We also asked Melissa to tell us a little more about her experiences with Team USA.
"I think it’s so interesting that different countries and different teams have different characteristics and qualities about them, I remember when we went to World’s in Finland, Japan was so fast and energetic. Obviously you have the three big guns: Canada, Finland and the US and then all the rest. They still bring a good game but I think the drop off is so big in skills from those theee countries to the rest. There’s always good players on each team, can’t take that away, but just as a team overall I think the drop off is bigger. So when you play different countries like Japan, or Czech Republic, you just find different characteristics., which make them hard to play against. It might not be the same as other teams, and that was really cool to see that. as I grew up, U18 and then the Senior Team."
And when it was time to leave Shattuck for college, Cetacean Nation wondered how d Quinnipiac become Melissa's choice, and she stated "Honestly, I remember during the recruiting process, someone told me: You’re going to,know when you get on campus, this is where you want to go. And Inhaf that feeling when I stepped on campus. I was in the main quad and I was facing the clock tower and I remember thinking, I’m going to go here! It was a hard decision just because I liked the other schools that I ended with, but I’m so happy with it. The friends I made in my class, nd obviously the other classes at Quinnipiac are going to be life long friends. Obviously my experience with them and how much I grew as a player And the facilities were so cool with the basketball and hockey together with our gym there. Have you seen the outlook behind the rink? On a clear day, it’s beautiful, you can see New Haven and little bit of the ocean. Every home game, my friends and I would take a walk up to the University Club, top level, and we would go out there for a quick five seconds before the game."
Melissa added "It was so cool there, not just the facilities, but I knew I was going to progress as a player, and a person. Because of the coaching staff and the team culture. Team culture, now that I’ve gone to Quinnipiac, I really have a passion for. Because I know how important that culture is now. Females are more emotional, and we deal with things differently than boys. And I think it’s important to realize that as fans, and as female athletes. And as a female coach, I think the culture you create for a team is so impactful for the way people grow, for the way people get better. We didn’t have any drama, which is kind of rare for a women’s team. You hear about other teams that deal with a bunch of different stuff, and Quinnipiac we didn’t have any of that, there wasn’t a place for it just because of how strong our culture was, both between coaches and players."
By the conclusion of her career at Quinnipiac, Melissa ranked third on their all-time list in goals (54) fifth in assists, and fourth in points. Melissa spoke about her stellar career with the Bobcats, and explained
"My freshman year we won the league and went to the tournament, but as a freshman you don’t realize how hard it is to do that. As a freashman class we were: Oh, sweet, we’re winning every game. College hockey is not easy, but… :) That had to be one of my favorite moments for winning. But I think in general, the rest of my three years, I was realizing that it is so much harder to do. Our leaders my freshman year we’re kind of a big part of that win, Cyd Roesler, Nicole Kosta, Nicole Connery, they are all unbelievable leaders. I think my three years after winning that league championship, were more important to me, because in those experiences you got to see how special that moment our freshman year was. And how we kind of just grew from the different leaders we had. And I think my class as seniors, we were also great leaders. And I think that’s really the biggest takeaway I have from Quinnipiac."
Cetacean Nation loved the focus on growing and leadership in those comments by Melissa. And we followed that up with asking her about this little factoid: She scored a goal in her very first game at Quinnipiac.
"I did", she said. "I remember we played in an exhibition game and I scored then, I might have scored during the real first game, I don’t remember. But I remember coming off the ice and thinking, that was an exhibition game, that might not count" she laughed. "At the end of the day it doesn’t matter, but I remember that." Melissa also scored a goal in her first regular season career game on Oct. 2, a 3-3 tie with Mercyhurst. She began her Bobcat career with a seven-game point streak, the second longest by a rookie in program history and the second longest to open a season in program history. We mentioned that Whale had a couple of players who had a history of scoring in inaugural games, including our #94 Grace Klienbach. “Statistics like that are fun, I love those" Melissa replied "Honestly, whoever it is, I just hope we win the game at that point. But I’ll be trying" :)
Off the ice at Quinnipiac, Melissa majored in History with a minor in Psychology. She told us
"I was in the Masters a Program at Quinnipiac for Education, and I still have a fifth year to finish. Quinnipiac is letting me take off with my dreams in hockey and train and play, until no more. Then I can go back and finish if I wish to. So I was in Master’s classes too, which kind of sucks, because my BA doesn’t stand for that and that was a big chunk of my classes, the education aspect. I think I want to be a teacher someday, maybe a coach too. Throughout my internships, I was just primary education, K -5 and I really enjoyed it, I was in the primary school part of the program, but my plan was to cross endorse, as it’s called, so I would be eligible to teach K-12 when I graduate. It’s kind of all up in the air right now, but that was my plan. Maybe I’ll teach all subjects, maybe I’ll teach history, who knows? I wasn’t a Student Teacher, from the terms and, because you “student teach” your fifth year. But I was in the classroom helping out and doing that every week, which was a good experience, I really enjoyed it."
She added "I feel like really enjoyed my history classes. My junior and senior year I kind of indulged myself in the history part. I went into college undecided on a major, just because I wasn’t sure and didn’t want to pick something and just go on with it. So eventually I picked History, because for the education program it had to be Biology, (and there was no shot I was taking a science.:) or Math, (and I’m not very great at Math, to be a major) so it just kind of came down to English ot History for me. So I picked History. Because I really learned from my professors to love and look at history in a different way than you are taught in your high school years, you know? I just really enjoyed history. One my Professors, Phil Guduti, had Tuesday night lectures for 2.5 hours and nobody wanted that class. He was also a high school teacher, and whenever he had a class at that time, I would take it. And all of his classes were unbelevable. No matter what they were, even the Civil War, and I don’t really like the Civil War era, but he made it interesting, which I think is cool. A lot of the classes that I liked kind of result from who the professor was and how they taught it. Which is a good thing to learn and to know with me being a teacher down the road."
We asked Melissa if a particular time period interested her in terms of her studies, and she replied
"l found myself really enjoying WWII and 20th Century history. I loved learning about WW II and Pearl Harbor, because I feel like we relate to that. Maybe because there have been so many movies, and it wasn’t too long ago in respect to other parts of history. I feel I was able to relate more to those types of people in that time period, and I found myself really kind of gearing all of my topics in non-history classes towards WWII and that era, if that makes sense. It's just a common thread I’ve found. American History was interesting to me because of where we are, and it was so cool to learn from my classmates. People think in so many different ways, and I love learning from people and dealing with different perspectives. Especially in college, you get some people who think completely out of the box. I felt like that was probably one of the coolest things because a history discussion in a class can get pretty heated and off the tracks, and I think that was awesome too."