As the Connecticut Huskies prepare for another season of NCAA women’s hockey, the program welcomes back one of its greatest stars; Jaclyn Hawkins. The all-time leading scorer in Huskies history, she helped give the program national exposure during her storied career.
Joining the new-look Huskies coaching staff, Hawkins will be the only female member. This is a radical change for the program, as Heather Linstad was the previous head coach. Having played for and coached with Linstad, there is no question that Hawkins bleeds Huskies blue. While Hawkins will likely be thrust into the role of a big sister for many of the newer faces on the team, her generosity and compassion makes her a valued member of this new-look program.
While this is actually Hawkins’ second tenure as a member of the Huskies staff (she was a coach for one season before she resumed her playing career in Europe), it is a wiser and more experienced Hawkins that shall return. Having also played for the likes of Erin Whitten and Digit Murphy, she has gained an even greater vision of the game, and it is one that should yield remarkable dividends this season.
Sadly, her playing career was cut prematurely. Having suffered from a wrist injury, she was sidelined early in the 2012-13 CWHL season. Having competed with the Boston Blades, her presence helped to give professional women’s hockey in New England a stronger voice. Although the CWHL has lost one of its greatest ambassadors in Jaclyn Hawkins, she remains an integral part of women’s hockey.
In addition to her coaching duties, she is also the founder and president of the website Women’s Hockey Life. A forum for fans, players, coaches and administrators to share their views on the game, while other sections are dedicated to reviews on equipment and finding a team to play for, it is quite possibly the most important site on women’s hockey in the world.
While CWHL fans will no longer have the opportunity to see one of the true builders of the female game grace the ice, they need to consider that this is not an end, but the beginning of another great chapter. Her chance to return to Connecticut and rebuild the Huskies is a tremendous opportunity.
She is one of the true role models in women’s hockey and her legacy with the Huskies is one that shall instill confidence in the players, while providing them with the motivation to pursue their dreams.