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THON Efforts Land Watson ACHA's Community Playmaker Award




Defenseman Kelly Watson has been named ACHA Women's Division 1's 2016-17 Community Playmaker award winner, the association following the conclusion of the season at the 2017 national tournament in Columbus, OH.

The junior captain joins former Lady Icers standout Sara Chroman, the 2010-11 winner of the Community Playmaker award, and 2012-13 Off-Ice MVP Mary Kate Tonetti as Penn Staters who have won the ACHA's pair of one-player-per-year awards given primarily for activities away from the rink. Penn State is now the only school to win the Community Playmaker award twice, while PSU's Eastern Collegiate Women's Hockey League is now the only conference to win in four different seasons when adding in Stephanie Hyde of former ECWHL member SUNY Canton (2012-13) and Massachusetts' Sam Gouin (2013-14).

Watson helped the Women's Ice Hockey Club set a new team fundraising record in contributing towards Penn State's annual IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (commonly known as THON), which took place from February 17th through 19th this year. THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, both in terms of volunteer count and money raised - including $10,045,478.44 at the 2017 event alone - and supports the fight against pediatric cancer through the Four Diamonds Fund at the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.

She served as the WIHC's THON chair and coordinated a far-reaching fundraising campaign, including canning (on designated weekends, students travel to locations away from campus and seek donations), mailed solicitation letters, a Yankee Candle sale, a broad range of team-related THON merchandise and active use of a fundraising website on the team's digital platforms. The Binghamton, NY native is also responsible for managing the team's contact with a designated THON family, the Strayers, which includes 14-year-old cancer survivor Jared Strayer. The team sends Jared occasional gift baskets and notes.

The Lady Ice Lions are rarely in town for THON itself, as it typically falls on the same weekend as the ECWHL playoffs, but this year was an exception and the team fully embraced the increased opportunity to make a difference. Thanks to their fundraising efforts, Watson was eligible to dance at the event, a prestigious honor given THON's size and importance to the Penn State community.

Although not directly related to the award, Watson's hockey and academic performance certainly contributed by painting a picture of a well-rounded student-athlete to the voters. She wound up with six goals in ACHA games (seven overall) to tie with teammate Cassie Dunne for 11th nationally among defensemen. The All-ECWHL honorable mention selection also posted a 3.93 grade point average in her biology major during the fall semester.

Dunne, as an All-ECWHL first team selection, was one of 24 players nationally considered for All-American honors. A procedure change in ACHA Division 1 this season meant that only the six all-league first team players from D1's three conferences, plus six players from independent team Liberty (which was allowed to submit the same number of candidates as an entire conference for some reason), were eligible to be All-Americans. However, Minnesota's Becca Senden and Miami's Nicole Matthews (both World University Games teammates of Dunne's), as well as Adrian's Jess Harrison and Liberty's C.J. Tipping, were voted into the spots for defensemen on the first and second teams.

ACHA DIVISION 1 AWARD WINNERS


First Team
All-American
Second Team
All-American
Alison Dungey
Adrian
G
Amber Greene
Massachusetts
Maddie Wolsmann
Michigan State
F
Brittani Lanzilli
Massachusetts
Kaley Mooney
Miami
F
Carrie Jickling
Liberty
Kaillie Hardy
Adrian
F
Kathleen Ash
Colorado
Becca Senden
Minnesota
D
C.J. Tipping
Liberty
Nicole Matthews
Miami
D
Jess Harrison
Adrian


Zoe M. Harris Award
Player of the Year
Kaley Mooney
Miami
Coach of the Year
Brett Berger
Adrian
Community Playmaker
Kelly Watson
Penn State
Off-Ice MVP
Carrie Jickling
Liberty

ACHA DIVISION 1 COMMUNITY PLAYMAKERS


Year
Player
School
2009-10
Hope Fullum
Emily Moersdorf
Robert Morris
Ohio State
2010-11
Sara Chroman
Penn State
2011-12
Jessica Wood
Miami
2012-13
Stephanie Hyde
SUNY Canton
2013-14
Sam Gouin
Massachusetts
2014-15
Kelsey Brown
Colorado
2015-16
Ellyn Stanton
Adrian
2016-17
Kelly Watson
Penn State

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