Revered as one of the elite programs in NCAA Division III women’s ice hockey, the Elmira Soaring Eagles have built a tremendous culture, with the values of belonging, respect and community as its foundation. Such values were highly evident as one of the most heart-warming moments of the 2021-22 season took place.
Hosting the Jamie Huntley-Park Memorial Game, it served as a tremendous tribute, honouring the life, and career, of a former player, whose life was lost far too soon. Having worn the Soaring Eagles colors from 2005 to 2009, an additional touch of class saw the program dedicate the arena’s official’s room in her honor.
Orchestrated by assistant coach Mandy Montgomery, her commendable efforts helped set the tone for a successful event. Taking into account that Huntley also served as a coach in her post-playing career, working with the Gulls and Angels organizations in San Diego, it was only fitting that members of the Angels were on-hand, allowing several facets of Huntley’s career to be celebrated in fitting fashion.
“Our program is deeply embedded in tradition so losing one of our own was devastating to our team and campus community. In addition to her service with the San Diego Police Department, Jamie was an incredible role model as a coach and referee.
Dedicating our officials room and hosting the memorial game was the very least we could do to honor her life and contributions to the hockey world. We had an incredible turnout at the game, including over 100 players from the San Diego Angels girls hockey association, as well as Jamie’s family, friends, past coaches, and several EC alumni who came out to show support.
We finished the game with a 6-0 win, which was our first win in our new conference (NEHC) and also happened to be Head Coach Tim Crowley’s 100th career win, so the whole day turned out to be very special for everyone involved.”
Taking place on November 5th versus the Salem State V, a highly talented roster played in the Memorial Game with a heightened sense of purpose. Setting the tone early was scoring sensation Emma Crocker. Recording the game’s opening goal at the 13:14 mark of the first period, assisted by Madi Morton and Mary McCafferty, Crocker would add her name to the score sheet once again.
Scoring the opening goal of the second period, Crocker eclipsed the 50-goal mark for her career. Prevailing by an eventual 6-0 mark, fittingly, Crocker was recognized as the NEHC Player of the Week for her heroics, adding another element of celebration to such a memorable event.
“Playing in the Jamie Huntley Memorial Game meant so much more than hockey. To have her family and friends flying in from all over the country was truly incredible. The atmosphere in the domes that night will always be one to remember. I am proud to be a part of this program, just knowing that I’m always playing for something more than myself. We had two great wins on the weekend and we are honored to continue playing this season while wearing Jamie’s sticker on our helmets.”
Earning the second shutout of her career, it also represented the second career win for goaltender Maggie Gilman. Hailing from Windsor, Vermont, the junior entered the Tribute Game with a firm grasp of its magnitude. Assembling an inspiring and emotional performance, the shutout added lustre to this proud achievement.
Gilman, a two-sport star who has also played for the Elmira lacrosse team, was elated at the opportunity to gain the start in such a monumental event in program lore. Reflecting on the achievement, her sentiments embody a shared sense of triumph, an event defined by more than a love of the game, but a sincere appreciation for a cherished individual whose impact on Elmira shall live on in the hearts and minds of those who don the Soaring Eagles purple and gold,
“I felt honored to play in such an important game, especially for an alumna who loved hockey just as much as I do. Getting a shutout only sealed this feeling, knowing how important this game was for more than just me and my team, but for Jamie’s family and friends too. Living in the moment and enjoying every second of that tribute game was my way of honoring Jamie and showing support to the many people missing her. It means so much more than just hockey!”