Richardson Women Remarkable Symbols of Strength and Courage in Women's Hockey

Mark Staffieri@@MarkStaff100Contributor IIDecember 24, 2012

Morgan Richardson (left), Photo from Hockey Canada, Stephanie Richardson (right) Photo by Mark Holleron
Morgan Richardson (left), Photo from Hockey Canada, Stephanie Richardson (right) Photo by Mark Holleron

With the Provincial Women’s Hockey League holding its first annual Do It for Daron contest (the foundation which honors the life of the late Daron Richardson), it was a fitting tribute to have Stephanie and Morgan Richardson (mother and sister) in attendance.

“I am thrilled and proud that the PWHL did this,” proclaimed Stephanie.

The opening faceoff was a special moment in PWHL history, as Stephanie Richardson and OWHA president Fran Rider participated in the ceremonial faceoff while Morgan and many of her former PWHL teammates proudly stood on the ice.

Current PWHL Ottawa Senators player Stacy Galasso looks up to the Richardson women.

“I do look up to them a lot. What they have done is really good. They have come forward to help others with their suffering.” Senators alumni and current Harvard Crimson player Jessica Harvey noted, “They are a great family. What they are doing is amazing. They are helping to raise awareness while helping other families.”

The reunion with former PWHL teammates was a great source of happiness for Morgan. “It was fun. Seeing everyone again was really cool.”

Of note, the former PWHL players in attendance included current NCAA stars Amanda Leveille, Jamie Lee Rattray and Cydney Roelser, to name a few. 

Other clubs in the Ottawa area such as the Ottawa Senators (NHL), Ottawa 67s (OHL) and Carleton Lady Ravens (CIS) have also held their own contests in tribute to DIFD. Even former PWHL players have had their NCAA schools hold matches in honor of DIFD.

Jenna Ciotti, a former teammate of Morgan with the PWHL Senators, held a DIFD night with the Yale Bulldogs during the 2011-12 season.

“There were four teams there, including Clarkson, which did things there. To know that the NCAA did it was awesome.” Morgan proudly proclaimed.

Her time with the PWHL Ottawa Senators was a source of great pride, “It was incredible to play in the PWHL for three years. I would love to see (the DIFD game) continue this on very, very often.”

As the crosstown rival PWHL Senators and Nepean Wildcats competed in the first annual event, many of the competitors were friends of Morgan.

“I have known players for both teams. They are both awesome teams.”

Having graduated to the NCAA level, Morgan is in her first season with the nationally-ranked Cornell Big Red, of which she is one of eight highly-prized recruits. “Cornell is really fun. My teammates are awesome and I have enjoyed my time there.”

Heading into the holiday break, Cornell stands with a sparkling 10-3-0 record, including an impressive eight-game win streak from October 23 to November 23.

Richardson’s first career NCAA goal came in a 4-0 whitewash of the Princeton Tigers on November 2. Of note, Cornell will also hold a contest in tribute to DIFD.

“I am incredibly proud of her,” commented Stephanie. “She really is remarkable.”

As Stephanie’s husband, Luke (a 21-year veteran of the NHL) is now the head coach of the Binghamton Senators (the American Hockey League affiliate of the Ottawa Senators), hockey has occupied a lot of her time. “Yes, hockey keeps me busy.”

With DIFD having made a remarkable impact in the Ottawa community, Morgan is proud of what the cause has meant. “It is incredible to think of all the things that DIFD has done. Everyone at the Royal Ottawa Hospital has been incredible.”

A very inspiring woman, Stephanie added what she believes DIFD has accomplished, “The goal is trying to keep our children resilient and healthy. I am proud that we get to do that.”

“When you think about DIFD, you have to focus on the community and see what has been done,” remarked Stephanie. “The movement of mental health awareness from what it was. We have to look at what we can do in the community once the Women’s Worlds and the Provincials come (in April 2013).”

In asking the Richardson women if they see themselves as role models in the community, both replied with grace and humility.

“The great thing about DIFD is that everyone can be a role model. I am really cool with it,” Morgan maturely commented.

Stephanie replied, “I think I have been blessed to be surrounded by strong women. Together, we can create change. (OWHA President) Fran Rider has been incredible.”

A great point of pride for Stephanie is the impact DIFD has had on the young women of hockey. “It shows how courageous our young women are. The skills they develop in hockey lets them be leaders.”

Employing great acumen, Stephanie is a true inspiration for mothers everywhere. In the reach that DIFD has had throughout the Ottawa area and the impact it has had on athletes such as Clara Hughes and Ashley Gilbank, the foundation has touched people of all ages and backgrounds while providing an important message of hope.

All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated.