ST. CATHERINES, ON — Almost a year away from graduating high school, Shailynn Snow of Clarke’s Beach already knows where she’ll continue her education, and she can thank her hockey skills for that.
The 16-year-old forward, now in her second season of prep school hockey at Ridley College in St. Catherines, Ont., recently committed to St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. The school’s women’s hockey team competes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), widely acknowledged as the highest level of competition for college sports.
Snow had offers on the table from several schools south of the border. She spent more than a year weighing her options before deciding to accept the offer from St. Lawrence, which comes with a full athletic scholarship. Snow is interested in studying physiotherapy.
“In the end, I was choosing between St. Lawrence and Syracuse (University), both unbelievable schools with two great offers,” Snow told the Compass the day after helping Ridley College win a playoff game that went to double-overtime. “But I think the thing that just stood out to me was that I just liked St. Lawrence more.”
Snow was particularly impressed with the school’s coaching staff and the atmosphere of the school itself.
“St. Lawrence is like a bigger version of Ridley, so I’m excited for it.”
Back home, Snow’s mother Connie Mugford couldn’t be more pleased with how things are going for her.
“I’m very proud of her,” said her mom. “She’s a good kid, very humble.”
Ridley College plays in the Junior Women’s Hockey League and also competes in tournaments and an athletic conference for Ontario prep schools. In 61 games this season, Snow has 47 goals and 32 assists, giving her 79 points. That’s a slight dip in production from her rookie year, when she scored 63 goals and added 47 assists in 64 games for 110 points. She’s an assistant captain for the Ridley Tigers and will be back for her senior year in the fall.
“Our team is young this year,” she said, noting there are a lot of players a year or two younger than herself. “We’re getting there. It was a slow start at the beginning, but our seasons just about wrapped up. We’ve got about a week left, and then we’ve just got to focus on next year.”
Of course, there’s a lot for Snow to think about once Ridley’s season is finished. Her play has attracted attention from Hockey Canada. She participated in development camps for the under-18 national squad last year and was named an alternate for Team Canada at the world tournament.
“I’m hoping to get an invite back to the main camp and I’ve already started training for it,” Snow said, adding she’s placing an emphasis on her cardio fitness.
“I’ve been training since September for it. I’ve been up most of my mornings every week at 6:30 running cardio with the assistant coach.”
Snow’s training will continue this summer in Newfoundland after she completes her school exams.
“I’m focusing on training 100 per cent,” she said. “I’m getting a personal trainer and I’m going to train every morning, every day, as much as I can.”
Her mom always had a feeling hockey would create opportunities for Shailynn, even at a young age.
“At the age of two when she started skating and at the age of four when she started playing hockey, I knew that,” Mugford said. “She’s a gifted player.”
While she can watch her daughter’s games online, it’s not quite the same as having her back home playing at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts.
“It’s hard. She’s all I’ve got,” said Mugford. “But she had to go away … She’s got a dream.”
Snow’s mom is also quick to credit coaches in Newfoundland who helped her daughter along the way, including Randy Pearcey, Andrew McKim and Bo Bennett.