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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

Minnesota Duluth faces Harvard in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Hockey Tournament at Ridder Arena
Minnesota Duluth forward Gabbie Hughes (17) celebrates after scoring a goal in the opening minute of the first period against Harvard on Thursday, March 10, 2022, at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis. Hughes would continue on to score a natural hat trick during the game.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

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.

New episodes of the Bulldog Insider Podcast air every Thursday wherever you listen to podcasts.
Minnesota Duluth senior center Gabbie Hughes is not only leading the nation in points per game, she's also leading the way on mental health awareness.
Bulldogs senior center Gabbie Hughes is sporting a sticker with the initials 'SW' and the number '6' in honor of a girl she used to coach during the summers. 'Sophie' died this summer by suicide, and Hughes say she's now playing for her.
Minnesota Duluth's Gabbie Hughes and Ohio State's Sophie Jaques would have been the first winners from their school. Taylor Heise is the third from Minnesota to win the award.
Senior center Gabbie Hughes attempted just a single shot in an NCAA regional final at Minnesota on Saturday, and it sent the Bulldogs to the NCAA Frozen Four for the second consecutive season.
Minnesota Duluth senior center Gabbie Hughes is the Bulldogs' second Hockey Humanitarian Award finalist in school history. She has brought awareness this season to mental health issues facing youth and college athletes through her work with Sophie's Squad.

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

Ice Hockey - Women's Prelim. Round - Group B - Czech Republic v China
Kassy Betinol of China in action with Aneta Tejralova of Czech Republic during the 2022 Olympics at Wukesong Sports Centre in Beijing, China on February 3, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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.

Kassy Betinol (23) of Minnesota Duluth, shown during her freshmen season in 2019-20, takes control of the puck near Emily Antony (4) of Minnesota State-Mankato during a Minnesota Cup semifinal game at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.
Clint Austin / File / caustin@duluthnews.com

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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