Get the latest from Women's Hockey Life straight to your inbox

WHL Academy

CWHL Tribute: Megan Myers | Boston/Worcester Blades

Having enjoyed five seasons with the Blades organization, Megan Myers evolved from ingénue to franchise cornerstone. With over 100 appearances in the iconic black and gold, among the all-time leaders in games played for the Blades, such a constantly dependable presence allowed Myers to become a fan favourite and highly esteemed competitor.

Originally, from Las Vegas, Nevada, Myers’ hockey odyssey has taken her to numerous locales, absorbing the game’s sights and sounds, appreciating a shared love of competing on the frozen perimeter. From starring at the junior level with the Los Angeles Selects, to a sterling NCAA career with the Utica College Pioneers, leading her team in scoring in each of her four fantastic seasons, complemented by a CCM All-American selection in 2013, Myers’ recent stop in New England has yielded remarkable results.

Myers starring for the Utica College Pioneers (Image obtained from: https://ucpioneers.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=3689)

Selected by the Boston Blades with the 47th pick overall in the 2014 CWHL Draft, Myers’ first full season in the black and gold jersey brought with it a storybook ending. Part of a remarkable rookie class that included Corinne Buie, Kaleigh Fratkin, Denna Laing, Jordan Smelker and Janine Weber, Myers would make her CWHL debut on October 18, 2014 in a road contest versus the Montreal Stars.

Recording the milestone of her first career point on home ice, as UMass Boston hosted the Blades in a convincing 6-2 victory on November 15 versus the visiting Toronto Furies, there was a unique sense of serendipity. With Buie appearing in her first CWHL game, she would be on an all-rookie line with Myers and Weber. Fittingly, all three would share in a treasured milestone. With Weber scoring at 3:24 of the second period against All-Star goaltender Christina Kessler, Buie and Myers each recorded assists, accounting for their first points as professional players.

Culminating with a Clarkson Cup victory, the second in franchise history (and third straight appearance in the Finals), Weber left her mark in Cup lore as she became the first European player to score the championship clinching goal. Taking into account that the Blades defeated Montreal for the chance to hoist the coveted Cup, it brought Myers’ season full circle.

Garbed in the Blades road whites (Image obtained from The Laurie Myers Collection)

Certainly, the jubilation of this summit simultaneously affirmed one of the greatest runs in league history. Amassing 49 cumulative wins over the course of three seasons, including a pair of first overall finishes, the chance to be part of the third season, a glorious final chapter in this trilogy, served as a valuable learning experience for Myers. Gaining the opportunity to play alongside numerous Olympic players, while adjusting to a higher level of play alongside such an accomplished group allowed her an opportunity to absorb the nuances, along with the ebbs and flows of the professional game.

With a decade that has seen hockey’s Boston Bruins (2011), baseball’s Boston Red Sox (2013, 2018), and football’s New England Patriots (2014, 2016, 2018), each win championships, Beantown has been transformed into America’s hub for elite sporting excellence. Considering that, the Boston Militia (2011, 2014) and Boston Renegades (2018) captured the national championship in the Women’s Football Alliance, while the Blades (2013, 2015) and the Boston Pride (2016) have each won respective hockey championships, a decade of dominance made greater by the presence of its wondrous women.

The following autumn, led by front office member Krista Patronick, and veteran star Tara Watchorn, the first Canadian player to serve in the capacity of team captain for the Blades, the euphoria of a championship win became a once-in-a-lifetime experience. With hallowed Fenway Park serving as the intersection, a venue that is no stranger to women’s ice hockey, whether it be the Frozen Fenway events or inviting players from the national team to first pitch ceremonies, the Blades extended the unique connection between women’s hockey, bringing the Clarkson Cup to its hallowed playing field.

Myers (fifth from left) seated beside team captain Tara Watchorn in the dugout of Fenway Park with the Clarkson Cup (Photo credit: Angela Spagna)

“Winning the Clarkson Cup was a dream come true. I was a rookie that season and surrounded by some of the most talented women’s hockey players in the world. We had a great team that year and we also had a lot of veteran players that season who really brought me in and made me feel part of the group. I improved my game so much that year personally and playing with my teammates that season taught me so much that I now continue to bring every season moving forward.

Then, bringing the cup to Fenway Park was unbelievable. Boston is such an amazing city and has so much history, so bringing the cup there and having the park all to ourselves was an experience I will never forget. Also, me being a Boston Red Sox fan made it that much sweeter.”

Although the post-Cup years resulted in a vile vortex of frustration, experiencing more defeats than victories, the sportsmanship and perseverance of Myers represented an essential aspect of its team culture, serving as one of its hallmarks.

The first step towards becoming a cornerstone of the franchise found its roots during the 2015-16 season. With a migration of Blades players opting towards free agency, an unforeseen gauntlet that altered the league’s balance of power, Myers accepted it as a personal challenge to fill the leadership gap. Eagerly displaying a willingness to learn, keen to take on a growing role as a leader, she simultaneously took on a bigger scoring role.

Amassing career highs in every statistical category, Myers would experience the milestone of her first career goal on October 24, 2015. Challenging the Calgary Inferno on the road, Myers would score on Delayne Brian, a former CWHL Goaltender of the Year, with captain Watchorn, a former member of the Inferno franchise (when it was known as Team Alberta) gaining the assist.

Worth noting, Myers’ first goal on home ice took place on December 6, 2015 versus the Brampton Thunder. Capitalizing on a power play opportunity at 14:31 of the third period, with Erin Kickham earning the assist, Myers scored against Liz Knox, a former member of Canada’s national team, trimming the visiting Thunder’s lead to 3-2.

Megan Myers with Melissa Bizzari (Image obtained from Facebook)

By the 2017-18 season, one that saw Myers reach the 20-game plateau for the first time in her career, while reaching new career highs in assists and points, another milestone would elevate Myers to greater relevance in franchise history. With a legacy of captains that included Caitlin Cahow, Jessica Koizumi and Tara Watchorn, the opportunity for Myers to join this celebrated sorority took on tremendous meaning.

Exceptionally proud of having the honor bestowed upon her, celebrated a revered standing as one of the league’s elite leaders, the captain’s C would remain on Myers’ jersey in 2018-19. Such a season represented a special brush with history, resulting in Myers serving as the Blades captain for their inaugural season in Worcester, Massachusetts.

“Being named the captain for the Blades has been the biggest honor of my life. To be able to represent my amazing teammates is something that I never took for granted. The women who play for our organization are true professionals and great advocates for our game.

I would not be the person or player I am proud to be today without them. Also honored to wear the “C” on behalf of our whole organization and the cities we represented, it will always be special to me.”

High-fiving fans at Worcester (Image obtained from Twitter)

Relocating to Worcester was certainly a serendipitous move for Myers, allowing her the best of both worlds. In addition to skating for the Blades, Myers holds a place on the coaching staff of the Becker College Hawks, located in nearby Leicester, merely 6.5 miles east of Worcester. Having enjoyed their first season in 2015, Myers has been on Eliza Kelley’s staff since the opening faceoff on October 31, 2015 versus Franklin Pierce.

Among the highlights of this season with Becker College, Claire Conway, garnered a pair of Colonial Hockey Conference (CHC) Rookie of the Week Awards, finishing her freshman season as the Hawks’ leading scorer. Julia Johnson and Madison Rigsby each garnered recognition as the CHC Goaltender of the Week, while senior Claudia Gee earned the CHC Player of the Week Award on December 10, 2018, after amassing her 50th career point with the Hawks.

In addition, five players from the roster, Brittany Aiello, Julia Johnson, a two-sport star who also plays for the lacrosse team, Michaela Martin, Rachel Pitcher and Madison Rigsby, gained entry into Chi Alpha Sigma, the national student-athlete honors society, in recognition of a Grade Point Average of 3.4 or higher.

Undoubtedly, the opportunity to play professionally in the same region while continuing her coaching career was a luxurious blessing. Through Myers’ own assiduous efforts on the frozen perimeter, it provided the Becker College players a dazzling demonstration, simultaneously igniting a sensational sense of local pride.

“The Blades moving to Worcester was very special for me. After my first season with the Blades, I moved to Worcester to coach the Becker College Women’s Ice hockey team. Since moving here, I fell in love with the city.

It was amazing to see the city really get behind us and come to games. It was awesome to have my co-workers come to home games, also have the players I coach everyday come to the games, and always be the rowdiest fans at the Worcester Ice Center.

I think it was awesome for them to watch the game they love being played at the highest level and show that this could be them in the future if they want it bad enough. It was an honor to represent the city of Worcester for a year and we were happy to be apart of the Worcester sports landscape here.”

The leadership skills acquired through Myers’ coaching capacity with the Hawks certainly held numerous benefits in her duties as captain of the Blades. Understanding the importance of setting a positive example, while realizing that such responsibilities also involve setting a higher standard, the balance of coaching and the captaincy were handled gracefully. Excelling in such a dual role furthered Myers’ standing as both role model and athletic ambassador for the community, making her an asset aligned with either team,

“Coaching at Becker for the last four years has definitely helped me in a lot of ways, learning how to lead others on and off the ice, knowing that my actions are looked up to so I needed to conduct myself in a way that they would all be proud, and that I am more accountable for more than myself. Coaching at Becker has made me a better captain and being the Captain for the Blades has made me a better coach. It has been an honor to be a part of the Becker College and Blades families, I am truly blessed.”

Among the most unique aspects of Myers’ journey in Blades’ black and gold took place on December 16, 2017, as the franchise competed in its first-ever game in the burgeoning hockey market of China. With the city of Beijing serving as host city for the 2022 Winter Games, the opportunity to prepare became much more viable through the arrival of two expansion franchises in CWHL play, the Kunlun Red Star and the Vanke Rays.

Opposing the Kunlun Red Star in their opening game, Myers and Courtney Turner, the first pick overall of the 2017 Draft, both assisted on Chelsey Goldberg’s goal, the first scored by a Blades player in China, tying the game at 1-each. Goldberg would raise the Blades’ hopes, scoring a second goal that supplied them with their first lead of the game. Despite a Red Star comeback, scoring four more times in a 5-2 win, Goldberg earned Second Star of the Game honors, embodying the Blades spirit on this day.

Enjoying a total of seven games in China, such a career highlight supplied Myers with a privileged opportunity to showcase her skills in another corner of the globe, truly indicative of the quality of talent that comprise both the Blades and CWHL hockey, helping introduce a new generation to the sport. Gracing the ice at Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center, Myers’ final two seasons in the CWHL allowed her the opportunity to traverse the Pacific Ocean, gaining a newfound appreciation for the beauty of the game, concurrently revelling in the experience of discovering a new culture.

“Going to China twice was an experience of a lifetime. We had a blast going there and exploring the world while playing the best game in the world. The games were always fun, fast and loud. Not to mention the rink was amazing. Exploring China with my teammates was so much fun and something we will all never forget.”

Image obtained from Twitter

Amassing 84 appearances with the Blades, including a seminal moment defined by a marriage proposal from her boyfriend following the completion of the post-game autograph session, Myers holds an imprint in the latter half of franchise history.

Fittingly, Myers was part of the Blades’ last win in franchise history, assisting on a goal by Kate Leary, which defeated the Toronto Furies by a 4-2 tally. In addition, Myers further burnished her mark in franchise lore by scoring a goal in the last Blades contest on home ice.

Hosting Les Canadiennes de Montreal on February 17, 2019, Myers scored on backstop Marie-Soleil Deschenes at 9:40 of the first period, supplying Worcester with a 1-0 advantage, Carrie Atkinson and Kaitlin Spurling assisting. Despite Montreal managing a hard-earned 4-3 victory, the Blades assembled one of the most valiant performances in CWHL history.

Appropriately, the Blades received marvellous recognition for their lionhearted efforts by sweeping the Three Stars of the Game. As Myers earned the First Star, providing her with one more monumental milestone in Blades lore, Spurling was bestowed Second Star honors, while the Third Star went to Morgan Turner.

While Myers ponders the possibilities of Becker’s 2019-20 season, the impact of five fantastic seasons with the Blades shall mark a distinct time in her hockey odyssey. Forever proud of her membership in an empowering generation of women who brought female hockey to new heights of relevance during the decade, the feeling of gratitude is certainly reciprocated, as fans and teammates alike found tremendous inspiration in her professionalism, dignity and fervour for the game,

“If you would have asked me in 2014 if I would end up playing five seasons in the CWHL for the Blades, I probably would not have believed you. It was a dream. It was an unbelievable journey and honestly it is hard to put into words how proud I am that I was apart of it.

From Boston to Worcester, I have truly found a home. From season to season, I have truly found family in the teammates I have been grateful to play with. And I truly found a sense of belonging while playing for the Blades and for that I am eternally grateful.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

Featured image by Elizabeth Brooks


Avatar

More about Mark Staffieri