To say that Rebecca Yaseen is an extraordinary student-athlete would be an understatement.
Moreover, Yaseen has upheld Toll Gate High School’s storied ice hockey history of producing great goaltenders dating back to USA Gold Medal Olympic netminder Sara DeCosta to Shannon McCammish, who last year was honored with the prestigious Gil Mayer Award presented annually by the Rhode Island Reds Heritage Society.
The daughter of Mike Yaseen, Rebecca will receive the Society’s Unsung Hero Award that’s named in honor and memory of Mayer, the Reds’ Hall of Famer who also starred with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs.
“Unsung heroes are high school hockey players who contribute to their teams in ways that only their coaches and other players are aware of,” offered Vin Cimini, a Reds Society board member. “Often they exemplify the term ‘student-athlete’ but there is usually more than that. They have, in most cases, overcome personal hurdles and have inspired their teammates to push through their struggles.”
Cimini, who is credited with founding the RI Hockey Hall of Fame, went on, “Sometimes the unsung heroes are natural or conditioned leaders on and off the ice. Many are civic minded and go above and beyond to serve the community and still maintain their focus on academics and hockey. Their stories are as varied as the athletes.”
Thus, Yaseen was selected to receive the Gil Mayer Award that will be presented annual at Reds Heritage Society Reunion scheduled for Aug. 4 at Goddard Memorial State Park in Warwick.
She’ll join five other high school hockey players who make up the Reds Society Unsung Heroes Class of 2019.
The others are players to be honored with awards named in honor of former Reds players are: The Chuck Scherza Award is given to forwards and this year will go to Mount St. Charles’ Madison Cataldo, Joseph Caterina of Smithfield and Cameron Rancourt of Mount Hope High.
The Ferny Flaman Award given to defensemen will go to Chariho’s Brendan O’Rourke while the girls’ winner is Taylor Vecchione of La Salle Academy.
Yaseen, who attended Toll Gate High and skated for the Warwick girls’ co-op team will accept the Mayer Award.
She struggled a bit academically until she found her niche in the Marines Trade program at the Career & Technical Center, but since then she made the Honor Roll four times.
By the end of her freshman year on the ice, Yaseen was promoted to starting goaltender. During the semifinals that season, Warwick shocked the state by sweeping a mighty Barrington team and Rebecca was a big part of those wins.
The Warwick co-op team had graduated 11 seniors that season and it was a rebuilding time. The other goalie was playing well and the Lady Titans needed more firepower up front, thus, Yaseen took up the challenge and swapped her goalie pads to fill the center position for the team’s top line.
She excelled and developed into the team’s leading scorer during both her sophomore and juniors years. Due to her character and leadership qualities, she was voted assistant captain as a senior.
Yaseen spent her senior season back between the pipes, splitting duties until the other goalie was injured. She finished the year with the fourth best goals against average in the state.
“Rebecca has endured and overcome several heartbreaking events her high school hockey career but has come out a better person for it,” Cimini, who once starred at La Salle Academy and later played at Providence College, related. “Oh yeah, academically, she competed in the State Skills UIS Competition in welding (Marine Trade) and finished ninth in the state. Way to go Rebecca.”
GOALIE GREAT: Lady Titans ice hockey goalie has been selected to receive the prestigious Gil Mayer Award Unsung Hero Award presented annually by the Rhode Island Heritage Society. (Submitted photo)