When Northeastern University's women's ice hockey team clinched the 2018-19 Hockey East regular season title, there was no trophy presentation. Not because the Huskies clinched the title on the road, which they did, but because the newly designed trophy they earned was not quite ready.
Monday morning at Merrimack College, the new perpetual trophy will be unveiled and the reason it will make its first public showing in North Andover is that two members of the Merrimack hockey team designed it.
"I made an offer to all of our female hockey players in the fall of 2018 to see if anyone would be interested in coming up with a design for a new trophy," said Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna. "We have been giving out a Revere bowl on a wooden base since the league began 17 years ago. We thought it was time for a permanent trophy with all past winners listed."
One school responded and Bertagna gave the assignment to two Merrimack hockey players: senior forwards Jessica Bonfe (Woodbury, MN) and Madison Morey (Fairbanks, AK.) A number of designs were submitted and one particular model was agreed upon last spring. The job of bringing the students' concept to life was given to World Trophies of Providence, RI.
"We both feel so honored to be a part of the process," said Bonfe and Morey in a joint statement this week. "It was a great experience and we're really pleased with how the design turned out. We can't wait to see where the history goes with the trophy."
The students' work was supervised by faculty and earned the pair academic credit.
"During the 2018 spring semester, Jess asked me if she could pursue designing a women's hockey trophy as a Directed Study," said Merrimack College Associate Professor Nancy Wynn. "We worked out a four-credit course that enabled Jess to design and produce her vision of the trophy. I worked with Jess for a couple of months then asked Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Roselita Fragoudakis, if she had a student to help with the CAD drawings. She did and asked Madison Morey to help Jess with her vision. Wonderfully, both students were on the Merrimack Women's hockey team. The project became a personal passion for both students."
Three designs were presented to Hockey East and Commissioner Bertagna and the students were in agreement on the design that was chosen. Here is how Bonfe described her vision:
"The model chosen was our 'Fire' shape: This sculpture is a free-flowing sculpture just like how hockey is. Players move all around the ice going forward and backwards, up and down, and side to side. Even the way a player skates has a diagonal or curve in their stride, which can be seen on the ice surface itself. Skating is a combination of gliding and cutting into the ice, this design mirrors that skating pattern. Additionally, the design is a buildup of curvatures of all shapes and sizes, which also exemplifies the different body types of a female hockey player. Women's hockey is a unique sport because of all the different body types. Finally, the design has varied scaled items. This helps create interest in the overall form. It is strong by the way it stands and balances. The design sits upon a cylinder base and is supported by a half sphere in-between the two."
Following the public unveiling of the trophy, Bertagna will bring the trophy to Northeastern for a belated presentation as the Huskies prepare for the Hockey East Quarterfinals this weekend. It will also be on display during the 2019 Hockey East Championships that will be played on the weekend of March 8-10, at Providence College's Schneider Arena.
While they did not win the regular season title, the fifth-seeded Merrimack Warriors are getting set to play #4 Providence this weekend and they have their eye on the one remaining Hockey East trophy, the Bertagna Trophy. The #5 seed represents the best ever for the four-year old program
"I'm very proud of Jessica and Maddy for their contributions to Merrimack women's hockey for the past four years on the ice and off," said head coach Erin Hamlen. "These athletes are not only talented hockey players, but are accomplished students with diverse talents. Jessica's creativity in design combined with Maddy's engineering mind have resulted in this trophy. Jess and Maddy embody the true meaning of student-athlete."
Contact: Chris Aliano, Merrimack College, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications (978-837-3472)
Trophy Introduction Event: Monday, March 4, 12:00 noon at the Blue Line Club lounge in the Lawler Rink at Merrimack College.