After exploding onto the scene through her first two seasons for the Plattsburgh State women’s hockey team, Kayla Meneghin is still dropping jaws each time she steps on the ice.
Meneghin was just 8 years old when her parents put her on the ice for the first time.
“I played a bunch of different sports growing up,” Meneghin said. “But I just loved being on the ice and competing.”
While being scouted during her senior year, Meneghin made it up to Plattsburgh to watch the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) championship game, Plattsburgh vs Elmira. Meneghin’s top two interests for colleges to attend. Plattsburgh won the game but the outcome of the game had no factor in her decision.
“I saw how close the girls were and how much fun they had,” Meneghin said. “Coach runs a system which was perfect for me because I am a system player and I loved the atmosphere here.”
Assistant coach Danielle Blanchard noticed the pure talent of Meneghin the moment she saw the puck at her stick.
“We saw the skill and hard work immediately,” Coach Blanchard said. “We saw she had the potential to be an impact player playing all positions on the ice.”
The game of hockey has taught Meneghin more than just to put the puck in the back of the net.
“Hockey has taught me to be a leader because I want to set an example for the younger girls,” Meneghin said. “I have also learned to be more patient and to work things through.”
Teammate Melissa Sheeran and Meneghin haven’t always been the best of friends. Prior to Plattsburgh the two were arch rivals in prep school.
“It was a bit of a learning experience, knowing I was going to play with someone I didn’t like,” Sheeran said. “I could have never expected her to be the amazing teammate I know today.”
After playing with each other for three years, the two in their junior season, have created a Wayne Gretzky & Mark Messier type of chemistry.
“Even if my head is down I can chuck the puck and I know Kayla will be there,” Sheeran said. “I wouldn’t be the player I am today if it wasn’t for her.”
As Meneghin spends a lot of time on the ice, the All-American still finds time to get her work done during the season.
“When I am hockey, my only focus is hockey,” Meneghin said. “But when it is time I sit down and plan out when I need to do my school work.”
Last season, Meneghin suffered a knee injury halfway through the season. She wore a knee brace which allowed her to finish out the season still on the ice. After the season, she visited a doctor and found out she had played with a partially torn ACL.
“After rehab and getting my strength back I think my knee is stronger than it was before,” Meneghin said. “Playing hockey 24/7 also helped in the recovery process.”
What people admire most about Meneghin is her intense work ethic, which helps her excel on the ice.
“Day in and day out, she is the hardest worker on the team,” Coach Blanchard said. “Kayla has developed into an all around hockey player since she came to Plattsburgh.”
“She is one of the hardest working people that I know,” Sheeran said. “You never have to wonder if Kayla is slacking because she is not that type of person.”
In her free time hanging with her teammates and watching Netflix are ways Meneghin keeps her mind off of hockey.
“Some teams aren’t as close as we all are,” Meneghin said. “I have 22 best friends that I am around just about all the time.”
Looking back on her already tremendous career here Meneghin will remember more than just the accolades she has acquired as a hockey player.
“The things I will remember most are my amazing teammates and becoming a national champion,” Meneghin said.
Email Ezra Kachaturian at firstname.lastname@example.org