Enfield Field Hockey Star Elected to State Hall of Fame

By Tim Jensen

One of Enfield’s most accomplished athletes will soon be inducted into a Hall of Fame for the second time.

Erica Menard-Johnston, a field hockey standout on three consecutive state championship teams at Enfield High School in the early 1990s, has been elected to the Connecticut Field Hockey Hall of Fame in the high school player category.

She will be inducted Sunday, Sept. 27 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. Tickets are $50, and may be ordered by Sept. 16 by contacting Terri Ziemnicki at hockeycoachtaz@cox.net or (860) 653-5127.

“I feel very honored about being inducted as a high school player in Connecticut,” Menard-Johnston said. “Playing field hockey in high school and college were some of the best years of my life. It will be awesome to have another day to celebrate and reflect the most influential sport in my life.”

She scored 78 goals in her amazing tenure at Enfield, becoming the school’s first All-American in field hockey.

“Erica was a talented athlete, a very special player,” legendary Enfield coach Cookie Bromage said. “ She was fast, strong, coordinated and extremely competitive. Erica played every day in practice or a game like it was the final of a state tournament. She was inquisitive and creative, always working to improve her skills. Erica was truly a gift to have as a player – always upbeat with her teammates and extremely loyal to me. It is still a joy to watch her play field hockey.”

Johnston scored the winning goal in the 1994 Class M championship game and was named Most Valuable Player. She played in U.S. Olympic Festivals in St. Louis and Colorado, and was selected to the USA Under-18 National Team which won a silver medal in 1995.

She parlayed her skills into a full scholarship to the University of Massachusetts, where she continued to be awarded many honors. She was named second team All-American in 1997 and third team in 1998; was a three-time Northeast All-American first team selection; finished third in UMass history with 107 career points; and was the third highest scorer in UMass history with 48 career goals.

Her 24 goals in 1997 are the fourth highest single-season goal total in UMass history. She was named to the Atlantic-10 All-Conference team three times, was a nine-time student-athlete of the week, 15-time Atlantic-10 player of the week, three-time Atlantic-10 Champion, three-time Atlantic-10 All-Tournament Team, an Atlantic-10 championship game MVP with four goals, and was selected to play for the USA “A” and “B” camp from 1995 through 1997.

She credits her coaches with instilling the desire and work ethic that made her so successful, both on and off the field.

“I attribute much of my success in field hockey to my coaches,” she said. “In high school, Coach Bromage laid the foundation of a positive attitude and fundamental skills and strategies. She encouraged me to really go after my passion in field hockey and play on travel club teams, summer camps, weight train off season. Having a coach that is oozing with enthusiasm and positive encouragement really created a more productive learning platform. I believe good attitudes start from the top and infiltrate their way through an entire team. Due to many changes at UMass Amherst during the late 1990s, I had three different coaches in four years. Each coach helped mold me into the player I am today in different ways, and strategies allowing me to see the game from various perspectives.”

She was inducted into the Enfield Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.

Menard-Johnston, who resides in Southampton, Mass. with her spouse Erin and their two younger sons, Zachary and Tyler, has been working as a licensed electrician since 2006. But her passion for field hockey never wavered: after college, she spent seven years as an assistant coach at Mount Holyoke College, working diligently to turn an historically losing team into conference champions during her tenure.

She is the fifth woman from Enfield elected to the Connecticut Field Hockey Hall of Fame since its inception in 1999, joining Bromage, former teammates Karen Hebert Gowen and Erica Hebert, and umpire Diane DeRose.

Photo courtesy of Erica Menard-Johnston

 

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