The Elmira College women’s ice hockey team opened its home schedule with a pair of conference wins over Chatham University on November 11th and 12th. Although the Soaring Eagles rolled past the Cougars, outscoring the opposition 15-1, the bigger story that weekend was the remembrance of one of, if not the greatest, women’s ice hockey players to don the Purple and Gold, Laura Hurd ’05.
Laura dominated the NCAA Division III hockey world from 2001-05, helping the Soaring Eagles capture a pair of national titles in 2002 and 2003. Sadly, she tragically passed away at the age of 24 in a car accident on the morning of June 23, 2006.
To honor Laura's legacy on the 10-year anniversary of her passing, Elmira College hosted the Laura Hurd Memorial Weekend during the two-game set with Chatham. Prior to Friday night’s game, Laura’s former teammates and friends were treated to a reception in the Murray Athletic Center Trophy Room, an area that serves as the home of all four of Laura’s AHCA All-American awards. During the reception, those in attendance reflected on their favorite memories of Laura and enjoyed a video presentation put together by her former teammates.
Following the reception, the game started with a special puck drop ceremony, featuring Laura's mother Jennifer Hurd and brother Steven Hurd, who were joined at center ice by a handful of Laura’s former teammates, friends and coaches.
The Elmira women’s ice hockey team wore special #4 decals on their helmets that night to remember Laura, who donned the #4 jersey during her four years with the Soaring Eagles. The team will continue to wear the decal throughout the 2016-17 season as a tribute to Laura.
A small, but meaningful occurrence took place 16 minutes into the first period of Friday’s game. Elmira scored its fourth goal of the evening with exactly four minutes remaining in the first period on a night that EC honored the late great #4 Laura Hurd. It was a sure sign that Laura was with everyone that night, looking down with that infectious big smile of hers, as she watched her Soaring Eagles do what they do best.
About Laura Hurd
Laura arrived on Elmira's campus as a freshman in the fall of 2001 as a member of the first-ever women's ice hockey team in the college's history. It did not take long for her to make a name for herself, as the Kingston, Ontario, native went on to lead all NCAA Division III skaters with 77 points and 40 goals in her rookie debut. The 77-point total not only led the nation in 2002, it also remains as the only 70-point season in Division III women's ice hockey history, which helped Hurd garner AHCA All-American First-Team accolades.
The 2001-02 season was a special one, not only for her individual accolades, but also because the Soaring Eagles went on to win an ECAC West Conference title and the first-ever NCAA Division III National Title in women's ice hockey history; Elmira also became the only team to win an NCAA championship in its first year of competition. The Soaring Eagles repeated as national champs during the 2002-03 season behind Hurd's 55-point season, which included a Division III-leading 33 goals.
Although the Elmira women fell short of winning national titles in 2003-04 and 2004-05, Elmira did however clinch its third and fourth consecutive ECAC West Tournament titles during those seasons. EC bowed out in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Tournament in 2003-04 and reached the title game in 2004-05, but would come up short in the championship game to Middlebury by one goal.
Hurd was spectacular in the final two seasons of her collegiate career and was recognized for her performance with AHCA All-American honors, becoming Elmira's first and only four-time AHCA First-Team All-American recipient. The honors did not stop there, as Hurd was also tabbed as the AHCA Division III National Player of the Year in 2005, an award that was later renamed in her memory as the Laura Hurd National Player of the Year Award.