Raised in Marion, hockey hit headed to Nationals
Marion-raised hockey player Hannah MacDougall’s passion for the game has taken her all over the country with a select team. Now, it will take her across the country to Anaheim California to play in the Nationals on April 4 to 8.
Hannah’s hockey journey started watching her dad, Chris MacDougall, and brother play the sport.
“I didn’t think she’d play hockey, but she came up to me and said, ‘I want to do it!’” Chris said.
“I love how fast the play is, and how competitive,” Hannah says, adding that she’s also “always grown up with it in my family, so I learned to love it.”
For her father, her talent was clear, “almost from the beginning. She’s done it on her own. She wanted to go to the next level constantly. She would come to me,” requesting to move up.
And move up she did. From “learn to skate” she was quickly moved up to “learn to play,” and again to the lowest level boys team. She played with the Canal Sharks, then with the Boston Bandits, then with the Wellesley High School Varsity team, then with the Boston Junior Shamrocks.
She attended Wellesley High School as a freshman. It was around that time that she was selected as one of a hundred players nationwide who would attend a National Development Camp.
At that camp she caught the eye of a set of recruiters, who recruited enough players to form a team. The issue then became finding a place for them to train and continue their education.
Eventually they built a Selects Academy at Bishop Kearney, in Rochester New York, which includes training space, a dorm, and an elevator to a private chef who helps players eat right for the training they do.
Though Hannah, or “Goggs,” as her teammates call her because she refuses to wear contacts and wears thick goggles on the ice, used to play softball and basketball, over time hockey won out as her favorite sport.
Of the move, the 18-year-old said, “I thought it was easy. I like being on my own sometimes. There’s a lot of teammates here to keep you going.”
And what’s it like for her Dad to have Hannah so far away? “We miss her, but we stay in touch — though not as much as you would think. Her schedule is so busy,” Chris said.
Hannah earned Rookie of the Year at Selects Academy.
And though the girls on her team are from all over the country, and all over the world, she has seen the team grow over the last three years.
“We’ve really matured. We know what’s at stake. And we’ve learned to focus,” she said.
Her father agrees, “They’ve bonded really well. They do a lot of community service as a team. They have been well received by the rest of the school,” he said.
That’s despite an irregular schedule that has them taking classes via laptop on Fridays to travel and play. But, “they’re as focused on their education as they are on the sport,” Chris explained.
The hard work has paid off, and as a senior Hannah will get to go to Nationals. She said she is “excited but nervous,” about the upcoming games. Her dad and brother plan to travel to California to see the games.
After that, they won’t have to travel nearly as far, as Hannah will attend college at University of Massachusetts Boston next year, where she will play for its woman’s hockey team.
“I really like the coast and I want to stay local,” she said.