Courtesy of Nina Lindberg
The women’s ice hockey team is preparing to take on Princeton and Quinnipiac this weekend, with Saturday’s contest marking the 10th annual memorial game for Mandi Schwartz ’10.
Schwartz, a prominent member of the Yale community who passed away in 2011 due to acute myeloid leukemia, will be honored in the “White Out for Mandi” game. The event looks to honor her love for hockey and commitment to the sport. The event also seeks to raise awareness for the need for bone marrow donors and raise funds for the Mandi Schwartz Foundation, which was founded by Schwartz’s former teammates.
“Mandi has left an indelible mark on the Yale women’s ice hockey program and the broader New Haven community because she was the truest embodiment of a loyal and selfless teammate,” Schwartz’s former teammate and captain Aleca Hughes ’12 said. “Mandi’s legacy strengthens each year as her story continues to inspire people to join the national marrow donor program. To date, over 60 lives have been saved by donations and matches in Mandi’s honor. The White Out is an opportunity to honor Mandi’s immense contribution to the broader community and celebrate a teammate who courageously fought against AML and continues to inspire us all.”
Schwartz hailed from Saskatchewan, born into a family in which hockey was a way of life. Before capturing three minor hockey championships, she got her start in the backyard playing shinny hockey with her younger brothers.
Her brother Jaden was a member of last year’s Stanley Cup-winning St. Louis Blues squad.
“Her smile said it all on those cold winter ice skating day . She loved the opportunity to develop her hockey skills with her brothers guiding and challenging her always,” Mandi’s mother Carol Schwartz recalled. “Her time with family was so important to her and hockey brought them together and made them closer than ever — each loving the game as much as the other.”
After capturing a bronze medal for Saskatchewan in the Canada Games, Schwartz brought her talents down to New Haven in 2006. Her presence was immediately felt by the Bulldogs, both on and off the ice. In each of her first two seasons, Schwartz collected over 10 points and was named an ECAC Hockey All-Academic. She gave her all to the Elis and played in 73 consecutive games before she was diagnosed with AML midway through her third season.
Immediately following her diagnosis, the community both at Yale and in Canada organized bone marrow drives. A donor was eventually found, but Schwartz’s remission was short-lived as her cancer soon returned. Although Schwartz is no longer with us physically, her legacy lives on here at Yale.
“The goal of the White Out is to promote Mandi’s legacy and raise awareness for the marrow donations and the various marrow donor drives held in Mandi’s honor, such as the Annual Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Drive at Yale each April,” Hughes said.
The Bulldogs (13–8–0, 10–4–0 ECAC) will look to keep their win streak — currently at six — alive as they take on the Tigers (15–4–1, 10–3–1) and Bobcats (13–10–3, 5–7–2) in conference play. Princeton currently sits at third in the conference, one spot above Yale by a narrow margin of just one point. The Bulldogs have only won one of their last five meetings with the Tigers but look to take them down in their home arena on Friday night. Princeton has not dropped a game in their past five, winning four and coming out of Cambridge with a tie against Harvard. The Tiger offense is a force to be reckoned with; it scored a cumulative 28 goals in their past five matchups, including a 7–0 thrashing of Dartmouth.
Yale has already faced Quinnipiac once this season at this year’s Nutmeg Classic, losing 3–1 in the final of the tournament. The sole goal came from forward Grace Lee ’23, who snapped a wrister into the back of the Bobcats’ net halfway through the first period. But the Bulldogs’ defense could not hold against the multitude of QU shots and Yale yielded two goals in the second period. The Elis outshot Quinnipiac 16–5 in the third period, but still could not find the equalizer. In the last two minutes, the Bobcats scored on an empty net to bring their total to three. In the Bobcats’ last 11 contests, they emerged victorious in seven and lost three of them by a narrow one-goal margin.
This Saturday’s game is more than just a rematch; it’s a chance for the team to honor the legacy of Schwartz and her profound impact on Yale hockey. As the Elis reach the finishing point of this season with all of their remaining matchups coming against ECAC teams, they will look to keep their win streak alive and claim a pair of victories this weekend.
“We are forever grateful for the people that make the events like the White Out and the Marrow Donor Registration Drive so successful and feel very blessed for the Yale Mandi Schwartz Memorial Scholarship Fund that gives back to the Yale community in her name,” Schwartz’s mother said. “It’s our hope that it inspires all that attend it or hear about to sign up on the marrow registry and to encourage others to do so as well.”
The puck drops at 6 p.m. on Friday in New Haven against the Tigers and then again at 3 p.m. on Saturday as the Bulldogs take the ice against the Bobcats in honor of Schwartz.
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