Georgia McLellan is currently taking elementary education at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, but got her hockey start in Clearwater. (Submitted my Georgia McLellan)

Georgia McLellan is currently taking elementary education at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, but got her hockey start in Clearwater. (Submitted my Georgia McLellan)

Family, hometown reasons for Clearwater athlete’s academic success

Georgia McLellan got her start playing minor hockey in Clearwater.

A high-achieving athlete said she has Clearwater to thank for her academic success and love for the sport of hockey.

Georgia McLellan is one of 77 students from eight New England Hockey Conference institutions to receive all-academic honours, an achievement that requires a 3.0 GPA, or better, average, in addition to athletic commitments.

“It means a lot for me to be placed on that list, as I struggled academically at times when I was younger, but have finally found the motivation and want for academic success,” she told The Times. “It is a very big accomplishment for me.”

McLellan is attending Plymouth State University in New Hampshire on a hockey scholarship and is in her third year in the elementary education program. She chose the program because she had amazing teachers growing up, especially at Raft River Elementary, and “experienced their influences on students,” and enjoyed coaching children on the ice.

So far the program has been similar to her real-life experiences, she added, making her happy about her decision to pursue elementary education.

Her love for hockey came from her family.

“My dad played hockey at a high level and hearing his stories made me want to be just like him,” said McLellan. “Watching my dad play beer league with all of his friends, running around with kids my age and hanging around Roger (Mayer) are all things that made me never want to leave the rink.

“All of those aspects also drove me to play and love hockey.”

The Clearwater community also helped spur that interest, she added, as nearly everywhere you turn, you can run into someone who plays, used to play or just loves hockey. It makes it easier to grow a love of the sport, being in a hockey town.

McLellan, along with many other young hockey players in small towns, played on co-ed teams. The family used to host a female jamboree in Clearwater, specifically for girls in small communities that didn’t have the option to play on an all-female team. They hosted the jamboree for six years, and about 100 to 120 skaters would come to town.

“Girls from all over B.C. would come to Clearwater to play in this tournament, meeting new people, having different coaches and seeing just how big the hockey community is, made me fall in love with the sport even more,” said McLellan.

The family moved to Kamloops when McLellan was 12 years old. When she hit high school, she was offered a scholarship to attend Shawnigan Lake School, a university preparatory and athletic-focused secondary school on Vancouver Island. She attended the school for Grades 11 and 12.

From there, McLellan was offered a few opportunities, and originally chose to attend a different university in Massachusetts, but after she realized it wasn’t a good fit, she transferred to Plymouth State after her first year, where she has had great success.

“You couldn’t wish anymore for your kids,” said Donna McLellan, Georgia’s mother. “Everything came together for her, and she does work hard and she is a great kid and puts a lot into the team…she’s had some really fantastic opportunities in her life and she’s just accepted them and ran with them. It’s been really fun to watch.”

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