Seven players recognized for applying core values of hockey to their community and helping to grow and improve hockey culture
BOSTON, MA – (May 4, 2023) – The Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) has announced the seven recipients of the PHF Foundation Awards as selected by all seven PHF teams in recognition of players who actively apply the core values of hockey to their community and help grow and improve hockey culture. Recipients for the 2022-23 PHF season include Sammy Davis of the Boston Pride, Cassidy MacPherson of the Buffalo Beauts, Shannon Turner of the Connecticut Whale, Reagan Rust of the Metropolitan Riveters, Denisa Křížová of the Minnesota Whitecaps, Laura Jardin of the Montreal Force, and Shiann Darkangelo of the Toronto Six.
Davis has been a member of the Pride for three seasons since she was selected first overall in the 2020 draft. The 26-year-old forward from Pembroke, MA always jumps at the chance to be involved in the community with a positive attitude and a smile on her face. Her passion for making hockey accessible is evident in her work with the Travis Roy Foundation which is dedicated to helping spinal cord injury survivors live more independent and hopeful lives through adaptive equipment grants and funding scientific research focused on solving paralysis-related challenges. She also supports Waypoint Adventure which is an organization that challenges youth and adults with disabilities to discover their purpose, talents, and strengths through the transforming power of adventure.
“It’s such an honor receiving this award and seeing the individuals who came before me as they have set the bar really high,” said Davis. “I’m so grateful to have the chance to represent my team and play for the Pride. I’m excited to continue pushing the boundaries and growing the game in hopes of creating a better community and culture for the sport, as everyone who wants to play should feel accepted. Over the years, I’ve worked with a few non-profits, including the Travis Roy Foundation and Waypoint Adventure. Both mean so much to me and create opportunities and access for people with disabilities, which is exactly what this world needs – equal opportunities and access for people with disabilities!”
MacPherson is the longest-tenured member of the Beauts who has played in a franchise record 74 games over four seasons. The 25-year-old forward from Oakville, Ontario embraced a new challenge this season by serving as an assistant coach for the St. Mary’s of Lancaster Lancers girl’s hockey program that was seeking professional experience to guide and mentor their high school players. She helped the team earn its first three wins in WNY Girl’s Varsity Ice Hockey Federation competition after a winless inaugural campaign and is an inspiration for those who aspire to play both collegiately and professionally.
“It is truly an honor to be the Beauts’ recipient of the Foundation Award,” said MacPherson. “Anyone who knows Buffalo knows just how special this city is and how special the Beauts community is. Being able to give back and get involved in the community is my favorite part of being a Beaut.”
Turner is a back-to-back Foundation Award recipient and announced her retirement following eight seasons with the Whale, including four as captain, with a franchise record 132 games played. This season the 31-year-old defender from Markham, Ontario continued her campaign to ‘block out the stigma’ surrounding mental health in partnership with Active Minds and a pledge to donate $1 for every shot she blocked on the ice. She committed an additional $1,000 of her base salary to the cause, and through additional support and donations from individuals and organizations across the hockey community, her two-year total has surpassed $12,500 raised towards mental health awareness programs and education.
“I am thrilled and humbled to be receiving this award in my final year with the Connecticut Whale and the PHF,” said Turner. “I hope that future players continue to use their platforms and donate their time to help others who are struggling or could just use a kind word or smile to lift their spirits. We are all fighting different battles, whether you can see those battles take place on the ice between players or not because they are private ones, we should all know someone is in our corner and on our team.”
Rust is the founder of the Female Athlete Society where she has helped support more than 1,000 female athletes through mentorship and guidance and hosts The Unpaved Path podcast where she uses her platform to highlight different journeys of athletes and people in sports related fields. During her first PHF season, the 26-year-old defender from Southaven, MS was the Riveters player who participated in the most community outreach opportunities and never overlooked a chance to engage with young fans. She was also particularly active in the marketing and planning of the team’s Mental Health Awareness weekend that was held in January.
“I’m very grateful to be receiving this incredible honor,” said Rust. “I can’t even begin to explain how much hockey has impacted me throughout my life. That’s why it’s so important for me to give back to the game that’s given me so much. Helping to create a space in hockey where all feel welcomed and included is my goal. Thank you to the Riveters organization and my teammates for all the support they’ve given me and for nominating me for this award.”
Křížová returned to the United States for her first PHF season since 2018-19 and displayed an endless love for the game and engaging with her new community. The 28-year-old forward from Horní Cerekev, Czechia immediately immersed herself in Richfield by volunteering at all Whitecaps events and connecting with the team’s supporters and became heavily invested in all things hockey across Minnesota by continually promoting the game to young children and growing a special group of fans. On the ice, she recently led her country in scoring to win a second straight bronze medal at the IIHF Women’s World Championship.
“Thank you so much for this award! Growing the game is so important to me as it gave me so many opportunities and joy in life that I want others to experience as well,” said Křížová. “I want everyone to see how awesome our sport truly is and the best way to do that is getting out in the community and interacting with them.”
Jardin was the youngest player on the expansion Force but didn’t let that stop her from being a leader on the ice and in the locker room. The 22-year-old forward from Calgary, Alberta earned the admiration of her teammates by notoriously setting an example as the first one on the ice at every practice and the last one to leave. She turned pro after four years at McGill University and committed herself to the team’s outreach initiatives with youth hockey teams and was regularly involved in charity and media events throughout her rookie season.
“I am so grateful to be receiving this recognition,” said Jardin. “I want to express my appreciation to the league for recognizing the importance of community involvement and the growth of hockey culture. These are values that I hold dear, and it is an honor to be acknowledged for my efforts in promoting them. Hockey has been a passion of mine since I was little, and I believe that it has the power to bring people together. Through my involvement in the community, I have seen firsthand the impact that hockey can have on people, and I hope to continue to grow the sport that we all love. Thank you.”
Darkangelo has been a steadfast leader both on and off the ice ever since the Six joined the PHF. The 29-year-old from Brighton, MI has been the team’s captain and a representative for the Players’ Association for all three seasons and holds all-time franchise offensive records having scored 48 points with 20 goals and 28 assists while playing in all 50 of the team’s games. Her leadership this season not only helped the team hoist the Isobel Cup for the first time but represents the organization’s core values and amplifies everything there is to be a professional athlete and community role model in the PHF.
“I am extremely honored to receive this award for exemplifying the core values of hockey and its continued growth,” said Darkangelo. “I want to thank my teammates for such a memorable season and the Toronto Six organization for giving me the opportunity to do what I love. My goal is to leave this game better than I found it and I let that drive my actions everyday.”
Boston’s Denna Laing was the league’s first Foundation Award recipient for the inaugural 2015-16 season before a member of each team was recognized on an annual basis. Past Pride winners also include Alyssa Gagliardi (2017), Lexi Bender (2018 and 2020), Mallory Souliotis (2019 and 2021), and Jenna Rheault (2022). Beauts winners include Kelsey Neumann (2017), Jacquie Greco (2018), Kelly Babstock (2019), Emma Ruggiero (2020), Carly Jackson (2021), and Grace Klienbach (2022). Klienbach was also recognized as a member of the Whale in 2021 before the team honored Turner in 2022 and following Elena Orlando (2017), Rachael Ade (2018), Sarah Hughson (2019), and Jordan Brickner (2020). Riveters winners include Michelle Picard (2017 and 2018), Kimberly Sass (2019), Rebecca Morse (2020), Saroya Tinker (2021), and Madison Packer (2022). Tinker was also a winner as a member of the Six in 2022 following Mikyla Grant-Mentis in 2021. Whitecaps winners include Hannah Brandt (2019), Allie Thunstrom (2020 and 2022), and Amanda Leveille (2021).
About the Premier Hockey Federation
The PHF is the home of professional women’s hockey in North America. Established in 2015 as the National Women’s Hockey League, the NWHL rebranded to become the PHF in 2021 and provide opportunities for elite athletes to earn a living playing the game they love while fueling the continued growth of the sport. The league is made up of the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters, Minnesota Whitecaps, Montreal Force, and the Toronto Six who all compete annually for the Isobel Cup. As part of a two-year agreement with ESPN, live coverage of the 2023-24 PHF season is available exclusively on ESPN+ in the United States and provides international rights for games which include TSN in Canada. For more information visit premierhockeyfederation.com.
Featured image by: Premier Hockey Federation (PHF)