With a 34 percent growth rate in girls hockey over the past ten years according to USA Hockey, Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, the premier prep school for hockey in the U.S., is establishing a second U19 girls hockey team to help support this growth and provide another option for female student-athletes to develop and pursue their passion for the game.
“As leaders in youth hockey development, we have been tracking the explosion of girls hockey in the United States, and we want to step-up to provide more opportunities for young women, who are passionate about hockey, to pursue their dreams,” said Gordie Stafford, Director of Girls Hockey at SSM. “With our extensive training facilities, preeminent coaching staff, and unparalleled tradition of excellence, both academically and athletically, we are uniquely positioned to make this a reality.”
This USA Hockey registered team, which will begin competition in the fall of 2021, will participate in a 50-60 game season in addition to daily practices and skill sessions. Under SSM’s proprietary Player Development Program (PDP), these student-athletes will also receive multiple skills sessions each week conducted by SSM’s full-time coaches and have the same academic expectations as current students, whether they are enrolled as a junior, senior, or post-grad.
“One of the School’s greatest strengths has been developing student-athletes, both academically and athletically, and this is another example of how they will prepare athletes for the future,” stated Shattuck-St. Mary’s alumna and Olympic gold medalist Brianna Decker ’09. “I am thrilled to see that they are starting to build the girls program just as they have built the boys. I know the program as a whole is in good hands with Gordie Stafford leading the charge in helping develop more incredible people, on and off the ice.”
While plans to expand the program have been in the works for quite some time, this new team will also help serve an immediate need for students impacted by stalls in the college recruiting process due to recent changes in NCAA eligibility rules caused by COVID-19. Without opportunities to join a Juniors program like the boys, SSM could be an ideal environment for continuity in training and education for those who have aspirations to play college hockey, or who have a college commitment for the fall of 2021, but may need a “gap” year until there is roster availability.
Since its first national title in 2005, the SSM girls hockey program has proven year after year that it is truly a one-of-a-kind environment for female student-athletes to grow and learn in while training to be an elite-level athlete. With eight Olympians, 19 NWHL professionals, and two Patty Kazmaier awardees tied to the program, SSM is eager to welcome and prepare a whole new group of girls to be the best in their sport.
“We are excited to bring another team full of committed, driven athletes to our school. It is an opportunity for growth by every measure, and Shattuck-St. Mary’s will continue to lead the way in the development of both girls hockey and the student-athletes who will form this unique new team,” Stafford added.
To learn more about Shattuck-St. Mary’s Girls Hockey Center of Excellence, please visit SSM Girls Hockey online and inquire with our coaches by filling out an inquiry form here.
About Shattuck-St. Mary’s School
Shattuck-St. Mary’s School is a world-class college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 6-PG located in Faribault, Minnesota. SSM delivers a rigorous academic curriculum that blends the best of traditional education with innovative, creative learning opportunities for students around the world who want to pursue their passions in academics, the arts, or athletics. Discover more at s-sm.org.