Latest Article by yours truly

I know it’s a bit lengthy, but here’s the latest article I’ve written fo the Islanders. It’s going in their newest publication, Islanders Illustrated, which is a monthly magazine only distributed to season-ticket holders and at the Coliseum. Its being published in the November issue, and it won’t be online, so I figuered I’d post it here. Again, I know it’s long, but hopefully it will hold your interest long enough to read it…there’s still time to tweak it if you have any suggestions! -J

 

Meghan Mangine isn’t your typical girl from Long Island. Not unless you consider playing hockey on an all boys team, participating against some of the world’s best talent in a Swedish tournament, and winning a gold medal on the first ever U-18 Women’s team, to be typical. Oh and did I mention she has done all of this by the age of 15?

Though not yet old enough to drive a car, Meghan has spent years steering and maneuvering another object: a hockey puck.

Four years younger than her brother Matt, Meghan was always watching him play hockey as a child. While watching Matt develop as a young skater, Meghan too wanted to lace up a pair of skates.

“I used to watch him when I was younger,” says Meghan. “I asked my parents if I could play and they got me started with once a week clinics.”

From then on, Meghan was determined to become a hockey player. She knew it wasn’t a very common activity for girls, but she didn’t care. Starting at the young age of seven, Meghan began her pursuit of a sport typically thought of as a man’s game. But of course, at the naïve age of seven, that didn’t stop her.

“I mainly started playing because, when I saw my brother, it looked fun,” explains Meghan.

What started out as her idea of fun, quickly turned into years of training and league play. Beginning with a season in Mites, Meghan began to take the sport more seriously, and her parents started having her take private lessons.

But not just any private lessons.

Meghan began learning from one of the best instructors and coaches on Long Island, Alexi Nikiferov. Largely responsible for a resurgence in hockey amongst Long Island’s youth, Nikiferov has coached the likes of such former NHL players as Darius Kasperitis and Dana Zubris. His knowledge and love for the sport is passed along to each young skater he mentors, and Meghan is the poster child for this success. Over time, Meghan became one of the best young players on Long Island- male or female.

Along with the help of Nikiferov, and after completing a year in pee-wee minor, Meghan was asked to play for a team from Chicago called “Team America.” The team was to travel to Sweden and play against top-notch competition from all around the world. And if that isn’t overwhelming enough for a young girl, how about being one of just two girls on the roster.

“It was an all-boys team other than one other girl who was a goalie,” says Meghan. “But it was great.”

After competing in Sweden, Meghan then went to Nationals Camp in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was chosen as a forward even though she had never really played the position. But the scouts at the camp discussed her abilities with her coaches, and decided to place her on the first ever women’s Under-18 National Team.

As if skating with the country’s best young hockey players wasn’t rewarding enough, Meghan decided to make even more of a name for herself. Competing in Calgary against other U-18 teams from around the world, Meghan scored the first goal for her team.

“It was crazy,” she remembers. “I remember having a three-on-two, and we were passing the puck, and the puck hit my stick and went in the net. Everyone just went crazy. I was just lost in the moment.”

Lost, but not gone. Meghan would strike again in the Gold Medal game, blasting a goal into the net that almost sent the crowd through the roof.

“There were about 1,000 fans there, and only 100 were American,” explains Meghan. “We had our own little cheering section of parents and they all just went crazy.”

Showing just how much Long Island hockey has developed, Meghan is certainly an inspiration to any girl growing up on the Island, let alone in the world of hockey. She has since begun playing in the North American Hockey Academy in Stowe, Vermont, with hopes of trying out for the U-18 team once again.

For a girl who gets knocked around on the ice, and smashed into the boards on occasion, she certainly has her head on her shoulders. Already having accomplished a lifetime’s worth of achievements, she still tries to better herself on the ice.

“I just want to play the game and get more challenged by other players,” says Meghan. “I hope to keep making the U-18 team, and competing for gold medals.”

Do her goals and dreams stop once she turns 18? She’ll say no faster than she can hockey-stop.

“I’d love to get a Division I scholarship, and I’d like to be on the Olympic team- that would be the ultimate goal for me to reach.”

The road for Meghan Mangine has been one filled with perseverance and success. And although she still can’t drive a car on that road, or pick up her friends for another year, she can sure give that puck a ride!

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One Response to “Latest Article by yours truly”

  1. Your Sister-in-Law Says:

    Jonathan, this is awesome! I am really impressed with your writing and with the way you portrayed your subject. Can’t wait to read more!

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