The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) announced its top honors this week. Among the Camels recognized are first-year forward Mairead Hynes, and women’s hockey head coach Kristin Steele.
Junior goaltender Kelsie Fralick, who has organized several bone marrow registry drives on campus and raised awareness about the importance of bone marrow registration, has been nominated for the BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award.
Fralick is one of 18 student-athletes nominated for the national award, which annually honors a men’s or women’s college hockey player who embodies the true spirit of humanity by giving back to the community. Finalists will be announced later this month, and the 2014 recipient will be recognized at an April 11 ceremony as part of the 2014 NCAA Men's Frozen Four in Philadelphia, Pa.
Working with Be The Match, a nonprofit organization that manages the largest bone marrow registry in the world and helps people with life-threating cancers find donor matches, Fralick has organized drives on campus to encourage students to sign up for the registry. She and former teammate Molly Murphy ’13 also launched a conference-wide fundraising and awareness t-shirt campaign. Proceeds from the t-shirt sales are donated to Be The Match.
The issue hits close to home for Fralick. After Mandi Schwartz, a Yale hockey player, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008, Fralick’s high school teammate and Yale player Aleca Hughes began organizing drives and fundraisers to help find Schwartz a match. She died before a match could be found, but Fralick was encouraged that the effort helped other patients find matches.
Fralick said a friend of hers was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, again highlighting the importance of the registry. “If things get worse for her, she will need a blood transfusion; she will need a match,” Fralick said. “Cancer affects people everyday and if there is any way we can help someone deal with it or fight back, we should.”
In addition to her work with Be The Match, Fralick, a classics and anthropology double major, is a coach for the Special Olympics Speed Skating Team of Southeastern Connecticut and has volunteered with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Organization. During the holiday season, Fralick and her teammates assist in the Adopt a Family program, in which groups on campus provide specific items to families in need.
"It is clear to anyone who has seen Kelsie play that she is a tremendous player and leader for our team – her stats speak for themselves," Women's Hockey Coach Kristin Steele said. "Most people outside of the team do not see how much she gives of herself to the local community and to national organizations like Be The Match. She does not talk a lot about these endeavors, but she certainly puts a lot into them."
On the ice, the puck stops with Fralick. She holds the school record for shutouts in a season with six, including a 32-save gem in the 2013 NESCAC championship quarterfinal matchup and helped set a program record with 14 wins last season. Her .947 save percentage was third best in the country and her 1.59 goals against average tied her for 10th place among Division III net-minders.
Fralick is the second Camel to be nominated for the Hockey Humanitarian Award. Women's hockey captain and leader Brigid O'Gorman '11 was honored as a finalist in both 2010 and 2011.
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