Eight-year-old Ashley Greenier of Vernon, Conn. was signed to the UConn women’s ice hockey team on Friday at the Freitas Ice Arena in a “draft day” ceremony with head coach Chris Mackenzie.
In 2009, Greenier was diagnosed with DiGeorge Syndrome, a disorder caused when a small part of chromosome 22 is missing. This loss results in the poor development of several body systems according to the Mayo Clinic’s website.
Greenier was matched with the UConn women’s ice hockey team by Team IMPACT a national nonprofit headquartered in Boston that connects children with serious or chronic illnesses with college athletic teams.
Before the ceremony, Reese Maccario, a senior forward on the team, talked about how Greenier has been getting to know them before actually meeting the team.
“Over the summer we actually put together this scrapbook,” Maccario said. “So everyone sent letters and a picture of themselves because I think it’s important for her to know a face to a name. She’s apparently been carrying around this book all summer.”
During the signing, MacKenzie sat with Greenier while she wrote her name and officially became a member of the team.
“We are super excited to involve Team IMPACT in our team and have Ashley become part of our team,” MacKenzie said.
After the signing, MacKenzie gifted Greenier with a custom UConn jersey with her name on the back and the number 24. 24 is also sophomore goaltender Morgan Fisher’s number. Both Greenier and Fisher use the nickname “Fish” which is why Greenier was given the number 24.
Greenier was also given her own locker and name plate.
“You realize that things outside of our life actually happen… Some people might not have it as easy as us but they’re still working just as hard every day,” Maccario said.
Before leaving, Greenier gave every team member and coach a CD as a gift.
“I think the team’s really excited to have someone that’s kind of giving us a reason not to just come to the rink everyday but to fight for someone else as well,” Maccario said.
Mariana Dominguez is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.