The ECAC announced Friday that it is re-naming the annual women’s student-athlete of the Year award the Mandi Schwartz Student-Athlete of the Year Award honoring the former Yale player who was an inspiration in her bout with leukemia, but tragically passed away last April at the age of 23.
Schwartz was a forward with Yale and had a string of 73 consecutive games played. She was known as a player with tenacity and spirit, as well as a caring friend, but in the fall of 2008, during her junior year, her teammates noticed that the usually hard-working Schwartz seemed to be chronically tired and struggling to keep pace on the ice.
On Dec. 8, 2008, Mandi was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. She returned home to Saskatchewan for treatment. On Jan. 8, 2010, after five rounds of strong chemotherapy treatment and 130 days in the hospital put her in remission allowing her to return to Yale for the spring semester. She was planning to return to playing hockey in the 2010-11 season, but in April of 2010 she learned that the cancer had returned.
In an effort to save her life, Mandi received a stem cell transplant in September 2010 at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, but a biopsy in December 2010 revealed that the cancer had returned.
On the last home weekend of women’s play at each ECAC school, the Mandi Schwartz Student-Athlete of the Year finalists will be recognized pre-game on the ice as part of each program’s senior weekend. This will begin this weekend as Clarkson and St. Lawrence cap off their regular-season home schedules.