Yale women’s hockey star forward Jamie Haddad ’16 leads the Bulldogs with her bullish work ethic.
Since starting her career as a Bulldog three years ago, she has accumulated numerous team honors, including leading the team in points her freshman year. Currently, she tops the roster in both goals and points, with nine and 22, respectively. She also is one of only two players to complete a hat trick this season.
Haddad’s success on the ice, she says, comes from a competitive spirit developed by constantly challenging her older brother from a young age. Before she turned three, her parents took her rollerskating, skiing and ice skating.
From early on, it was clear Haddad was a natural athlete. Before settling on skating, she tried several sports, including ballet and gymnastics.
But when Haddad did settle on skating, it was not the kind her mother hoped for — taking after her brother, Haddad wanted to play hockey.
Haddad’s major hockey success at Yale comes from a competitive spirit she has had since she was young when she was constantly challenging her older brother. She remembers her parents taking her roller-skating, skiing and ice skating all before the age of three, forming her into a natural athlete. As a young child, she tried several sports, including ballet and gymnastics, before deciding she wanted to skate — but it was not the kind of skating her mother had hoped for. Haddad, taking after her brother, wanted to play hockey.
While her brother’s hockey career lasted roughly a year, Haddad has been playing for 17 years. Her first team was in the local town league. At six, she transferred to a boy’s travel team. Once in middle school, she began playing for Assabet Valley, arguably the best women’s team for the age group, where she went on to win the US National championships in 2009 and 2012, also serving as captain in 2009. In high school, she played concurrently for Assabet Valley and her prep school, Deerfield Academy.
During her college search, she only visited Yale at her father’s request.
“I originally didn’t want to look here at all,” Haddad said. “I wanted to go to Harvard, after playing so long in Concord [Mass., the home of Assabet].”
She changed her mind after spending the night with a former teammate and has been in love with the campus ever since.
Here at Yale, Haddad has been part of a major change in the women’s hockey program. Two seasons ago, the team had just five wins. This year, they are likely to earn a spot in the ECAC playoffs. She attributes the turnaround to the hiring of a new strength and conditioning coach, Emil Johnson, who got the team in better shape than ever before.
Despite being smaller than many of her teammates and having never lifted before coming to Yale, Haddad holds many of the team’s strength records.
In addition, a less complacent attitude from the upperclassmen has played a significant role in improving the program.
Now Haddad is one of those upperclassmen and she hopes to be a positive role model for younger players, although she remains humble about her accomplishments.
“Jamie contributes a lot in the locker room, making sure we stay focused and we know what we need to work on in the upcoming periods,” forward Phoebe Staenz ’17 said. “She is motivational and always works hard on and off the ice.”
Haddad said she makes a point of supporting her teammates, describing it as a way of showing her dedication.
“I’m willing to stick up for any of my teammates,” Haddad said. “I’ve gotten a couple penalties from smashing people who have smashed my teammates.”
Her loyalty is recognized by her teammates, who noted not just her statistical success, but also her work ethic.
“She is such a hard worker and always gives 100 percent in practice and games. Whether it is her relentless forecheck or her willingness to block shots, she never fails to contribute with a lot of energy which can swing the momentum of the game in our favor,” forward Hanna Åström ’16 said.
Haddad is grateful for the community that the team provides. Although she regrets that she misses out on so much of Yale because of her commitment to hockey, she says the friends and experiences are worth it.
Haddad still has one more season with the Bulldogs, but that is likely to be her last time playing competitive hockey. She is conscious of the injury risks and is excited to see where her potential career in law or finance takes her.
“I don’t want to play hockey [after graduation],” Haddad said. “But I know that all of the things that it has taught me, like discipline and work ethic, I’ll have forever. I’ve been playing hockey so long it’s instinctive.”