The South Shore Kings will be heading into the USPHL Premier’s New England playoffs as underdogs, currently holding the eighth seed. That certainly won’t keep the Kings from playing to win one of the two coveted spots to the USPHL National Championships in Utica.
For a player like Ryan Meagher, who recently made his NCAA commitment to Salem (Mass.) State University, he just wants to keep the Kings experience going.
“The South Shore staff has been great. They have certainly helped my development and have made it a great experience on and off the ice,” said Meagher.
The 2003-born native of Boston, Mass., will be going to school a ferry ride from his city of birth next year. The first-year junior right winger has 16 points in 38 games this year, coming into the program after leading the Lawrence Academy prep school team as Captain in 2021-22.
“I started talking with the Salem State coaches at the start of the SSK season. Coach [Jimmy] Currier came to watch me play a few times and the conversations picked up from there,” Meagher said. “My skating, my versatility to play in all situations, and my hockey IQ are probably my biggest strengths, and should help me as I transition to the college level.
“One of my friends, and former teammate on the Boston Jr. Eagles, is a freshman at Salem State and he has loved his experience there,” added Meagher. “When I was making a decision, I wanted a school which would combine great hockey, excellent academics and a social environment which I would really enjoy. Salem State University brings all three to the table.
“The campus is beautiful, Salem is a great city with lots going on, especially around Halloween, and I love the proximity to Boston, too,” he said. “Although my immediate family lives down in Nashville now, I still have plenty of aunts and uncles who live in and around Boston, so it will be awesome to continue to play in front of them.”
He’ll switch from the South Shore to the North Shore next year, but the former has certainly left a great impression on him and his game.
“The South Shore Kings staff have been great. They have certainly helped my development and have made it a great experience on and off the ice,” said Meagher. “Coach [Dave] O’Donnell is awesome. He works us hard, makes it fun to come to the rink and is always trying to put each player and the team in positions to succeed.
“For me, Coach O’D has really helped build my confidence and helped my development as a player by playing me in all situations – PP, PK, end of game, etc. Also, with so many good players, the emphasis on competition and compete level is really important to every player’s progression as a player.”
He is also glad that he put his game to the test in the USPHL Premier for a season before heading to NCAA hockey.
“It has been great. Great coaching, lots of really good players and the USPHL has provided great exposure for lots of players,” he added.
He knows he’ll have to take his game to an even higher level next year, as Salem State continues to build on making three trips to the NCAA tournament in the last 10 years (2014, 2016, 2017).
“[I’ll be] working with the coaching staff to keep focusing on my skating and hockey sense – processing things at a higher speed, as you have less time and space as you move from junior hockey up to college,” said Meagher. “I try to take advantage of the off-ice workouts as well to keep gaining size, strength and speed.”
The USPHL congratulates Ryan Meagher, his family, the South Shore Kings and Salem State University for his commitment.