Jillian Flynn did not play a minute in goal for the University of Maine last season.
Even so, the leadership, team-first attitude and work ethic demonstrated by the senior captain were recognized.
The Presque Isle native has been named one of three recipients of the Joe Tomasello Unsung Hero Award presented by the New England Hockey Writers Association to players who made unique contributions to their schools.
The award is named after the longtime manager of the Boston Arena, which is now Northeastern University’s Matthews Arena.
“As a Maine kid who always dreamed about being on the team, I was real proud and happy to be on it,” Flynn said. “To have the ‘C’ on my jersey this year was incredible and to receive this award is awesome.”
Flynn, a three-sport standout at Presque Isle High School, shares the award with Yale University left wing Laura Anderson and University of Vermont goalie Stefanos Lekkas, who also are seniors.
“Every player on our team was a hero in one way or another. Everbody is important and everybody has a role and that is what we base our team culture on,” said the 22-year-old Flynn, who plans to become a physician’s assistant.
Flynn appeared in four games during her four-year career. The three-time Hockey East All-Academic team selection, who is majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry and exercise science, has a 3.906 cumulative grade point average.
“She was always trying to make those around her better and it was never limited to just hockey,” UMaine women’s hockey coach Richard Reichanbach said.
“She tutored and mentored many of our players in school and was always there to listen to someone if they had a tough day. She organized community service events and constantly coached in our clinics to impact the next generation of hockey players from Maine,” Reichenbach said.
UMaine had a 15-14-8 record this season but went on to post a road sweep of Boston University in the Hockey East quarterfinals. The Black Bears lost 3-1 to the eventual league champion, No. 3 Northeastern, 3-1 in the semifinals.
“This was, by far, the closest team I have been on. We had a lot of trust in each other,” Flynn said.
“I was able to grow in so many ways and it was nice to see the emotional, mental and physical growth of all of our players.”