Home College Marielle McHale Finishes Outstanding Career For Syracuse U

Marielle McHale Finishes Outstanding Career For Syracuse U



When Marielle McHale was two years old she learned how to skate. About that same time her father, Michael, built a rink in the front yard of their home in Clifton Park, NY.

“He put me out there with a pair of skates and a white, plastic lawn chair and said ‘have at it.’ And I’ve been skating ever since.”

That start eventually led McHale to Syracuse University where she played six seasons for the women’s D1 hockey team.

Growing up in Clifton Park, McHale was surrounded by women’s collegiate hockey programs.

“I had a lot of role models to look up to when I was growing up,” recalled McHale, who began playing boys hockey for the Clifton Park Youth Hockey Association and then at age 11 switched over to girls hockey. “There were teams at Union College and RPI.

“I went to a lot of their games. I remember even coming to Syracuse when I was younger and playing in tournaments there.

“So it was kind of awesome when I ended up coming to Syracuse to play college hockey. It was like I had come full circle.”

When McHale was 14 she moved to Massachusetts where she attended boarding school at Williston Northhampton School. She played for club teams in Boston including the Boston Jr. Eagles and the Massachusetts Spitfires.

From there it was on to Syracuse U. And McHale will be the first to admit that it was quite a transition for her coming from high school hockey to college hockey.

“The players are a lot stronger and faster at the college level,” admitted McHale. “My freshman year was quite an adjustment for me.

“But I think it was for the best because it made me a better person. It made me realize what it takes to play, what I have to do on the ice and off it.

“It helped me realize what it takes to be a good teammate, be a good leader and making sure I’m being the best person that I can be.”

Although Syracuse head coach, Britni Smith has only coached McHale for two seasons, she has seen how the veteran forward has taken her role on the team seriously.

“Marielle is in her sixth year with the program and is someone who has been in the program for a long time,” remarked Smith. “I’ve only been able to work with her for two years.

“But within that time of two years, she has taken major strides, so I can only imagine in six years how far she has come.

“It’s so great to see someone from New York (State), so close to Syracuse, playing at Syracuse. She has really impacted the program and she wears a letter (A) for us.

“She’s played a pretty large role for us. She is one we have looked to for a lot of ways this season.”

Smith also talked about McHale’s role off the ice.

“She’s a great teammate and is someone who is always bringing a smile to her teammates face,” added Smith. “She is one, who this year took on a really large role in helping those younger players along.

“They (teammates) call her the ‘grandmother’ for a reason, but you definitely see her ability to be a mentor to those players.”

Now, with 165 games under her belt, which is a Syracuse record for career games played, her career Block S career behind her, what’s next for McHale?

“I would love to coach,” answered McHale. “I’ve always wanted to coach a high school team or even a college team.

“I think I have a good mind for it. I hope I can get into it.

“But I wouldn’t mind being an academic coordinator. I have my master’s in higher education. An academic coordinator helps players on college teams coordinate their schedules and are doing well academically.

“I think I would connect a lot better with athletes because I’ve experienced it. Academics have always been important to me, even back in my high school days.

“And in college I really learned how to balance academics with hockey.”

What kind of advice would McHale give to a high school student wanting to do what she has done?

“I think being the best person you can be is the most important,” answered McHale. “Keep working hard, asking questions and keep showing up no matter how things are going.

“Have a positive attitude as a teammate. Be engaging. Be positive. Coaches see that. Teammates see that.

“It will pay off.”

(Photos by Janet Schultz Photography/NY Hockey OnLine)