Women's Hockey Program
St. Lawrence University is one of the few primarily NCAA Division III institutions in the nation that offers both a women's and men's Division I ice hockey program as part of its athletic offerings. Its men's program has a long history in NCAA Division I hockey, while the women's program enters its 13th season as a full-time D-I program in 2009-10 with an overall record of 273-128-32 (.667).
As a program, St. Lawrence women's hockey has gone from a club team to a Division III powerhouse with three championships to a Division I national runner-up in the 2000-2001 season. Transitioned to a full Division I program for the 1997-98 season, the Saints took just four years to make their way into the first-ever NCAA Women's Frozen Four. They defeated top-ranked Dartmouth, 3-1, in the semifinal before falling to Minnesota-Duluth, 4-2, in the national championship game.
The first-ever St. Lawrence women's hockey game was played in the fall of 1974 at Appleton Arena. Kathy (Kretow) Eyre, Sue Hess, Cathy Sessions, Linda (Knauerhase) Tersegno and Diane Weber, all of the class of 1978, and Ruth-Anne Goldberg (‘79), formed the first women's ice hockey club at St. Lawrence. This pioneering group recruited many of their classmates and managed to enlist Bill Coakley, then a graduate student, as their coach. Peter Blair '76, a member of the Saint men's team, assisted Coakley. This first team scheduled several games for the spring of 1974, including contests with Canton High School, Clarkson, Potsdam and Cornell. The Saints went 1-1-1 as a club team in that first season of play. During the club's next three years, Eyre and Hess served as the team's captains while men's team member Tom McDonald '77 mentored the team.
In 1979, the Saints began their first season as an official intercollegiate team under former Saint men's coach Bernie McKinnon. The team played an independent schedule, which became difficult when several nearby colleges dropped their women's programs.
In the latter stages of the 1980s, an ECAC Division III league was formed and included more competitive teams among women's squads such as Bowdoin, Colby, Middlebury, and RIT as well as St. Lawrence. The Saint schedule included games against Ivy League schools, Canadian schools and some established Division I programs. RIT edged the Saints in the first ECAC Division III women's championship game by a final score of 5-4, but St. Lawrence came back to win the next three championships in a row ('90, '91, '92). The Division III league disbanded in 1993 and the current members of the ECAC women's league were joined by Colby, St. Lawrence and RIT. RIT elected not to compete after the first season and was replaced by Boston College.
St. Lawrence made the playoffs in the first three years of this new league and pulled a major upset over top-seeded Brown in a 1995 quarterfinal game. The victory resulted in the first semifinal appearance for one of the Division III teams in the tournament. Along with a solid defense, the scoring of Rhonda Mitchell and the goaltending of Ginny Murray were keys to the 2-1 victory.
In 1997, the University petitioned the NCAA for full Division I status with the approval of the University administration and the Board of Trustees. The team went 13-29-4 in its first two seasons under head coach Ron Waske. Paul Flanagan took over and led the team to an 18-15-1 record in his first season in 1999-2000, losing to Harvard in the quarterfinals of the ECAC Tournament. In his second season as head coach, Flanagan led the Saints to the first-ever NCAA Frozen Four, beating top-ranked Dartmouth before losing to Minnesota-Duluth in the championship game to finish 24-8-3. The Saints followed up that season with a 22-10-4 record, advancing to the semifinals of the ECAC Tournament before losing to Brown, 3-1. In 2004, the Saints returned to the Frozen Four, finishing third in the country with a 28-10-1 record and a share of the ECAC regular season title. That proved to be the first of four consecutive Frozen Four appearances for the Scarlet and Brown, as they earned NCAA Tournament quarterfinal wins in 2006 (Minnesota Duluth, 1-0) and 2007 (UNH, 6-2). The Saints continued their string of NCAA Tournament appearances to six straight in 2008 and 2009, but were eliminated in the quarterfinals by UNH (3-2 in OT) and Mercyhurst (3-1).
Appleton Arena, the home of the Saints, is one of the nation's finest on-campus ice arenas and an outstanding place to play college hockey. Named after the late Judge Charles W. Appleton, Class of 1897, it was constructed through gifts from the Appleton family, SLU alumni, students and friends of the University. The building hosted its first game in January of 1951 and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2001. It has been the site of home games for the Saint men's and women's hockey teams and junior varsity games and has hosted professional exhibition games, high school hockey, junior college hockey and at one time basketball.
|Women's Hockey Team Records (PDF)||49.49 KB|
|Women's Hockey Individual Records (PDF)||36.39 KB|