Friday, 26 February 2016

Princteon show support with A Day for Denna Laing

In a season that culminated with the Princeton Tigers capturing the ECAC regular season championship, there has been a remarkable extra source of motivation. As former two-time Tigers captain Denna Laing suffered a spinal cord injury in the Women’s Winter Classic (contested on New Year’s Eve 2015), the outpouring of love and support from the hockey community, both female and male, has been nothing short of astounding.
Such admiration has been proudly displayed by the Tigers, hoping to raise her spirits while showing the true essence of teamwork and devotion. Earlier in the month, road trips to Dartmouth and Harvard culminated with a visit to Denna Laing in the hospital. Tigers head coach Jeff Kampersal led the roster into the Boston hospital as Laing greeted them with a warm, glowing smile. Senior Maddie Peake, a former teammate of Laing showed leadership by bringing ease and comfort with questions for Laing. The result was a cordial and jubilant experience which also saw Laing proud to show the progress in the improvement of her motor skills.

One week before the regular season wound down, the program hosted a special fundraiser. The February 13 event was aptly titled, “A Day for Denna Laing” and took place during the contest against the St. Lawrence Skating Saints. Laing even sent a recorded message of thanks, only adding to the feeling of friendship on this special day. With all proceeds benefitting the Denna Laing Fund, the Tigers held a bake sale, silent auction, accepted donations and also staged a “Chuck-a-Puck” event, quickly becoming a popular feature at all levels of hockey.

In addition, there were very sharp-looking black and orange tuques (also known as Beanies) that featured the wording “#14 Strong” on the front. While Laing wore the number 24 with the NWHL’s Boston Pride, her Tigers number was 14. Throughout the hockey community, teams have gathered to the ice and posed for a group photo where players form the number 14, proudly posting it on social media.

While the contest against St. Lawrence was settled in overtime, the feeling of pride and dedication for Denna lifted the Tigers to a victorious ascension. With junior Kelsey Koelser logging the game winning tally just 25 seconds into the overtime frame, the fans at Hobey Baker Rink roared in approval, proud of the team’s fighting spirit. As a side note, the victory provided senior goaltender Kimberly Newell with her 50th as a member of the Tigers.

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