The Huntington News

Women’s hockey team makes local impact

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By Maddie Sattler, News Staff

News Staff Photo/Jill Saftel

News Staff Photo/Jill Saftel

Friends and family of the Northeastern women’s hockey team filled Matthews Arena on Saturday to cheer on their daughters and friends. But this time, they weren’t on the edge of their seats hoping for a win, but on their feet supporting a new winner.

Marianne Mahoney, a 13-year-old from Newton, became an official teammate of Northeastern Athletics Saturday afternoon through Team Impact, an organization that pairs collegiate athletic teams with children who are facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses.

Mahoney has Spina Bifida, a disease caused when the spinal cord does not close all the way in the womb.

Right before the fall semester, the Huskies found out they received a match after two years of waiting, and Mahoney was going to become a part of their team. Redshirt senior forward Kelly Wallace spearheaded this project and worked closely with Team Impact and the Mahoney family to make the event special.

“Hearing about the program in general I think that obviously Northeastern in an important part of the city and the hockey team is an amazing thing,” Mahoney’s father, Peter Mahoney, said. “So we were really excited to have any kind of participation with the university and this team is really fantastic.”

They ultimately decided to hold the ceremony now because it was parents’ weekend for the team, so supporting families were able to attend the draft as well.

“We were trying to think of how we could make this a special day not only for Marianne, but also for the team,” head coach Dave Flint said. “So we thought what better time to do it than parents’ weekend when everyone is here to celebrate this.”

Players, their families, the Mahoneys and coaches were served lunch before Flint addressed the group, noting that Mahoney was “the missing piece to our team’s puzzle.” He officially drafted her to the team, which was followed by a standing ovation.

Wallace then took the microphone and read Mahoney the contract that was drafted by the team. It included things like always singing Beyonce as loud as possible on the bus, cheering loudly for the team no matter what, giving high fives as much as possible and always being positive.

“They’re helping us and we’re helping them,” Wallace said. “We’re their support team and when they’re here, nothing else matters.”

Mahoney signed the contract and received her No. 15 jersey from her new coach.

Athletic director Peter Roby addressed the crowd, mentioning how proud he was of the team and the athletic culture here at Northeastern.

“The Northeastern family just got better today,” Roby said.

Mahoney and her family were in attendance for the Huskies’ 5-4 victory over the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Mahoney will be involved with the team throughout the season, attending as many practices and games as she is able to, as well as team dinners and excursions.

“A lot of people think it’s just the team helping these children, but it really makes you put life in perspective,” Wallace said. “Like I said this morning, the glass is always half full.”