By James Murphy
After notching a hat trick against the Boston Shamrocks while playing for her local team back in eighth grade, a Shamrocks coach approached Meggan Galanos to see if she’d be interested in joining the blossoming girls junior program based at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, MA.
“I remember I met Bob [Rotondo], and I was a little bit scared at first but there is just a big sense of structure here and that really caught my eye,” the New Hampshire native recalled. “Then definitely meeting [Coaches] Molly Corl and Abbey Gauthier; I had them for the first four years and had a great connection with them.”
Now after playing for the U14’s and U19’s Shamrocks teams, Galanos finds herself headed to Bowdoin in the fall after earning a scholarship from the women’s hockey team there. According to Galanos, if she hadn’t listened when the Shamrocks came knocking, she likely wouldn’t be preparing to play college hockey and get a first class education at Bowdoin. “I don’t think so,” she replied when asked if her scholarship could’ve happened if she didn’t come to play for the Shamrocks. “I think coming here, I got the best of both worlds. With the training here, not only did I become better at hockey but like I said, the structure here; the perseverance; they teach you how to respect the teachers, the coaches and your teammates. Bob definitely requires strong moral character and that helped me.”
Another thing that Rotondo and his staff emphasize is the importance of education and while hard at times, Galanos embraced their approach and is a better student-athlete for it. “It was difficult balancing both but Bob encourages that and being a student-athlete,” she said. “I always wanted a challenging experience academically and in hockey, and I felt doing both would help me prep for college and be ready. I would have to do a lot of homework on bus rides which was tedious, but it was definitely worth it in the long run.”
Hannah Irving and the entire organization keep tabs on every student-athlete with the Shamrocks and make sure they’re not falling behind in their studies. “If you fall behind in your homework or school, then you can’t go to practice and if you don’t practice, you can’t play in the games,” Galanos pointed out. So for potential Shamrocks reading this, Galanos urges you to come here with an open mind, ready to work on and off the ice and to embrace the family like community the staff tries to create for all of it’s players.
“I think the first thing for being a good hockey player is that you have to accept criticism, otherwise you’re not going to get better,” Galanos said. “But with the Shamrocks, it’s a second home, I was probably here more than my actual home, and that helps you definitely develop, become a stronger student and ultimately be ready for college.”