I am a big sports fan, particularly when it comes to my favorite team, the Rectory Wolves. So I was intrigued and determined to learn more when, in a casual conversation with a long-time faculty member, it was mentioned that Genevieve Richardson was one of the best hockey players ever to don a Black and Orange Rectory sweater. In my ten years at Rectory, I remember the athleticism of Joey Caico, the power of Jeremy “the Bammer” Chorozsy, and the gracefulness of David Ciancio. For this individual to be mentioned over these standout rink rats was truly notable.
Genevieve enrolled at Rectory in 1992 as a Grade 5 student and very quickly distinguished herself on our campus, particularly in the athletics realm. The daughter of a five-sport collegiate athlete, Genevieve, who dreamed of playing for Team USA in hockey since age 5, was born with the DNA and the drive to succeed. That is just what she did, even in the face of significant challenges associated with being female in a predominantly male Rectory School.
Genevieve did well in any sport she played, and she played lots of sports. At Rectory, soccer and hockey were the standards across the fall and the winter, but in the spring, she tried them all. At first a member of the baseball team, Genevieve switched to lacrosse after being told she could no longer play with the boys and needed to join the softball team. The softball team didn’t have enough members to field a team and never played a game. Despite great success on the boys' lacrosse team, Genevieve gave tennis a try where she made the varsity team thanks to what her coach described as a “blistering forehand and a deceptive backhand.”
While Genevieve played numerous sports, she was most taken—and achieved the greatest success—in hockey and soccer. The roots for this success were evident early on. In reviewing Genevieve’s file, I came across this comment from her hockey coach, Mr. Ferrucci:
Genny, every now and then a special player comes along. This season, you were that special player. True, you skate well, pass well, and shoot the puck accurately. However, this is not what makes you so special on the ice. It’s all attitude. I believe that you truly love the game, and that is what makes you an outstanding player. That love, Genny, is your true gift.
That comment was from her sixth-grade year when she competed on the boys' team, earning MVP honors along the way. In her eighth grade year, when she again received MVP honors while also serving as team captain, then coach Mr. Lott shared, “As a coach, you always hope that you might have that one player who can do it all. When Gen skated out on the ice that first day, I knew I had one.”
Genevieve earned equal success on the soccer pitch where she was an MVP, captain, and leading scorer despite playing against all-male opponents, many of whom were in the ninth grade. Opposing coaches would regularly comment on her play, not because she was a girl, but because she was the best one out there. At the end of her Rectory soccer career, Coach Washburn stated, “She could play on the national level if she has the opportunity.”
Moving to Pomfret School as a ninth grader, Genevieve played on varsity teams in four sports, was named best athlete in her class, and was inducted into their Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014. During her high school years, she was an all-state soccer player and was invited to the USA Junior National Development Hockey Camp. Then, it was on to Boston College, where, despite being a hockey recruit, Genevieve also played on the varsity soccer team for two years. It was hockey, however, where she really stood out, and her accomplishments are impressive.
Genevieve was a four-year member of the varsity women’s team and served as assistant captain her senior year. During the 2001 season, she was selected to the ECAC All-East Second Team. In 2002 and 2003, she was named to the USA Women’s Select Team that won the Four Nations Tournament by defeating the likes of Finland, Sweden, and Canada. In 2003, she was set to play for Team USA in the Women’s Hockey World Championships before Team USA was forced to withdraw from the event. In 2005, Genevieve was one of 44 women invited to compete for a spot on the national team that would play in the 2006 Olympic Games.
At Rectory, Genevieve’s coaches believed her athletic career could go as far as she wanted to take it. These words have proven prophetic as Genevieve has succeeded at the highest competitive level. According to Genevieve, being a female athlete at Rectory in the ’90s was not easy, yet she relished the opportunity to play against the boys who were stronger and faster than most of her female competition. She was—and is—a fierce competitor who would not allow herself to lose to the boys, and this drive inspired her to improve constantly.
When asked about the highlight of her athletic career, she would cite playing for the national team. When asked about her most memorable Rectory athletic moment, after a short pause, she told me of a checking drill conducted on the ice. Genevieve was the last in line as one player skated through the entire team getting body checked by each along the way. As this one much larger boy skated toward her, she offered up all her body had to offer. In her words, she “wrecked the kid,” as he fell to the ice dazed by the hit. It was a moment that earned her great respect from her teammates.
Genevieve Richardson was a standout athlete at Rectory School, and her drive and her athletic DNA humbled and impressed so many along the way. It has been over twenty years since Genevieve roamed the halls and fields on campus, and Rectory is still making strides in our attempt to be a truly co-educational school. We take one more step forward in that effort today as we acknowledge Genevieve Richardson’s accomplishments at Rectory and beyond. Her accomplishments are noteworthy not because she earned them as a girl, but because she earned them as one of Rectory’s greatest athletes ever. Congratulations on this truly deserved honor, Genevieve Richardson.
- Athletic Wall of Honor