Establishing herself as a solid playmaker poised to become a consistent producer on offense, Meghan Grieves is among the building blocks for an ever-improving Boston Blades squad. In a season where the club also found a solid forward in Kate Leary who could complement Grieves’ caliber, along with an inspiring goaltender in Lauren Dahm, the Blades have three American-born superstars in the making.
Making her debut with the Boston Blades on October 15, 2016, along with Dahm and Kayla Tutino, the first pick overall in the 2016 CWHL Draft, Grieves would compete in a landmark game during the CWHL’s 10th Anniversary season. Taking on their expansion cousins, the Toronto Furies, the game would only grow in legend as the season unfolded due to the number of new faces on both sides that would become All-Stars.
Among such All-Stars was Grieves, who would join Tutino and Blades captain Tara Watchorn, the first Canadian-born captain in franchise history at the mid-season classic. Gracing the ice at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, site of the first three CWHL All-Star Games, it was an opportunity for Grieves to showcase her skills in front of both, a national TV audience on Sportsnet, and a CWHL attendance record of over 8,000 fans.
Competing with Team White, Grieves was the lone Blades representative on their roster of All-Stars. On this day, Tutino and Watchorn were rivals, both donning the jersey of Team Blue. Despite facing off against such familiar faces, absorbing the exciting environment around her brought with it elation,
“The atmosphere at the Air Canada Centre was incredible. There was such a fun crowd who made playing in the game a blast.
Playing in front of over 8,000 fans as well as a national TV audience is so exciting for the future of women’s hockey and definitely a huge step in the right direction. As soon as I got on the ice it hit me, and I realized how incredibly blessed we all were to have the opportunity.”
Grieves would achieve the milestones of her first CWHL points during a weekend series against the defending Clarkson Cup champion Calgary Inferno on November 26-27. Logging goals in each game, it was a breakthrough for a Blades club that had been offensively starved the season prior.
In the first game against Calgary, Grieves would score her first CWHL goal at the 16:42 mark of the second period against Genevieve Lacasse, who captured a pair of Clarkson Cups with the Blades. Gaining the assists on the goal were Watchorn and Dru Burns, who represented the Blades at the 2016 CWHL All-Star Game.
The following day, Grieves logged the Blades first goal of the game with Kristina Brown gaining the assist. Scored at the 3:38 mark of the second stanza, it was a notable goal for Grieves, who would slip the puck past Delayne Brian, who was the MVP of the 2016 Clarkson Cup playoffs.
On the road in the Greater Toronto Area against the Brampton Thunder on December 17, Grieves assembled what may have been her best performance of the season. Registering two assists, it represented the first multi-point effort of her CWHL season. Such an effort made a significant impression on Blades nation, as it resulted in the second straight win for the black and gold, its first (and only) times during the season that it logged back-to-back victories.
Despite the Blades going the rest of the season without a win following their notable victory against Brampton, Grieves continued piling up points. The New Year would star on a strong note as a January 8 home match saw her log a season-high three points. Perhaps more impressive was the fact that it took place against the eventual Clarkson Cup champions, Les Canadiennes de Montreal.
When Grieves reflects on the experiences of being an All-Star, gaining the rare opportunity to meet players from rival teams and make acquaintances during such a magical weekend, it was actually a member of Les Canadiennes that made the biggest impression.
Compared to previous editions of the All-Star Game, there were only two non-Canadian players that graced the ice at Air Canada Centre in 2017. Among them were Grieves and fellow American, Julie Chu. While each Canadian-based franchise in the CWHL has featured Americans on their roster in seasons past, Chu may be the most famous.
Holding the unique distinction of being the only player to have won a Clarkson Cup with an American (Minnesota Whitecaps – 2010) and Canadian (Montreal Stars 2011-12) team, Chu is carving an amazing hockey legacy in Montreal. Enhancing her legacy is the fact that she is also the head coach of the Concordia Stingers.
Akin to so many other young girls who grew up playing hockey in the US, Grieves found a role model in Chu. Raised in North Carolina, Grieves is the second player to hail from the state to compete in the CWHL All-Star Game, following in the steps of another Blades alumnae, Alyssa Gagliardi. Getting the opportunity to add to the American legacy in CWHL hockey, it was a proud moment to be able to represent the stars and stripers alongside one of the greatest ambassadors for the game.
“The best part of the weekend was definitely meeting the other players on both teams. There are so many incredible hockey players in the CWHL, and it was a really cool experience to get to know many of them.
Also, as one of two US girls that were selected to the all-star roster, it was awesome to stand alongside Julie Chu during our national anthem, someone I looked up to growing up, and represent our country in Toronto.”
In the last six games of the season, Grieves placed her name on the scoresheet in three games, amassing a respectable five points. As a side note, she would close out the season on a strong note with her last multi point effort of the season by registering two assists. Coincidentally, this effort also took place against Brampton.
Having also managed three power play goals, Grieves emerged as an asset on special teams for the Blades, furthering their goals of rebuilding for a postseason berth. Undoubtedly, the biggest goal scored all season for Grieves was the one scored at the All-Star Game.
Scoring in the third period, providing Team White with an 8-5 lead, Grieves would slip the puck past Team Blue goaltender Erica Howe, whose club team is the Brampton Thunder, a team that has provided Grieves with much success this season.
Adding to the tinge of irony on this goal was the fact that the assist was credited to Marie-Philip Poulin. During their NCAA careers, Grieves skated for Boston College, while Poulin was the captain for Boston University, two of the biggest rivals in collegiate hockey.
While the last goal of the game would be scored by Jillian Saulnier, becoming the second player to log a hat trick in a convincing 9-5 final for Team White, Grieves’ goal made an important statement about the new generation of talent donning the Blades colors. As the black and gold gradually progress, it has a gem in Grieves.
”Scoring a goal was awesome, and hard to put into words. There was such a high level of talent on that ice, and I was honored to have the opportunity to play with, and against such amazing hockey players.
Luckily, I was on a 2-on-1 with Poulin, and she made it easy for me to put the puck in the net. Such a cool feeling.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Images obtained from Twitter: https://twitter.com/grieves11