In celebrating 20 years of women’s hockey we’ve reflected on the amazing women who’ve worn the Bobcat jersey with pride and can smile knowing that they all left as better versions of themselves,” said Turner. “We’re so grateful to work with such driven women and are proud to see and hear about how their experience at Quinnipiac has prepared them for life after college. We wouldn’t be where we are without the contribution of our alumnae setting great standards and expectations for our team. We look forward to continuing to celebrate our 20 years throughout the season.”

Greg Amodio, director of athletics, congratulated the team on all it has achieved — and will achieve in the future.

"On behalf of the entire athletic department, we are proud to recognize the 20th anniversary of women’s ice hockey at Quinnipiac," said Amodio. "Under Cassie’s leadership, the program continues to thrive in its pursuit of outstanding academic and athletic achievement. And, a special thank you to all the women’s ice hockey student-athletes and alumni who have represented the program with honor and dignity."

Eric Grgurich, executive director of the People's United Center, said the program will always hold a special place in his heart — as well as the thousands of fans who support the team throughout #BobcatNation.

“It’s been exciting to watch the program grow — and, on a personal note, to be here to witness an ECAC Hockey championship has been a moment I will remember fondly for years to come,” he said. “The crowd and the atmosphere at that game was second to none.”

Trudy Stacey ‘09, a former team captain, describes the feeling of watching the current team compete at such a high level as “thrilling.”

“Seeing the team evolve and grow into today’s powerhouse program is a phenomenal feeling knowing my teammates and I played a small part in that journey,” said Stacey.

The Bobcats have called the People’s United Center home since it was opened in 2007. And although it has had a handful of names over the years, the on-campus dual hockey and basketball arenas has demonstrated itself to be a game-changer in both women’s and men’s ice hockey and basketball.

Quinnipiac’s women's ice hockey is the only team — other than Clarkson — to finish in the top half of the ECAC Hockey regular season standings for 12 consecutive years. 

While the on-ice memories are great, players hold a special place for the moments not seen by most fans.

For Sadie Peart ‘23, summer beach trips with the team have become highlights of her college experience. These moments allow for the team to bond not only as teammates, but also as a family that will stick together even after graduation.

“My teammates are my sisters away from home,” she said. “They each have their different personalities and I know I can always count on them when need be.”

A large factor of the program’s success has been the culture of the team.

Former assistant captain Taryn Baumgardt ‘17 explained how the emphasis of culture bettered the players on and off the ice.

“The culture of the program was of the utmost importance to the players, coaching staff and support staff when I was involved in the program,” she said. “Pride and collaboration were the leading factors in the women’s ice hockey culture, and it helped to create an environment where we could grow both as an athlete and as a person during our time at Quinnipiac."

Getting to watch your old program reach success is exciting, but for the Bobcats, staying in touch with past and present players is emphasized.

Former assistant captain Liz Jankowski ’03 wasn’t coached by Turner when she joined the Bobcats in 2001 but appreciates how connected the program is with its alumnae.

Turner “has always made an effort to create a community of alumnae and for current players to know the history of the program,” Jankowski said. “I have been able to get back to Hamden for some of the alumnae games and have enjoyed meeting alumnae from other years and connecting with old teammates.”

Turner set the NCAA record for wins by a first-year head ice hockey coach at any level during the 2015-16 season. She recorded 30 wins in her first season as head coach. The team won the ECAC Hockey Regular Season and Tournament in 2015-16, sending the team to its second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

As the Bobcats celebrate the 20th anniversary, past and present players remain thankful for what they learned in their time at Quinnipiac.

Former captain Regan Boulton ’13 attributes Quinnipiac for some of the lessons she’s taken with her through life post hockey and tries to implement them among the players that she now coaches as well as shed some knowledge to current Quinnipiac players.

“After your four years are up, you are going to wish you had all of the moments back — the good, the bad, and the ugly,” said Boulton. “No one is going to remember the points or goals; they are going to remember how you were as a person — character trumps all.”

The Bobcats will play in the team's ECAC Hockey home opener next weekend. Get your tickets

Help grow the program by contributing to the women's ice hockey team — or any of the university's other 21 D-I teams — now as part of the Bobcat Challenge, running through October 30.

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