By James Murphy
Lauren Coccolutto likes to consider herself a lifer with the Boston Shamrocks organization. The Saugus, Mass. native has worn a Shamrocks jersey since seventh grade and recently as she prepared to enter her senior year and make the jump from the Under 16 to the Under 19 team, the 17-year old blueliner took some time to reflect on why she joined and has stayed with the Shamrocks for so long. “They give a lot of opportunities that you can take advantage of and they’re willing to work with you,” Coccolutto said. “There’s always ice open to come skate if you need to work on something. They also have academic support here. There’s the tutors they have for SAT’s and ACT’s if you need it too.”
That support has been a tremendous help to Coccolutto, who has been a commuter student-athlete attending Bishop Fenwick High School, had to learn how to balance playing for the Shamrocks and school a bit more on her own than some of her teammates who chose the online schooling route the team offers. “I learned to do a lot on my own and ended up working independently, making sure I stayed on track and developing time management,” she said. “They [Shamrocks] understand that in between games, I have to do work and keep up. It’s good.”
When Coccolutto started playing hockey, she was a forward, but as she became more involved with the Shamrocks and specifically longtime coach Molly Corl, she switched back to defense. “I’ve been working with her since I was really little,” she said of Corl. “Molly was our coach last year and I really got along with her.”
But Coccolutto hasn’t lost her offensive flair and has learned how to maintain that in her game. “I’m more offensive, like to rush, like to pinch and stay in the play,” Coccolutto said. “Last year, my D partner and I worked really well together. She was also very offensive but we learned how to balance that where someone would stay back and someone would go, so it worked well.”
This summer, Coccolutto has been able to continue to polish her overall game with new Shamrocks Director Of Hockey Operations, Sean Fisher. “I actually went skating with him a lot recently,” she said of Fisher. “He’s already really helped with the college process. He really stays on top of it, helps you out and is willing to be there.”
Fisher shared similar praise for her. “Lauren brings a different element to our defence core – she is a good skating defensemen that has the ability to retrieve pucks quickly and jump in the play in different situations. She will allow our team to incorporate different 4 point attack strategies and we are lucky to have her back for her senior year!
Coccolutto is excited for the season ahead but she realizes playing for the U 19 team will present it’s challenges and she is ready to tackle them head on. “Joining the team was definitely more like junior hockey,” Coccolutto said. “It’s a lot faster and more demanding, so taking what I learned last year will be good going into this year. The people you’re playing against are a lot more skillful. The schedule is a lot more intense. It goes from practicing all week, to being away all weekend and then being ready to get right back into it.”