When the Provincial Women’s Hockey League (competitive junior women’s hockey in Ontario, Canada) held its first annual contest in honor of Do It for Daron (DIFD), the contest featured many PWHL alumni who are currently competing in the NCAA.
Bell Sensplex in Kanata, Ontario hosted the Nepean Wildcats and the PWHL Ottawa Senators in this instant classic.
Daron Richardson, the daughter of former Ottawa Senators defender Luke Richardson and sister of current Cornell Big Red star Morgan Richardson tragically passed away in November 2010. DIFD is a foundation that helps to honor her life.
Of note, Luke also served as a head coach of the PWHL Ottawa Senators. In addition, Morgan also competed with the Senators club.
The opening faceoff was a veritable who’s who of women’s hockey as former PWHL stars Olivia Cook (who plays with Morgan at Cornell), Vanessa Welten, Jessica Harvey, Amanda Leveille, Amanda Lucky, Jamie Lee Rattray and Cydney Roesler (to name a few) were on the ice with Morgan and her mother, Stephanie.
Former Senators goaltender Amanda Leveille is enjoying a dream season with the 20-0 Minnesota Golden Gophers.
"The start is unbelievable," she said. "We worked so hard in practice. It is awesome to be part of a great team."
As a former teammate of Morgan in Ottawa, she is very proud of the impact that DIFD has in the community.
"It is really nice that the PWHL did something like this for DIFD. When you see how DIFD has helped raise suicide awareness, it is just unbelievable."
Amanda Lucky, who once played for the Clarkson Golden Knights, remarked on the importance of the evening:
"It is great! In the hockey world, everyone knows each other, and everybody is willing to help each other out."
There were only good feelings and positive energy throughout the evening.
"It is awesome to see old teammates. These are great friends. To see people that I played with last year was really good," stated Leveille.
"It’s amazing. DIFD on a whole has become so big," remarked Rattray.
"To come back to this event is awesome,” noted Jen Harvie, a freshman with the Harvard Crimson. "I have played with a few of them and it is great to catch up and see them. It is amazing to come back and see these girls."
Like her former teammates, she is in awe of the great reach that DIFD has had in the community: "It was great of them (the Richardson family) to create this."
Having also played with the Canadian National Under-18 team (along with the PWHL Senators), Cydney Roesler can trace her PWHL roots to the Senators organization. Currently competing with the Quinnipiac Bobcats in the NCAA, she was happy to come back for this event.
"This is pretty good," she said. "I feel like a proud mom, seeing my former teammates grow and develop."
Roesler had the privilege to play for the PWHL Senators with Morgan and is proud of the impact that DIFD has had in the Ottawa sports community.
"This means a lot. Luke coached me. Anything that I can do to help support the cause, I am there."
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise indicated.