Developing Young Leaders: Q&A with Shannon Donnelly

Stride with us to champion women and girls in sport and recreation! By amplifying the voices of past, present and future game changers in our communities, we can inspire others and make an impact! Learn more about our GAME CHANGERS campaign.

Tell us a little bit about your hockey career.

I grew up playing in Ottawa for the Gloucester Rangers Boys Hockey Association. I eventually switched over to girls’ hockey in grade 11. I played for the Nepean Wildcats team for 2 years. I then committed to Neumann University in Aston, PA where I enjoyed a 4-year NCAA career. 

Why did you choose to continue coaching after your career?

I chose to coach after my career because I wanted to stay involved in the sport and in a competitive environment. Throughout my hockey career, I had the pleasure of playing for female coaches in both minor hockey and university. The relationships I built with my coaches were unparalleled. I had the utmost respect for these women, I looked up to them as role models and I was proud to play for them. My experiences having female coaches ultimately inspired me to get into coaching. I want to be a role model; I want to instill confidence in my players and inspire them to pursue their passions, but most importantly, I want to promote women in sports.

Tell us about the culture you are building with the Ottawa Lady 67s program

I am building a culture of respect and accountability. I want good kids and good families in my program. I want the players to come to the rink excited to get better and be around their fellow teammates and coaches. Ultimately, my goal is to create a culture that will have many of the young players that come through the program return to coach girls’ hockey once they are done playing. I think it is important to develop young leaders in the community, more specifically in women’s hockey. 

What is your goal when coaching young women in sport?

My goal is to get more females involved and interested in coaching. I want the players to see their coaching staff represent the room. Representation is important. I want to be a role model for the female athletes to show them that they can coach when they are done playing. 

What would you say to any young girl who was dreams of playing hockey at the top level?

You can achieve your goals and dreams of playing at the highest level with some hard work and dedication. The girls that make it to the next level are committed every day to getting better. You must have a plan whether it is your off-season workouts, on-ice development plan and the teams you will be trying out for. Most importantly, you must be a good student to be successful in being recruited to play university hockey.

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