We’re rapidly approaching the end of BCI Awards season, with only the male and female “Fan Favorite” and “Athlete of the Year” categories remaining. Today’s female fan favorite award saw several candidates receiving votes (the product of so many women’s sports teams having great years while being led by some great student-athletes). But there can only be one winner.
2016-2017 BCI Female Fan Favorite
Winner: Kali Flanagan
Kali Flanagan’s development at Boston College has been something to behold. It’s not often that you get to see the underdog turn into a superstar right before your eyes, but that’s exactly what happened for this year’s BCI Female Fan Favorite.
Kali was a member of a ridiculously stacked recruiting class in 2014 that featured the USA U18 team goaltender (Katie Burt), one of the top U18 defensemen (Megan Keller), and a two-time U18 forward (Kenzie Kent). Given the pedigrees of the players coming to the Heights in that class, it’s easy to see how some might have overlooked the second defenseman in that class.
Flanagan had participated in a handful of USA Hockey development camps while in high school, as almost every BC women’s hockey recruit does, but was not a member of the USA U17 nor U18 teams. How she was overlooked by the powers that be at USA Hockey for so long is a mystery, but that changed pretty quickly.
A few of us BC Women’s Hockey diehards had a feeling that Flanagan was going contribute right away. A friend brought his daughter to the 2014 Women’s Beantown Classic, a massive girl’s hockey showcase spanning several age divisions from 11- and 12-year-olds up to Olympics superstars, and a few of us tagged along. One division featured several big-time college recruits (with several BC players and incoming freshmen clumped onto the same team), and the surprising player that stood out as one to watch was Kali Flanagan.
Flanagan is a burner — she can fly. She was exciting to watch before she even stepped foot at BC. But her development on the Heights took her to extraordinary levels. This past year, Kali was selected to the Team USA IIHF Women’s World Championship team that won gold in April, and her play was strong enough to earn her a spot on the US Olympic team for PyeongChang.
Her development while at BC into a bona fide superstar from an underappreciated member of an exceptional recruiting class, as well as her blazing speed and offensive ability from the blue line, are what makes Flanagan our 2016-2017 BCI Female Fan Favorite.
Also receiving votes for the award were lacrosse & women’s hockey dual sport star Kenzie Kent, softball’s Tatiana Cortez, and softball’s Lexi DiEmmanuele.