Glenburn sisters sharing hockey dream at Colby College – Bangor Daily News
Katie McLaughlin wasn’t enamored with the idea of going to the Learn to Skate Program with her mother and younger sister Mikayla.
“She cried all the way. I was the one who enjoyed it,” said Mikayla.
“One time, I wouldn’t get off the bench. I wouldn’t get on the ice. And I didn’t want my mother (Cindy) tying my skate laces,” recalled Katie.
But the next year, after watching older brother Reid play hockey, it was a different story.
“Seeing my brother play hockey definitely inspired me. I wanted to follow in his footsteps. And watching my younger sister doing something I didn’t want to do and be good at it made me want to do it, too,” said Katie.
The sisters looked up to Reid, who had a terrific hockey career at Brewer High School. He scored the overtime game-winner to give the Witches their first state Class B title in 2007 by virtue of a 4-3 win over Greely of Cumberland Center.
Now, nearly nine years later, the McLaughlin sisters are teammates on the Colby College women’s hockey team.
When Reid McLaughlin would grab his skates and stick and head to the pond at Langley’s Strawberry Farm in Hermon, less than a mile from their Glenburn home, they would accompany him.
“I never had to drag them. Being the older sibling, they wanted to come,” said Reid.
Older sister Emily, a basketball player, would also join them on the pond.
It was on that pond that the sisters learned a lot about the sport from Reid, who is six years older than Katie and eight years older than Mikayla.
“He taught us more than anyone else,” said Katie. “He was a great teacher.”
The sisters wound up playing on boys teams throughout most of their youth hockey careers and when they finally arrived at Brewer High School, they had to make a decision about their futures.
The daughters of G. Reid and Cindy McLaughlin each spent their freshman years at Brewer.
They were going to have to overcome overcome the obstacles that girls have to deal with when they are playing on a boys high school team, like lack of playing time and handling the physical aspect of the game.
The other option was to leave and try to play on a girls prep school team.
“I played on a peewee (ages 11-12) team with Anthony Capuano and his dad Jack (the New York Islanders coach and former University of Maine All-American defenseman) coached us during a couple of our practices,” said Katie. “Jack told me if I was serious about hockey and it was something I wanted to pursue in college, staying in Brewer wasn’t going to help me get there. Being the only girl on a boys public school team was going to be difficult. He thought I had talent enough to play at the college level.”
Capuano explained that she would receive more exposure playing on a prep school girls team and he gave her a list of schools to check out.
“Being recruited off a boys team can be much more difficult,” agreed Mikayla.
Capuano knew the boys coach at the Taft School in Connecticut, former Maine defenseman Dan Murphy, so that’s where she went following her freshman season at Brewer High thanks to money she received from the Harold Alfond Scholarship Foundation. Murphy wound up being her adviser.
She captained three sports (hockey, soccer and softball) at Taft and that led her to Colby College in Waterville.
Mikayla went to the Kent School in Connecticut after her freshman year at Brewer.
They played hockey, soccer and softball against each other until Mikayla switched over from softball to lacrosse. Mikayla captained the soccer and lacrosse teams at Kent.
The girls said playing together on a team, which has been a rarity during their careers, has been a genuine treat.
Mikayla is a freshman defenseman so they will get to play together again next season.
“It has been awesome,” said Katie. “It’s really nice to have another teammate who works real hard, who puts herself out there and who wants to contribute. Having someone you can count on off and on the ice is awesome. We’re really close. We’re like best friends.”
“It has been unbelievable. It is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I can’t compare it to anything else,” said Mikayla. “I still look up to her. We have a lot of fun together. She really pushes me to be better every day.”
They are competitive with each other but Mikayla said it is a “friendly competition.
“We smile when we go against each other in drills. We give each other encouragement,” said Mikayla.
“We aren’t negative Nancys. If one of us beats the other, we’ll give each other a little bit of credit,” said Katie.
When they made their debut together against archrival Bowdoin on Nov. 20, the whole family was there.
And since Katie is No. 2 and Mikayla is No. 3, they lined up next to each other for the national anthem.
“To see them out there together was a proud moment for us,” said Reid, a UMaine graduate who works at Bath Iron Works and lives in Windham. “I was really happy for them. They were able to achieve their dreams. Going to prep school helped them a lot.”
“It was pretty cool,” said Katie. “The fact we were playing Bowdoin, our rival, made it even more exciting. I looked at (Mikayla) and said ‘This is awesome. We’re here, we did it.”
Katie McLaughlin has had an outstanding career at Colby.
She was Colby’s second-leading scorer her first two seasons and is second on this year’s team with nine points (three goals, six assists) in eight games. She leads the team in assists as she did the previous two seasons. She had nine assists as a freshman and 12 as a sophomore. She scored three goals as a freshman and seven last season.
Katie is also a starting infielder on the Colby softball team.
“I’ve always been a playmaker. I’ve never been a big goal-scorer,” said Katie. “Coach (Mallory Michaeles) has done a good job arranging the lines so I’m with players who bring out the best in each of us.”
Mikayla has played in all eight games but has been getting limited ice time because the Mules have three senior defensemen.
Katie expects her sister to take on a more prominent role in the future.
Reid McLaughlin isn’t surprised to see his sisters playing college hockey.
“They were both competitive, even at a young age,” said Reid. “I thought their talent would take them to the college level.”
Reid said they have different playing styles.
“Mikayla is more of a grinder. Katie is more of a finesse player, a field general who will do anything to help the team out,” said the older brother.
“We skate the same and have very similar habits. But she’s quicker than I am,” said the 19-year-old Mikayla, who is two inches taller than her older sister.
Their personalities are different, too.
“I’m a little more outgoing,” said Mikayla.
“She is more of a free spirit, she’s a little more of a risk-taker than I am,” said Katie. “I think that comes from being the youngest.”
The McLaughlins will return to the ice Jan. 2 when the 2-5-1 Mules face Castleton State (Vermont) in the Castleton State tournament.
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