Barrington High School graduate Zoe Harris will become the first woman inducted into the American Collegiate Hockey Association Hall of Fame this May in Naples, Fla., where she will receive the Builder Award.
Ms. Harris is a 1988 graduate of Barrington High School and was a standout soccer, softball and basketball player for the Eagles. She earned 10 varsity letters in high school.
Ms. Harris attended the University of Maine and played non-varsity ice hockey there. She later moved to Seattle, Wash., where she coached girls’ hockey until she became the assistant coach for the University of Washington’s men’s non-varsity ice hockey team from 1998 to 2004 within the ACHA.
In 1999, Ms. Harris noticed the growth of women’s non-varsity collegiate hockey and envisioned bringing all the existing teams together under the ACHA banner, as well as growing the sport throughout the country. She proposed the development of a women’s division within the ACHA, and convinced the ACHA to support this move in April 2000.
Ms. Harris worked to recruit the first teams into the division, set the rules and regulations, recruit a commissioner, set up committees, define ranking and disciplinary rules, and plan the national championship and year-end awards.
The new women’s division within the ACHA kicked off in October 2000 with a game between the University of Michigan and the University of Buffalo. Fourteen teams composed the division in its first season. Five months later, the first-ever women’s national championship took place, and St. Cloud State won the title.
“I want to thank Cindy Dayley, who co-chaired the women’s division with me the first year and was a key component to our success, as well as the first commissioner, Erin Russ, and the inaugural teams’ coaches and players that helped make it happen. Without all these people, the women’s division within the ACHA would not exist today,” Ms. Harris said.
She continued to manage the ACHA women’s division as vice president and ACHA board member for 4 years, until she retired from coaching for the University of Washington’s men’s team.
During her time as vice president, the number of women’s teams grew by 30 percent and expanded to two divisions.
Upon her retirement, the women’s division honored her by creating the annual Zoe M. Harris Player of the Year award.
Ms. Harris now lives in Seattle and volunteers as a board member for the Western Washington Female Hockey Association, where she served previously as a coach. The WWFHA gives girls the opportunity to play on all-girl ice hockey teams, and helps them reach their goals on and off the ice.