University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire senior goaltender Stephanie Martin has been named 2023 recipient of the annual College Hockey Inc. Scholarship, presented by JLG Architects. Martin will receive a $2,500 postgraduate scholarship that was created to celebrate an NCAA hockey student-athlete who helps build the game through their support of the next generation of hockey players.
The scholarship is given in honor of JLG founder Lonnie Laffen, a passionate college hockey supporter who passed away in 2020.
A native of Yorktown, Va., Martin was a two-sport student-athlete at UW-Eau Claire, where she was also a member of the Blugolds lacrosse team. Martin transferred to UW-Eau Claire after playing her first two seasons of collegiate hockey at Elmira College. She went 43-9-3 in her three years at UW-Eau Claire, posting a 1.28 career goals against average and a .954 save percentage.
Having grown up playing on boys teams due to the lack of hockey opportunities and resources for girls in her hometown and surrounding area, Martin has prioritized making the sport of hockey more accessible to girls and women. She hosts summer goalie clinics for girls in Southeast Virginia, and she has also served as a volunteer coach for girls programs in the Eau Claire and Chippewa Valley Youth Hockey Associations.
Martin is also an ambassador for PG30, a Virginia-based non-profit organization that provides funding and access to personal wellness opportunities in sports.
“Congratulations and, more importantly, thank you to Stephanie for making hockey better,” said College Hockey Inc. Executive Director Mike Snee. “Stephanie has already done so much at a young age to make hockey more accessible than it was when she was starting out as a player.”
“JLG Architects is proud to present the 2023 College Hockey Inc. Scholarship to Stephanie Martin. Stephanie has exceeded expectations and embodies the kind of passion we love to see on and off the ice,” said JLG Architects CEO Michelle Mongeon Allen. “In honoring Stephanie’s dedication, we also pay tribute to our late founder, Lonnie Laffen, who instilled in our team a 34-year passion for elevating the game. Lonnie wanted to see student-athletes aiming for the greater goal of academic and athletic excellence, and that’s exactly what Stephanie has done. JLG is committed to enriching the lives of NCAA student-athletes, empowering future architects and design leaders, youth and collegiate hockey players, and the programs that make positive progress possible.”
Martin has remained active in the sport of hockey following the conclusion of her playing career. She plans to volunteer with both the Hampton Roads Whalers and Peninsula Prowl hockey associations in an effort to form Southeast Virginia’s first girls hockey team.
“I am incredibly thankful for being chosen as the recipient of the College Hockey Inc. Scholarship,” said Martin. “By coaching and mentoring younger hockey goalies in the Southeast Virginia area, I hope to provide them with the experience and guidance in the hockey world that I lacked and dreamed of having. As a female in a mostly male-dominated sport, I want to break barriers for girls and women, not only in hockey, but for other sports and on other aspects of life as well.”
Martin plans to use the College Hockey Inc. Scholarship to enroll in dental school. Upon graduation, she plans to serve in the Navy and aspires to own her own dental practice specializing in orthodontic or pediatric care.
“I think the path she took to be able to play NCAA hockey is a testament to her character and work ethic,” said Wisconsin-Eau Claire head coach Erik Strand. “It is also part of her personality to give back. That is why she is so quick to help grow the game and is currently in the process of working with her local youth hockey board back home to create their first girls’ youth hockey travel team. Whether it’s coaching youth hockey players back home or working with kids here in the Chippewa Valley, Stephanie is always eager to help.”
The College Hockey Inc. Scholarship, presented by JLG Architects, was first awarded in 2020 and is open to any NCAA hockey player (men’s or women’s, any division). Applications required a written essay on the student-athlete’s contributions to the youth hockey community, which could be accompanied by videos, photos, or other supplemental information. The winner is selected by a committee made up of representatives from College Hockey Inc. and JLG Architects.
“My path to college hockey was very non-traditional, and I hope this inspires players to take the path less traveled and to persevere through all challenges they may encounter,” said Martin. “However, it is equally important to always remember where you came from and be thankful for the people who helped develop you into the player you are today.”
College Hockey Inc. Scholarship Recipients:
2020: Breanna Scarpaci, Boston University
2021: Michael Korol, Norwich University
2022: Brooke Leone, Augsburg University
2023: Stephanie Martin, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire