Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass., has secured its first four recruits for its inaugural season in 2015-2016. The team will play a club schedule until they join Hockey East in Women’s Division I NCAA hockey in 2016-2017.
The recruits are forwards Jillian Battista of Tonawanda, New York; Marie Delarbre of Fussen, Germany; Jackie Pieper of Edina, Minn.; and goaltender Chaislyn Burgio of Quincy, Mass. All four have signed National Letters of Intent and are already on campus starting their academic careers at the school.
The recruits will train and practice together as the school continues to piece together its squad.
“We are excited to bring the first wave of women’s ice hockey student-athletes onto the Merrimack College campus this fall,” said Head Coach Erin Hamlen in a press release. “In the year prior to our inaugural season, we are fortunate to be able to bring four student-athletes to campus to redshirt and train with our staff. These student-athletes are quality players, but more importantly, quality people. Our staff expects this small group to lead a young squad into competition in the fall of 2015.”
Delarbre is a transfer from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where she played more than 60 games for the Bulldogs. She also spent three years with Germany’s National U18 team.
“(Delarbre) is a highly skilled forward who will bring a level of experience to a new program,” said Head Coach Erin Hamlen. “Marie has incredible hands and our staff is looking forward to working with her this year to continue her growth in Division I hockey and help her reach her goals with Team Germany.”
Burgio is a graduate of Thayer Academy. She posted a .969 SV% and .67 GAA at the 2013 North American Hockey Academy Labor Day Tournament for her team, the Bay State Breakers, which advanced to the USA Hockey Tier I National Tournament.
“She brings work ethic and potential,” said Hamlen. “She is a self-motivated athlete who will challenge players around her to be better.”
Battista lead her high school hockey team to the New York state tournament all four years, 2008-2011, earning national tournament appearances as well. She played juniors for the Burlington Barracudas and most recently Brampton Junior Canadettes, where she had 6 goals and 8 assists in 38 games.
“Jill is a highly motivated student-athlete whose dedication included a four-hour round-trip drive every day to play for the Brampton, Ontario Canadette last season. She is a two-way forward with the ability to be a play-maker,” said Hamlen.
Pieper, a power forward, played for two years at Benilde St. Margaret’s before transferring to Edina High School, where she graduated in May. During her senior year she tallied 15 goals and 17 assists in 28 games.
“She is a physical player and often comes out with the puck in one-on-one battles. Jackie has great net-drive and plays with a level of maturity,” said Hamlen.