UNH women's hockey inks four recruits

DURHAM, N.H. -- Brian McCloskey, fourth-year head coach of the University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team, has announced the signing of four student-athletes - Steph Holmes (Rye, N.Y.), Micaela Long (South Boston, Mass.), Kelly Paton (Woodstock, Ontario) and Courtney Sheary (Melrose, Mass.) - to a National Letter of Intent.

Holmes, Long and Paton will join the corps of forwards at UNH while Sheary will be making her impact at the blue line as a defenseman.

"We are thrilled with the addition of these four outstanding student-athletes," McCloskey said. "This is an extremely talented group that will unquestionably impact us immediately. Not surprisingly as you review each player's collective history of success, leadership and achievement you can understand why these were some of the most highly recruited players by elite women's programs east and west for the fall of '06. This group will definitely add to an already talented group of athletes here in Durham and help continue the winning tradition that is UNH women's hockey."

Holmes has lettered in ice hockey as well as tennis, field hockey, lacrosse and soccer during her high school career. She played for two years at Greenwich Academy before transferring to Berkshire School and was the team's leading scorer as a freshman, sophomore and junior. Holmes has played on the Connecticut Stars club team since the eighth grade and served as captain each of the last two years. She has led that team to the regional championship and an appearance in nationals three consecutive years.

Long is a three-sport standout in ice hockey, field hockey and softball at Pomfret School, where she served as team captain for all three sports as a junior. She set a New England Prep School single-season points record with 111 in the 2003-04 ice hockey season and became Pomfret's all-time leading scorer during her junior year (2004-05). Long was invited to the U.S. National Camp in 2002, '03, '04 and '05 and was the USA National Skills U-19 champion as a 16-year-old in 2003. She led Assabet Valley to a pair of national championships and was a two-time selection to the New England Prep All-Star First Team (2004 and 2005). Long's other hockey accolades include the Outstanding Forward Award at Hockey Night in Boston (NHIB) in both 2003 and 2004, as she was the top scorer at the event both years.

Paton has excelled at both ice hockey and golf at Huron Park Secondary School. Last year in 64 games, she recorded 88 points on 38 goals and 50 assists. In 2003-04 as a sophomore, Paton finished with 52 points in 75 games. Her hockey highlights include high school Provincial Gold Medalist, U-18 Gold Medalist and 2005 London League MVP. She also was a four-time International Silver Stick champion with the boys AA Woodstock Jr. Navy Vets club. Most recently, Paton was a part of Team Ontario's gold-medal team at the U-18 Canadian Nationals earlier this month. On the golf course, Paton is a three-time Western Ontario Secondary School Athletics Association champion (both individual and team) and has an impressive 5 handicap.

Sheary comes to UNH from Cushing Academy, where she will be earning a sixth varsity letter this season and has also lettered in both field hockey and softball. She has skated at the USA Hockey National Festival at Lake Placid, competed at the IIHF Camp in Finland and been a USA National Skills champion. Sheary has been honored as an ISL All Star and Catholic Conference All Star. She has guided Cushing to three consecutive New England Prep hockey final four appearances and the Assabet Valley club team to four consecutive national championships.

This quartet joins a UNH program that has won more games that any other U.S. collegiate program with a 560-152-47 record in 29 years. The Wildcats are currently ranked No. 3 in the nation with a 10-2-0 overall record (5-1-0 Hockey East).

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