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After scoring the most points for the Yale women’s ice hockey team last year, forward Rebecca Vanstone ’22 leads the team in scoring again this season.

Vanstone got her start at just six years old in Canada, where hockey was a way of life in her family.

She hails from Mississauga, Ontario — a city neighboring Toronto. Because their father played hockey at Brock University, Vanstone and her brother were inspired to hit the ice at a young age. In high school, Vanstone played for St. Martin Secondary School’s team as well the Mississauga Jr. Chiefs (now rebranded as the Hurricanes). But for Vanstone, the decision to take her talents to Yale hockey was easy.

“It wasn’t more of a ‘why choose Yale?’ but rather a ‘why not?’” Vanstone said. “What was wrong with this school? Where else could I go to be able to fulfill my athletic and academic goals? As soon as I stepped foot on campus, I was absolutely entranced by the beauty of it all. It motivated me to set goals and achieve them to be able to come here and be the best I could be.”

Vanstone’s experiences in high school were crucial to her success on the ice in her collegiate career. At her school, students attended what was essentially a “hockey class,” combining skating and workouts to train students for their time on the ice. Outside of her secondary school, Vanstone participated in several club teams, competing at a high level of league play.

Vanstone played 76 games as a member of the Mississauga Jr. Chiefs. She scored 70 career goals, becoming the Provincial Women’s Hockey League Bronze Medalist in the 2016–17 season. The following year, she played in the Team Canada summer series and was invited to the 2017 Hockey Canada’s U-18 August Camp. Her team — Ontario Red — won the National Women’s U-18 Championship in the 2017–18 season.

After beginning her first year at Yale, Vanstone didn’t take long to make a name for herself, scoring her first career goal in the team’s season opener against Princeton. Throughout her first season, she continued to dominate on the ice, picking up 13 goals and 21 points in 28 games to lead the team in both stats. Vanstone also earned the honors of ECAC Rookie of the Week, All-ECAC Rookie Team, and All-Ivy Second Team to cap off an incredible first season.

“Becca Vanstone brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the team on and off the ice,” captain and forward Laura Anderson ’20 said. “I have enjoyed seeing her this year as a sophomore compared to last year as a first year. She has become more of a leader and still brings the same energy to get the team excited and keep things going.”

The Bulldogs kicked off this season with two wins against LIU in late October. Vanstone scored three goals, starting another high-scoring season. She collected three more tallies in the Elis’ contests with No. 10 Dartmouth and No. 2 Harvard before suffering an injury in early December.

Vanstone’s injury sidelined her for almost a month, but she recovered and regained the strength to rejoin her team on the ice. Vanstone noted that her injury made her appreciate her team even more — sitting out of games revamped her love for the sport and made her grateful for the group that has given her a place to belong at Yale.

“Vanstone has been great since she returned from her injury and is now back with a familiar linemate in Claire Dalton [’22],” head coach Mark Bolding said. “She’s doing a great job and we look forward to her getting stronger as the playoffs approach.”

Bolding asserted that as a player, Vanstone is constantly in motion in the offensive zone, allowing her to look for scoring opportunities whenever possible. She also works very hard without the puck in the Elis’ zone, which makes her a better two-way player and complements the work of her teammates.

Vanstone has truly found a home within the women’s hockey team, describing her team as “loyal, happy, funny and competitive.” According to Anderson, Vanstone is a key component of that connected atmosphere. Her leadership shines both on and off the ice, as she’s constantly helping teammates to position themselves and inquiring about how they’re doing outside the realm of hockey.

“Becca is a key player on the ice and having her back has been great, especially over these past few important games,” said forward Dalton of her linemate. “Off the ice Becca is a ball of energy. Even when she was injured, she was a big source of positivity.”

Vanstone and the rest of the Yale squad will next take on Princeton in a home game this Friday night.

Akshar Agarwal | akshar.agarwal@yale.edu

Alessa Kim-Panero | alessa.kim-panero@yale.edu