Kayla heading up the ice for the Whale. Photo by Bryan Johnson

KAYLA MENEGHIN: ONE MORE ONCE

Cetacean Nation found out yesterday that our amazing #3, feisty forward Kayla Meneghin was changing uniforms and moving her on ice career up to Buffalo. During the regular season last year, Kayla tied for third on the Whale in goals and points, and was second in penalty minutes. She was also second in blocked shots by Pod forwards, and had the best PPG average of any player who skated at least ten games for the Pod. Always a fan favorite for her productivity and personality, Kayla was gracious enough to share some thoughts with us on for those fans. As has been the case this year, we also asked Kayla about how the pandemic was impacting her and she replied:

“I mean it’s hard to be told that you can’t go out to restaurants or social places during this time, just because I’m a social person and like to be doing things. But I have been home with family and plan to be here and spend time with them. I don’t get to see then often,given that I live four and half hours away. So it’s nice to be home and spend the time I can with them.”

Kayla recently posted a bit about Top Tier Performance, and we asked Kayla to tell us a little more about that. She explained .

“So one of my friends that I went to high school with, Nate Sucese (recently signed by the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes), he just recently ended his senior season at Penn State. I saw he posted something about it and I told him I was interested, so we got to talking. And he sent me everything I needed to know about this program. Him and his brother run it. It’s a hockey performance program with a 6 day work out: 3 days of strength and 3 days of cardio. Each day consists of foam rolling, mobility and an activation phase. I’m super pumped to follow along with this program and Top Tier performance. It was something I wanted to try and I’m happy I did.”

 A big part of Kayla’s life in hockey is coaching the sport, which she does at Saint Anselm College. So we asked her to tell us a little about her experience there to date. She replied

 “So just finishing out my second season with Saint Anselm and I couldn’t have been happier the way we finished it. We faced a lot of adversity and overcame a lot. It was a stressful year, working a lot of hours. It’s only Kerstin Matthews and I: on the bench, recruiting etc. So a lot do my duties throughout the summer and early in the beginning of the season consist of recruiting, skill work and video with the girls. Come the season we’re on the ice every day including some additional skill days when girls ask. I’m in the office working on travel details or even doing video, as well. Towards the end of the season and post season it consist of skill work, meetings, and recruiting. Coaching is a lot, but it’s something I’ve been passionate about since I was 12-13 years old. I want to continue to grow the game through coaching and playing. I definitely was exhausted midway through the season. With coaching at Saint Anselm we hit a point in January where we played every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday of that month. Playing that schedule is definitely more exhausting but the traveling and work of coaching still takes a toll on your body and mind.”

Cetacean Nation noted that all of a sudden there is a new hot college hockey rivalry between Saint Anselm and LIU, led by former Whale #28 Sam Faber. How cool is that? Kayla acknowledged

 “It’s pretty cool! I didn’t know Sam personally before this year, as I met her on a recruiting trip this past summer. I have to give her a lot of credit though, because when I was struggling I was able to reach out and she helped me a lot, I’m very appreciative of that. Huge congratulations to LIU. The team and coaching staff has made history and had an unbelievable year. It’s very exciting to see what they did!” We noted there are still not a huge number of female coaches off women’s teams. We asked Kayla if she thought that trend will reverse in the near future? She said “Hopefully over time the numbers will grow on the female side. I think it’s important to keep growing the game through coaching and playing. Hopefully the sport can attract more female coaches who can make a career out of it.”

Kayla has just finished a camp at Ocean Ice Palace in Brick, NJ, along with goalie  Sonjia Shelly and she will be back there next Monday as well. But last summer, Kayla was part of a story involving another Whale goalie. We had  heard from several people about the Ocean City Beach Bash ball hockey tournament last summer, including Brooke Wolejko, Sarah Hughson and Colleen Murphy. So we asked Kayla for a few words on that as well, as she was one of the participants. She explained

“Well, I played with Brooke our senior year at Plattsburgh so I obviously knew her from that. Sarah and I had been getting into ball hockey and when we were getting ready for that tournament, someone reached out to Brooke, and said we needed a goalie. Brooke knew I played,so she reached out to me so we all headed down to Ocean City together to play. And, we won!"

Cetacean Nation thinks the league is in a good place. And as we’ve said previously, there seems to be more elite level hockey players than there are roster spots for, even after Toronto gas been added to the mix. In closing, web asked Kayla for her opinion on “the state of the league” Her thoughts were

“It’s definitely awesome to see the league expand. It’s nice to see that more and more girls will have the opportunity to be able to play in the NWHL when they are older. I didn’t have anyone to look up to really, who played pro women’s hockey. So it’s awesome to have this foundation so that young girls have something to look forward to and work for.”

Cetacean Nation thanks Kayla for sharing this content with us, and we look forward to seeing her return to Danbury next season, even if it is in a different uniform. Fins Up Forever to our amazing #3 Kayla Meneghin, and best of luck on the ice and behind the bench!

UPDATE: On 9/13/20 the NWHL announced that the Metropolitan Riveters would being calling Monclair State University Rink, the former Floyd Hall facility, their new home. Kayla has a long history with that rink, so we s asked her to comment. She said

"I think the Riveters moving to Montclair state university is huge for them and girls hockey in general. Montclair State is my home rink, it was the first place I saw women playing hockey and wanted to join them as soon as I saw girls on ice! Growing up the Quarry Cats played there and getting older they became the Montclair Blues so it makes me really happy to see that the girls playing for the Blues will have the Riveters as role models to look up to!"

Kayla Meneghin accessing the situation on the ice. Photo Courtesy Schuyler Meyer.