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Senior goaltender Samantha Ridgewell of the Merrimack College women’s hockey team notched another milestone Thursday afternoon, becoming the first student-athlete in program history to be nominated for the annual Hockey Humanitarian Award. The award, now in its 22ndyear, released its statement naming 17 nominees across the country, with the finalists to be announced in February.

The award first began in 1996, and has become one of the most prestigious honors in college hockey. Nominees can come from any division, with both men’s and women’s programs eligible.

The Hockey Humanitarian Award, as stated on its website, “is given to recognize college hockey players – male or female – who give back to their communities in the true humanitarian spirit.” Grade point average, volunteer and community service, and on-ice play all factor into the award.

Ridgewell becomes just the third representative from Merrimack College, joining two-time nominee and 2017 finalist Collin Delia, and two-time nominee Jordan Heywood (2013-14).

“Sam has been a positive role model both within the locker room and in the community,” said head coach Erin Hamlen. “Our staff, and Merrimack Hockey, are proud of Sam for her selfless contributions,”

Of the 17 recipients, the Outlook, Saskatchewan, native is just one of four female candidates, and one of only two goaltenders.

This season, Ridgewell has been a staple for the Warriors’ defense. In 18 starts between the pipes, she currently boasts a 1.58 goals-against average, while holding a .945 save percentage and a 9-5-3 overall record. Her career-high four shutouts have led her to three Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week awards and a Defensive Player of the Month award.

Ridgewell and the Warriors are back in action this weekend with two games at Vermont.

About the Hockey Humanitarian Award:

While the media often seem preoccupied with the antics of players after the whistle or outside the game—all the while decrying the absence of better role models for our youth—the Hockey Humanitarians want to put sports, and all of its participants, in the proper perspective. And, while team games, by definition, encompass both teamwork and the contributions of the individual to the success of the group as a whole, we want to acknowledge the accomplishments of personal character, scholarship, and the giving of oneself off the ice to the larger community as well. The Humanitarian Award is meant to be seen as a true measure of a person’s worth, not just as an athlete, but as someone who embodies those values that merit our recognition.

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