Aleca Hughes ’12, the women’s hockey captain who led efforts to honor former teammate Mandi Schwartz ’11, was awarded the BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award in a ceremony in Tampa on Friday.
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The annual award, currently in its 17th year, is open to male and female hockey players in Divisions I and III of the NCAA and seeks to recognize those who have made a significant contribution to their communities, in the spirit of humanitarianism. Hughes has led initiatives on campus aimed at helping cancer patients in honor of her former team mate Mandi Schwartz ’11, who passed away from leukemia last April.
In the fall, Hughes started the Mandi Schwartz Foundation, which provides support to youth hockey players battling cancer, and for the past two years she has organized the “White Out for Mandi” fundraiser games, which have raised over $50,000 for the foundation. Hughes has been a driving force behind the annual Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive at Yale, held each April by the football, field hockey and women’s ice hockey teams. Since its inception in 2009, the drive has added nearly 2,500 potential marrow donors to the registry.
Schwartz’s parents, Carol and Rick, travelled from Saskatchewan to Florida to attend the Hockey Humanitarian Award ceremony. Hughes won over four other finalists, including hockey players from Norwich, Colgate, St. Anselm, and Miami University. Last year, she was also a finalist but did not win the award.
This year’s Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive at Yale is scheduled for April 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Commons.