The opportunity a team has to win a national championship can come once in a lifetime. Going for two championships, let alone back-to-back titles, would be a dream come true, and for Shattuck-St. Mary’s, the players are looking to fulfill their dreams at the 2022 Chipotle-USA Hockey Youth Tier I 15O National Championship.
Shattuck’s 14U team took the crown at last year’s USA Hockey’s National Championship and have the opportunity to repeat with most of that team returning on the 15O team. To win this year’s title would be spectacular for the organization all around, but it would be one to remember for forward Jack Galanek.
Galanek started playing hockey at the young age of three when his dad would set up the backyard rink and flood the ice to skate on. Ever since that moment, he fell in love with the game and knew hockey was his sport.
His love for the game grew as he continued to improve where he eventually had a spot with the storied Shattuck-St. Mary’s organization. The pride of the program is built off successful, competitive hockey that has churned out many future NHL Hall of Famers from Sidney Crosby to Zach Parise.
“It’s a great program to be a part of,” Galanek said. “There’re tons of opportunities on the ice and they treat you really well there. It’s just an awesome place to be.”
Last year, at the Youth Tier I 14U National Championship in Texas, when Shattuck won it all, one thing was missing on the ice during the game, and that was Galanek. Early in the tournament, Galanek was injured and went down with a broken clavicle which forced him to sit out the remainder of the tournament including the final.
The Shattuck-St. Mary's team photo after winning the 2021 Youth Tier I 14U National Championship.
“I was upset, obviously,” Galanek said. “You never want anything like that to happen to you, especially in that circumstance, but I believed in the team and knew they would be able to get it done so I was still so happy for us. We were such a great group last year and have a great group now and hopefully we can do it again this year.”
Although dealing with a recovering clavicle, it didn’t stop Galanek from improving the game which has been apparent on the ice. From under a point-per-game last year to over a point-per-game this year, Galanek is second on the team with seven points (1G, 6A) and leads the tournament in assists through round-robin play.
“Coach Ruegsegger had a lot of trust in me,” Galanek said. “He saw my potential and had a lot of confidence in me going into this year, and I think that helped spring me up.”
Ruegsegger described Galanek as a first-class person and student athlete who has become a big leader this year for the team and the program. Galanek shared that he leads by example and if he sees anything that he’ll step up and change it and be more of a team.
Now in the quarterfinals, Galanek looks to continue to contribute on the ice and remains hopeful his team can leave Plymouth, Mich., with another title.
But this time, helping his team on the ice.
“I think we have a great chance again this year,” Galanek said. “We’ve really come together as a team thee past few months and our energy and chemistry has been really good. I think we have a good chance if we play well."