Even though she was coming to Boston, nobody knew her name.
Coming into her freshman season for the Boston University women’s hockey team, senior center Louise Warren was a relative unknown within amateur hockey circles. Having spent her under-18 years at Brewster Academy, a small prep school in Wolfeboro, N.H., Warren did not participate in the Hockey Canada program, the governing body of the majority of hockey in Great White North.
“She never played Team Ontario, she was never invited to the national program,” said senior defenseman and assistant captain Kaleigh Fratkin. “She was this no-namer that came out of nowhere. I was always involved in the national program and we were both from Canada, I didn’t know about Lou.”
Because Warren did not participate in the Hockey Canada program, she was not a big-name recruit. Despite not having the name value of someone like forward Marie-Philip Poulin, BU coach Brian Durocher was immediately impressed by Warren’s skill on the ice and could see the potential greatness in the Pembroke, Ontario native.
“I go to this tournament a month later and I see this kid who can really skate, has got good size and was really strong and was head and shoulders over just about everybody else there,” Durocher said. “I was comparing her, not just to the prep school scene, but to the significant tournament I had just watched and I felt that this was a heck of a talented player and I felt that if she could ever find her way to BU, we would have a pretty darn good hockey player.”
When making her decision about where she wanted to attend school, Warren was allured by the city of Boston and its busyness.
“Wolfeboro, New Hampshire is a small town and the city was so appealing,” Warren said. “The coaches were great and the team was just building at that point.”
And so on to Boston University Warren went, looking to make a name for herself and prove the doubters wrong.
Warren started her freshman year playing on the third line. It was there where Warren found her first mentor at BU, former Terrier forward Holly Lorms (‘10-’11). Lorms took Warren under her wing.
“I came in and was extremely nervous and I got put on a line with our senior captains, Holly Lorms, and every practice, she just made me laugh,” Warren said. “She just made me more confident and I give a lot of credit to her for helping me grow. That whole year was amazing.”
“[Louise] was more so a very quiet person her freshman year and just followed along and played the role that a normal freshman would play,” Fratkin said. “She stuck by Holly and Holly took her under her wing and she followed suit and I think progressively, she started to come into her own.”
Lorms made Warren feel like a significant part of the team, something that has a major impact on Warren.
“She made me feel like a great player and she saw things in me that I didn’t see yet,” Warren said. “That was nice coming from a captain to a freshman.”
Warren finished her freshman year with five goals and five assists, posting one multi-point game while appearing in all 38 contests for the Terriers. Despite not having a standout year on paper, Warren continued to grind away and improve dramatically on the ice.
By the beginning of her senior season, Warren established as one of the top players on the Terriers. Following a junior season where she lit the lamp 15 times, assisted on another 19 goals and helped the team make its second NCAA National Championship appearance in three years, Warren was prepared to take the reins to lead the team to success and subsequently was voted captain by her teammates.
However, after losing Poulin to the Olympics and Jenelle Kohanchuk to graduation, Warren felt that the vibe from the coaching staff and media was that 2013-14 was a rebuilding year for the program.
“Me and Lou as people are super-competitive athletes,” Fratkin said. “We went for sushi one day and said, ‘You know what? The attitude towards this year has to be that we have to prove everyone wrong that it’s not a rebuilding year.’ The two of us believed in what we had. We were confident. While we didn’t have superstars, we had key role players that we would be able to have a successful season.”
“Her and Kaleigh Fratkin were very determined that this was not a rebuilding year,” Durocher said. “I never said it was a rebuilding year, nobody else did, but the media people had their hesitations with the great losses through graduation and Pou going off to the Olympics, but those two were very determined. I’ll never forget them coming to the office and saying, ‘Coach, we’re BU hockey and we still have good players and we’re going to get it done.’”
With the determination of showing that 2013-14 was not a rebuilding year, Warren and the Terriers started the season fast, jumping to a 14-3-1 start before the new year. However, with the new year, the Terriers began to stumble, losing five of their first seven games in 2014. Fratkin says that Warren stepped up in the locker room.
“When Lou needed to be vocal, she was extremely vocal in the locker room and it wasn’t negative,” Fratkin said. “She’s not a negative person. She’s critical and she has high expectations and she tries to be the most positive that she can with still trying to with holding up that high expectation and I think she said what she needed to say in the locker room when it was needed.”
Slowly but surely, the Terriers began to pick up the pace, finishing out the season with a 24-13-1 record. After making it past the first two rounds of the Hockey East Tournament, the Terriers faced off against crosstown rival Boston College, a team they failed to defeat in the regular season in four showdowns.
Heading into the third period, the Terriers trailed the Eagles 2-1 and needed a goal in order to even recognize their goal of reaching the NCAA tournament. Then, at 2:50 in the third period, Warren received a pass from sophomore defenseman Lillian Riberinha-Braga and redirected the puck past Eagles goalie Corinne Boyles, tying the game. The Terriers eventually won the game, 3-2, winning their third-straight Hockey East title
Fratkin said Warren’s leadership shined when she scored the game-tying goal.
“The biggest part of her leadership coming up and scoring goals when she needed to score goals and sometimes that’s what you need out of a leader,” Fratkin said. “Her job was to provide points for the team this year on the ice.
“If you were there watching the games, you’d be able to point to Lou and say that was the leader of the team. There is a reason why she’s wearing the letter ‘C’ on her chest.”
While the Terriers ultimately lost in the first round of the tournament to the University of Minnesota, Durocher was extremely proud of the team lead by Warren.
“Her team voted her a captain and now that we’re on the far side of her senior year,” Durocher said. “The team was highly complementary of her job as a captain and the thing that kept coming back to me was that she cared about everybody and communicated with everybody. If somebody was a little down, she tried to communicate with them. If somebody was having a good go of it, she made sure she sent accolades their way. Never was it about herself, even though she was having a career year.”
After finishing her senior year with 27 goals and 19 assists, Warren was voted the Most Valuable Player by her teammates, in part due to her intangibles.
“The kids recognized Louise and voted her as the Most Valuable Player to our team and some of that was because of the intangibles that aren’t on score sheets,” Durocher said. “They aren’t out there in public eye. They are just things she did for the team so that’s the greatest reflection and the legacy that Louise Warren leaves behind at BU hockey, sort of in her own back pocket and something that she can take with her because that’s a great characteristic to have as you take on challenges in life.”
Fratkin said Warren leaves behind a legacy that the Terriers that follow should strive to follow.
“She waited patiently, she paid her dues, she played on the third line her freshman year and she bought her time and was hard-working and then she came into herself the end of her junior year and deserved that she did,” Fratkin said. “She worked hard and that’s a strong, a great example of the type of legacy you want leave behind as a college athlete and I respect and admire what she did over the course of her four years.”
Durocher will remember Warren as someone with a “whisker of a chip on her shoulder” and as an exemplary hockey player.
“She always had that carrot she was trying to chase down and that extra motivation that was there,” Durocher said. “Those were some of the things that were great, the fact that she was a humble, hard-working kid and she had a little bit something to prove all the time and really pushed the envelope.”