Add the name Shannon McCammish to the elite list of high school ice hockey players who’ll make up the Rhode Island Reds Heritage Society’s 2018 Unsung Heroes.
The daughter of Michael and Dina McCammish of Warwick and a recent Toll Gate High School graduate, is one of only six players who will be honored during the award-winning non-profit’s 18th Annual Reunion on Sunday, Aug. 5 at Goddard Memorial State Park in Warwick.
In keeping with tradition – and as yet another way to perpetuate ice hockey at the high school level – the Reds Heritage Society annually honors three schoolboy and as many schoolgirl players with the Unsung Hero Awards that are named in honor and memory of three of the greatest Reds players to ever lace up the skates.
For example, McCammish will receive the prestigious Gil Mayer Award that is usually presented to goaltenders in honor and memory of the late Reds’ Hall of Fame keeper who was one of the best goalies in pro hockey history.
However, this year’s Gil Mayer Award will go to McCammish for her “extraordinary defense” on the 2017-18 Toll Gate/Pilgrim Co-op team. Barrington High School’s Nichols Bernardo is the schoolboy recipient.
The Reds Heritage Society Chuck Scherza Award, given annual to forwards, will be presented to Sydney Nobrega of Smithfield High School and Nick Klasner of the Rogers/Middletown/Rocky Hill Co-op team. Also, the Society’s Fernie Flaman Award for defense will go to Symantha Aheasy of La Salle and Tyler Pierkarski of Smithfield.
“Unsung Heroes are high school hockey players who contribute to their teams in ways that only their coaches and other players are aware of,” Vin Cimini, a Reds spokesman, related. “Often they exemplify the term ‘student-athlete’ but there is usually much more than that to the respective player.”
Cimini went on to say, “Often they have overcome personal hurdles and have inspired their teammate to push through their struggles. Sometimes, they are natural (or conditioned) leaders on and of the ice. Many are civic minded and go above and beyond to serve their community and still maintain their focus on academics and hockey. Their stories are varied as athletes.”
McCammish, for example, captained this year’s Warwick Co-op team and was also chosen as the team’s leader in her junior season.
But that’s just one of the countless reasons McCammish was selected for the Gil Mayer Award.
When it comes to academics, McCammish is the epitome of a student-athlete. She has been a member of the Italian Honor Society and National Honor Society and was in a high honors class (AP) and ranked 27th out of 250 Toll Gate seniors. She also won the team award for the highest GPA.
“Shannon has shown tremendous sportsmanship throughout her career,” David Tibbetts, the Warwick co-op team’s coach, offered. “She was voted our team captain in her junior and senior seasons and has always been a leader in fair play and sportsmanship.”
As equally impressive, Shannon only received a few penalties per season on average, even though she logged a ton of ice time and played an aggressive style of defense during her career.
There’s yet another side to McCammish that impressed the selection committee that annually chooses the Unsung Hero Awards.
“Our hockey program has had to recruit and train beginner girls who, in many cases, have never event skated before,” Tibbetts related. “Many begin in the ninth grade and learn the game. By the time they are juniors and seniors, they typically become good players who can play a role on this team. Shannon has been instrumental in keeping our program alive; she recruits and helps train our new players.”
This year 13 of 20 the Toll Gate/Pilgrim Co-op club’s players were beginners.
To say that Shannon is a leader in the Toll Gate Community would also be an understatement.
She volunteers at a food bank, participated in a Dream Center 5K walk for charity, worked with coaches for a Cure Volleyball fund-raiser, attended the New England Leadership Conference and worked as a tour guide for freshman orientation and is a unique school ambassador.
Like most ice hockey players, Shannon has had to overcome her share or hardships and obstacles but never stopped working to build a team.
She injured her shoulder as a freshman and played through the injury to finish the season but ultimately required surgery. She was supposed to miss her entire sophomore season but through hard work and rehabilitation, Shannon was back on the ice just prior to the playoffs.
Moreover, the team went winless her junior season yet Shannon kept playing, recruiting and leading.
That’s perhaps another reason won the Bill Nangle Leadership Award. She also captained Toll Gate’s varsity volleyball team and was chosen as a Rhode Island Interscholastic League Ambassador.
She won the D-2 state championship in 2015 and was selected for the P-Bruins All-Star Hockey Skills Competition in 2017, the same year she was selected second team All-Division defense and voted the Lady Titans’ best defenseman that same season.
Meanwhile, McCammish’s proud parents will tell you, “Her hockey team was the foundation of her high school experience.”
An experience during which Shannon McCammish enriched the lives of her fellow teammates as well as many students in the TGHS community.
When asked what’s in store for this model student-athlete, Michael and Dina McCammish – and countless others will tell you, “Shannon will continue to display her hockey skills while she pursues a degree in nursing at University of Rhode Island beginning in September.