Hockey Humanitarian nominee Loebs making college more than books and athletics at St. Michael’s

St. Michael’s senior Emily Loebs has put together a solid career with the Purple Knights, on and off the ice, and has her future planned out post-graduation (photo: James Buck).

Emily Loebs is a true humanitarian in every sense of the word.

Yet even as the St. Michael’s senior is the lone Division II or Division III women’s player nominated for the prestigious Hockey Humanitarian Award, she deflected the attention elsewhere.

“I am beyond honored to have even been nominated for this award,” said Loebs. “It is really cool to be the only D-II women’s player, which is surprising, though, because I know of a lot of people on this campus alone that I could think of that have done some amazing things.”

One of 18 nominees for the honor, Loebs said to win the award would render her speechless.

“It would all be because of the people around me,” Loebs said. “I am so grateful for their help and support along the way, because I sure couldn’t have done any of what I’ve done without the people I have met and worked with the past four years. Whether it is professors who have supported and respected me as a two-sport athlete and understanding my determination to succeed in the classroom, or mentors who have pushed me to get involved and give back in so many different ways, I honestly don’t know where I would be.”

A defenseman and captain on the ice, Loebs also plays for the Purple Knights’ lacrosse team; while away from athletics, she is heavily involved on campus.

Loebs is serving her second year as the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee president and she also sits on the Athletic Advisory Council, Hall of Fame Board, and Senior Gift Committee.

“Within SAAC alone, we partner with Special Olympics and Make-A-Wish, as well as smaller local programs such as a pen pal program that we started this fall and a partnership with Woodside, which is a correctional facility for juveniles,” explained Loebs. “SAAC has given me an outlet to really go above and beyond my comfort level in both the managing of people, running meetings off agendas, and working with a number of different people.”

The native of Acton, Mass., also went through the Purple Knight Leadership Academy and was a student representative on the search committee for the school’s new AD last year.

“Both were experiences that truly pushed my comfort level through the experiences,” said Loebs. “Through these experiences, as well as the numerous volunteer experiences directly with both teams, I feel like I have grown to value giving back and reaching out to the local community. Whether it be spending a few hours at an Alzheimer’s nursing home painting with patients, coaching young girls and boys for hockey, or cheering on the Special Olympics basketball team for hours during a tournament, seeing the smiles and impact that one can leave is something I wouldn’t trade for anything.”

Loebs added that being more than a student and an athlete is part of who she is, and it will pay off in the long run.

“For me, being well rounded is beyond important because the reality is I will not be playing sports forever,” said Loebs. “Getting involved with the community, learning how to work in large and small groups, but mainly learning how to meet, communicate and make a difference in other people’s lives is something I have valued learning how to do.”

Now in the home stretch of her college career, Loebs can still remember her first day she set foot on campus.

“It is crazy that I am already a senior,” said Loebs. “I feel like I was just moving in and so nervous about whether I would make the team and what college would be like. The typical ‘It goes by so fast, enjoy it’ has become more apparent as I have gotten older and I wish I appreciated it as much as my upperclassmen had once told me to.”

Choosing to make SMC her college of choice was an easy decision some four years ago for Loebs.

“What initially attracted me to St. Mike’s was definitely the community and how amazing the people are up here,” said Loebs. “Being able to feel comfortable my first minute on campus was something I wasn’t expecting. Also, I was really drawn to the amount of opportunity that was presented to me in terms of my studies, extracurriculars, as well as the opportunity to try to play both hockey and lacrosse here.

“I have met some truly remarkable people here throughout my four years and continue to be amazed every day with the people around me. Creating and holding onto relationships is really not the easiest thing, especially in college. I have been fortunate to have my best friends around me also be my teammates and support me in my efforts with both teams and everything else that I do.”

Like most seniors, Loebs said when she looks back on her time spent at St. Michael’s, she realizes how much she has matured as a person and as an athlete.

“When I think back and assess my four years at SMC, I think a lot about how much I have grown not only as an athlete, but as a person as well,” said Loebs. “That is definitely a focus here, to really develop athletes into well-rounded people who will be able to make a difference after graduation. On the ice, I think I have grown into a confident player and leader. To be honest, I can’t think of any hockey highlights. I just go out trying to play consistent and be a team player. If I had to pick a highlight out, I guess I would say my first collegiate goal, which was the last game of my freshman year against Manhattanville. I remember it was on the power play, a shot from the point.”

This season, the Purple Knights are just 3-14-1 and 1-10-0 in the NEHC, with home games on tap this weekend against No. 10 Castleton and New England College.

“It has been a tough season so far, but I think going forward with a positive outlook is my plan,” Loebs said. “I sometimes have to ask myself why I started playing hockey and it used to always be because of the love of the game. As you mature and get older and more involved, sometimes I feel like this is pushed away and forgotten, so I really am trying to play because of the love of the game. That will make everything happen that needs to happen.”

And what got that ball rolling? A simple email.

“Coach (Chris Donovan) emailed us a great article that sums up what I hope I can do my last semester here — to focus on how I can serve the team on and off the ice,” noted Loebs. “It does no good to focus on what I can get and take away from my experiences, but I want to be remembered and leave a legacy in this service way.”

Once graduation takes place and the “real world” opens up for Loebs, she already has a plan in place.

A psychology major with minors in accounting and business administration, Loebs originally wanted to pursue a career in the FBI, but is now looking at the finance industry. She has a job lined up with the professional development program at State Street in Boston.

“Finance has a competitive and fast-paced environment, which is definitely where I thrive,” said Loebs. “The one thing I know for sure is that I am a people person and want to be in a career in which I am surrounded by people and constantly challenged to better myself and those around me. I have really enjoyed sports psychology throughout my education, so if I go directly anywhere with psychology, it would definitely be connected with athletics. For me, psychology is all about understanding people, and in most jobs, you work with all sorts of different kinds of people.”

Yes, even humanitarians.

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