Aston, PA – The Philadelphia Little Flyers Girls Hockey Program, members of the Mid Atlantic Women’s Hockey Association (MAWHA), Delaware Valley Hockey League (DVHL) and National Girls Hockey League (NGHL) are proud to announce Grace Klienbach and Shayne Morrissey as the new Philadelphia Little Flyers Girls Hockey Program Directors for the 2021-22 season.
“As an organization we are very excited to be able to add both Grace Klienbach and Shayne Morrissey to our Little Flyers staff and our continuously growing girls program,” Philadelphia Little Flyers Youth Hockey President Stephane Charbonneau said Wednesday.
A native of Eustis, FL, Grace played for the Boston Shamrocks in the JWHL prior to committing to play NCAA hockey with Neumann University, where she captained the team during her Junior and Senior years. During her time as an NCAA Student-Athlete, Grace earned Dean’s List Honors from 2013 through 2017, was a Presidential Scholarship recipient (2013-2017), a three-time ECAC West All-Academic Team Member, and was named Most Valuable Player in 2016-17.
After graduating in 2017, Grace was drafted to the Toronto Fury in the CWHL, but elected to sign her first pro contract with the Connecticut Whale in the NWHL. In just her second season with the Whale, she was named an NWHL All Star. Along with playing in the All Star Game, she participated in the fastest skater in the skills competition. Grace has signed for a third professional season and will be playing this year in the NWHL Bubble in January of 2021.
“I am beyond excited to be working with the Philadelphia Little Flyers Girls program,” Klienbach said. “This is such an important time for the growth of women’s hockey and I cannot wait to build upon the momentum. I was once in their shoes, so it is an awesome experience being able to give back and help build the future of women’s hockey.”
Grace has worked with Delco Phantoms teams during her time in college, along with coaching group sessions and private lessons for Fairfield Ice Academy in Connecticut. She is a great role model for young girls involved in hockey and advocate for the growth of women's hockey worldwide.
“Grace is a big addition to what we have been building here with the Little Flyers Girls Program over the past three seasons,” Charbonneau said when asked what the addition of Klienbach means to the Little Flyers’ program. “Going from having only two girls’ teams when we started, we are expecting to expand to nine teams heading into 2021-22 season. Grace has strived for and earned success at every level she’s played at whether it be youth, juniors, collegiately at Neumann or professionally with Connecticut. I’ve seen this translate into her coaching career at a young age. She is going to be a major asset to our players and program moving forward.”
A native of St. John's, NL, Canada, Shayne played junior hockey in Canada before committing to play NCAA college hockey with Neumann University. Shayne is one of the most decorated players in the Neumann University Knights history, In his first collegiate season, Morrissey earned the ECAC West Rookie of the Year award, was named to the ECAC West All-Rookie Team, and was Neumann University’s Rookie of the Year. Shayne followed his impressive rookie campaign with several more honors throughout his career, including being a two-time ECAC West Second Team All-Conference member, a three-time Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Team member, and two-time ECAC West All-Academic Team member. After graduating in 2017, Shayne sits fifth all-time in career points scored with 108 points in four years for the Neumann University Knights.
Shayne turned pro in 2017, splitting time between the SPHL and ECHL, where he now holds the Evansville Thunderbolts record for most goals scored in a single season. Shayne is a familiar face to the Little Flyers’ organization and IceWorks Skating Complex as he began volunteer coaching with the Little Flyers as a Freshman in college in 2013. This continued throughout his four years with the Knights as Morrissey got more involved with helping to coach the Delco Phantoms as well as rink run camps and clinics. Shayne has been coaching for 11 years, beginning in Canada with Xtreme Hockey where he was a Senior Staff Instructor for 10 years before launching 14/94 Hockey Co. with Klienbach.
“I’ve known Shayne for eight years now,” Charbonneau said. “He began volunteering his time at the rink as a freshman in college, and I’ve watched him grow in his development as a player, coach and skill developer for our youth players and pass his knowledge along to our hockey players of tomorrow. I couldn’t be any happier to have Shayne as a part of the Little Flyers for the foreseeable future.” concluded Charbonneau.
Although the hockey world has changed temporarily in many ways during the pandemic, the Little Flyers U12 Girls are trying to make the most out of a difficult situation. The girls were able to post away wins this past weekend against Team Philadelphia on Saturday and against the Valley Forge Colonials on Sunday –but were also able to supplement those games with a small game tournament at IceWorks amongst themselves.
Abiding by the rules that Delaware County, PA has brought forth, the girls have seen many home game cancellations in the past several weeks. While remaining compliant with the Delaware County health regulations, the coaching staff, led by Matthew DeNucci, have broken the girls up into 4 teams of 4 and are playing a small game tournament during their ice slots that were once reserved for home games. The coaches keep score and standings to keep things as competitive as possible until restrictions are lifted in the new year. Judging from watching the girls play – not only did they compete hard – but they had tons of fun in the process. Small games are a great way to get lots of ice time, puck touches and skill development accomplished in a short amount of time.
The U12 Girls Coaching Staff have invested a ton of time ensuring that the girls are maximizing every opportunity to grow as hockey players through a year unlike any other. Coaches Matt, Kristina, Philippe and Bill are providing an example to the girls that will last a long time after this season is complete!
“Scoops” McGill – PLF U12 Beat writer
Excitement levels were high as the Little Flyers Girls U12 were set to begin the long-awaited opening day for the Delaware Valley Hockey League. Today’s matchup featured a home game versus the Wissahickon Warriors and the girls looked exceptional in their home white uniforms.
The first goal of the game was scored by Wissahickon power play during a fierce goal mouth scramble in front of Casey Mitchell. Casey fought hard but the puck squeezed by for the score. The Little Flyers girls came right back before the first period ended as the dynamic duo of Ali Dembzynski and Ali Shah each grabbed a pair of goals to put the Little Flyers up as we finished up the first period.
The second period opened with a glorious opportunity for the Little Flyers as Wissahickon took a pair of penalties but the team in white could not convert on the 5 on 3 advantage. Wissahickon seemed to get a lift after the strong penalty kill and connected on a nice give and go play deep in the Little Flyers defensive endzone. The momentum continued to turn in the Wissahickon direction as the Warriors took advantage of penalties assessed to Cece DeNucci and Kiera Dumas for their gritty play in their defensive end zone. The Warriors capitalized on the 5 on 3 opportunity taking the advantage of the power play.
The third period opened as the Warriors held on to a 3 to 2 lead then expanded the lead a minute into the period on a strong power move to the net from a Wissahickon forward. With Wissahickon leading 4 to 2 the Little Flyers pushed hard as the game entered its final moments but the Warriors pulled away to a 5 to 2 lead in the third despite some great goaltending from Selene White. Although the outcome was a bit disappointing – the girls can be very proud as they kicked off the regular season with a great effort.