By Chicago Blackhawks Special Hockey
The Chicago Blackhawks presented their Junior Coach of the Year Award for Disabled “Special” Hockey during the annual Special Needs Hockey banquet in April. This year’s recipient was Lauren Barnes, a Senior at Benet Academy who will be attending the University of Minnesota in the Fall.
Lauren will graduate from Benet Academy on May 28, 2017, as an honor student and will continue on to study Business at the University of Minnesota in the Carlson School of Management.
Lauren, the third oldest of seven siblings (5 sisters and 1 brother), has been a volunteer coach for Chicago Blackhawks Special Hockey team since 2015. She has been actively involved in hockey as a player since the age of 3 and has made the Blackhawks Disabled Hockey program her priority as she continued to balance school, ice hockey for the Sabres AA Boys (2004-2010) and Chicago Mission AAA Girls team (2010 – 2014) and volleyball (playing all four years at Benet and also club volleyball for 1st Alliance Volleyball Club from 2013-2017 as the team captain.
USA Hockey Central District Representative, Michael Svac noted; “Lauren is a leader in everything she does. She needs no direction and when she engages she gives it all she has for each and every player. What impressed me the most is her passion and level of commitment for caring about others and how she was able to balance her full schedule as a high school student but always made the Special Hockey players her priority. We were very fortunate to have her as part of our hockey program.”
As a volleyball player, she has received a number of volleyball awards, including:
- All Area – Naperville Sun and Daily Herald as a Junior and Senior at Benet (2015 and 2016 seasons)
- Defensive Dandy for Prepvolleyball.com as Junior and Senior
- Pre-season All-American Prepvolleyball.com
- All-Tournament Benet Invite
- All-Tournament Mizuno Cup
- All-Conference for the East Suburban Catholic Conference
- All-State – News Gazette
- SportsTown Chicago Illinois All-Star Team
- All-Tournament Team USAV 18’s Junior National Tournament
- Ultra-Ankle JVA Watch List
Her commitment to excellence on and off the ice (or volleyball court) has set her up for success as she continues to pursue her passion for new challenges. She will be playing volleyball for the Gophers this Fall.