UMD women's hockey: Hughes passed over for Hockey Humanitarian Award, Betinol transferring
Bulldogs senior center Gabbie Hughes was among five finalists for the Hockey Humanitarian Award. She was also a top-three finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award
DULUTH — Union senior forward Josh Kosack was named the 2022 recipient of the Hockey Humanitarian Award on Friday, beating out Minnesota Duluth senior center and mental health advocate Gabbie Hughes for the title of “college hockey’s finest citizen.”
Kosack, who was named a finalist for the second consecutive season, has raised over $50,000 for an after-school tutoring and enrichment program for kids known as C.O.C.O.A. House (Children of Our Community Open to Achievement) in Schenectady, New York. The organization was started by a Union College student from Schenectady and continues to be run by Union students and members of the local community.
The ECAC Student-Athlete of the Year, Kosack helped with C.O.C.O.A. House’s annual Christmas toy drive and the development of a second Kozi’s Kids Lounge in the organization’s second location.
Hughes — who was also among the top three finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award — along with her family helped found Sophie’s Squad, an organization that was formed following the death by suicide of 14-year-old Sophie Wieland last summer. The mission of Sophie’s Squad is to bring awareness to mental health issues facing youth, high school and college student athletes and removing the stigma of seeking help for mental health.
Sophie’s Squad has held events throughout the 2021-22 season at youth at youth and high school hockey events to raise funds and awareness for the mental health of young athletes, and has even held events this past season at Amsoil Arena during Bulldogs hockey games and at Minnesota Wild games at Xcel Energy Center.
Hughes, who will return to UMD in 2022-23 as a fifth-year senior center, is also active on the UMD Green Bandana Project, a student-athlete-led mental health awareness campaign on campus that also looks to end the stigma surrounding mental health while providing resources to fellow college students. Student-athletes who are part of the organization tie green bandanas to their bags.
In addition to Hughes and Kosack, other finalists for this year’s Hockey Humanitarian Award — an all-division, all-gender award in college hockey — include Saint’s Mary’s University senior goaltender Jordan Keeley, Rensselaer junior defenseman Hannah Price and Massachusetts-Boston junior forwards Jacob Adkins and Andrew Walker.
Betinol enters transfer portal
After representing China at the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, Kassy Betinol will not return to the Bulldogs in 2022-23 for her redshirt junior season. She confirmed to the News Tribune this week that she has entered her name in the NCAA transfer portal.
Betinol played two seasons at UMD from 2019-2021 before taking a sabbatical to play in the Olympics in 2021-22. She totaled three goals and four assists in 55 career games as a fourth-line forward at UMD, but had a breakout season in 2021-22 playing with the Chinese national team program.
Betinol recorded 10 goals and 11 assists in 22 games playing for the Vanke Rays (the team was composed entirely of Chinese national team players) in the top Russia women’s professional league prior to the Olympics. She had one goal in the Olympics, beating former UMD teammate Emma Soderberg in a preliminary round match against Sweden.
A native of Okotoks, Alberta, Betinol was a heritage player for China at the 2022 Games. Her great-grandparents on her mom’s side were both Chinese. She still has up to three years of NCAA eligibility remaining.