Matt Gellatly isn’t the only Jr. Hurricanes product to make some noise at the next level lately.
, who played defense on boys’ teams with the Jr. Canes growing up in Raleigh, is about to start her Division I college hockey career after receiving a scholarship to Sacred Heart University in Connecticut.
While most players of her skill level move on to prep schools to play with other girls, Burroughs, a Wakefield High School product, made the choice (and was talented enough) to stay at home and compete against the boys.
“You could tell three years ago that this girl was probably going to play hockey somewhere – it’s not something that came out of the blue,” said Hurricanes Youth and Amateur Hockey Coordinator Paul Strand.
Burroughs spent the last three years playing with the Jr. Canes’ U-18 AA squad. She didn’t make the team just because she was a girl, either.
”This was our top team,” said Strand, who helped run the tryouts. “You have kids that are going to ECU and NC State that played on that team with her. She was a very valuable player.”
Ron Francis, the Hurricanes’ assistant general manager and director of player development, knows the Burroughs family personally. His son plays on the same team as Burroughs’ younger brother.
”She insisted that she play on the boys teams,” said Francis. “She liked the physical nature and thought she needed to challenge herself with some competition as good as she is. Seeing girls play hockey shows other girls in our market that they can do it too.”
Speaking of the physical nature of the boys’ teams, Burroughs didn’t play with the boys in spite of the contact – she played because of it. In fact, Strand said the toughest challenge Burroughs will face in college is adapting to the non-contact rules in the women’s game.
”She is a rugged hockey player,” said Strand. “When I saw her play, I never saw her take any abuse and just turn around and skate away. She dished it right back out.”
Burroughs’ first game with Sacred Heart is September 27 against Connecticut.