Campus Currents

Chasing Gold, and Goals
Women's hockey, and an alum, charge after a medal and a championship

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Tom Dahlin

The first job that Kacey Bellamy '09 landed after college was to compete for a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Bellamy found out she was on the U.S. Olympic women's ice hockey team just before Christmas. By then she had already traveled to Vancouver and had gotten a sneak preview of the Olympic layout. By January she couldn't wait to get back there, as a defenseman on one of the best teams in the world. "I think what I'm most looking forward to is the opening ceremonies," she says, adding, "and winning the gold medal."

Just a year ago, Bellamy was the star defenseman and captain of the UNH women's hockey team. Her college career was so remarkable that her picture already hangs among the school's past hockey greats in the lobby of the Whittemore Center.

As Bellamy prepares for the Olympic stage, some of her former college teammates are achieving their own national recognition back in Durham.

On the women's ice hockey team, which in January was 15-4-5 overall and 9-3-2 in Hockey East, Kelly Paton '10 and Micaela Long '10 are two of the top scorers in college hockey, and Courtney Birchard '11 is a leading scorer among defensemen. Despite a roster made up of many new faces—of 21 players, eight are freshmen and two are transfers—the team has been consistently ranked third or fourth in the country all year.

Michael Silverwood

The team's success has helped allay the concerns of its coach, Brian McCloskey, about the team's relative greenness. He says it helps that the freshmen have adapted to his program. "They've really stepped up and have done a terrific job," says McCloskey. "I feel very positive about the impact they'll have in the second half of the year."

For that, they will need to keep themselves healthy. Two cases of mononucleosis and a virus among the freshmen made McCloskey feel snake-bitten. In mid-November, four players came down with the flu. "It actually made me wonder about the apocalypse," he jokes. Despite health woes, the team beat Northeastern at the Frozen Fenway event on Jan. 8 in a thrilling 5-3 game, the first Fenway game in the history of women's college hockey.

Meanwhile, Bellamy and her new teammates were looking forward to recapturing the gold from Canada. Also in Vancouver were fellow UNHers Keely Ames of UNH's Northeast Passage, who worked as a press officer, and volunteer Katie McCarter '10, a recreation management major.

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