‘I play big in big games’: Get to know Morgan Stickney

May 11, 2023 perhaps didn’t go the way Morgan Stickney anticipated, but she doesn’t mind.

The star goaltender of Shattuck St. Mary’s 16U women’s team was keeping tabs on many of her male counterparts at Shattuck St. Mary’s who saw their names pop up on the WHL Draft tracker throughout the day. And while she cheered for each of her friends that got selected, her moment soon arrived.

The Redondo Beach, Calif. native became the first American-born female player to be drafted in the WHL when the Winterhawks selected her in the 10th round, #215 overall, of the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft.

“Mike (Johnston) had called me before and he came out to Shattuck St. Mary’s and watched a couple of our practices and a few of our games. I knew it was a possibility, but I wasn’t really expecting anything,” said Stickney. “I was just in my dorm room, refreshing the draft page and scrolling to see my buddies being drafted which was pretty cool…(when I got drafted, my teammates) all ran into my room congratulating me, hugging me. It was sweet.”

Stickney dominated the 2022-23 season with Shattuck, holding a 23-4-3 record across 33 games with a sterling .928 save percentage and 1.52 goals-against average. The 5-foot-8, 135-pound netminder finished as a runner-up at the 2023 USA Hockey Nationals, earning a .950 save percentage and allowing one goal per contest.

“Morgan has clearly excelled at every level of hockey she’s ever played at, from LA Jr. Kings to elite spring hockey tournaments and now to Shattuck St. Mary’s, she has always been among the best in her age group. It’s an honor to include her in our draft class and we look forward to watching Morgan showcase her abilities at Neely Cup Training Camp,” said Winterhawks Assistant to the General Manager and Director of Scouting Mike Coflin.

Morgan Stickney skates for Shattuck St. Mary's. (Photo: Morgan Stickney)
Morgan Stickney skates for Shattuck St. Mary’s. (Photo: Morgan Stickney)

The Winterhawks’ annual Neely Cup Training Camp, set for later this summer in Portland, will mark Stickney’s first chance to compete against WHL talent. It may be unfamiliar territory, but Stickney relishes the challenge ahead.

“I’ve never been to a training camp like that before, but I saw some videos and photos about it and it looks like a terrific experience. I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “I’m gonna work hard all summer and skate with the older Shattuck boys to prepare.”

It’s a new experience, but that doesn’t mean Stickney is arriving in the Rose City without an idea of what she’s stepping into. The California native’s ties to the Winterhawks actually date back over a decade, when she became a fan while attending games with her family.

“I’ve been a fan since I was younger. I actually have a photo of me cheering them on in a Portland Winterhawks cheerleading outfit when I was like four years old,” she said.

Photo courtesy of Morgan Stickney
Morgan and her brother Parker at a Winterhawks game. (Photo courtesy of Morgan Stickney)

Talk about a full-circle moment!

On the ice, Stickney prides herself on being able to deliver in games when it matters most. From her time with the LA Jr. Kings, to Shattuck’s storied hockey program, to WHL prospect – she has earned her opportunities through a strong work ethic in practice and consistent results each time she hits the ice.

“I play big in big games. I always work hard in practice so I can perform in games,” she said. “The pressure just makes me feel like I have to play good. The pressure is what puts me through practice and when you’re in a big game, you’re going to wish you practiced so it’s easier in the big (games).”

Stickney’s hockey journey began at the age of five when older brother Parker needed a goalie for his own practice time. And while his attention has shifted to competing in cross-country, Morgan’s love for hockey and talent only blossomed from there.

“Oh I am so grateful (I played goalie for him) because I don’t think that I ever would have played hockey if it weren’t for that, especially in California. The game is growing, but ten years ago it was not nearly as big as it is today,” she said.

The Stickney siblings continue to support one another, no matter what sport they compete in.

“My brother, he’s super excited, and my sister,” said Stickney. “When it happened, I called my brother because he’s my biggest supporter and he was so excited for me.”

Since her selection in yesterday’s draft, Stickney has heard from old friends, current teammates and everyone in between. She’s seen her name in articles on Sportsnet and The Hockey News. Winterhawks defenseman Ryder Thompson reached out on Thursday and women’s hockey legend Manon Rhéaume – the first woman to play an exhibition game in any North American pro sports league when she suited up for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992 – even offered to meet up with Stickney when the two are in LA this summer.

But through all the attention and well-earned congratulations, she’s keeping an even keel.

“It hasn’t really set in yet. It’s just kind of been crazy. I’ve been trying to keep it chill and see what comes next,” she said.

Stickney has her sights set on long-term goals like earning Olympic success with the U.S. National Team. It’s a long, arduous path to the top of that mountain, and time will tell if that path leads through the WHL.

But in her Shattuck dorm room hangs a flag with a message that helps her keep everything in perspective through the ups and downs of her budding hockey career.

“No One Cares, Work Harder.”

Words to live by for a player who continues to do just that.

The Winterhawks trust Riverside Payments for all of their credit card processing as the team’s official credit card processors.

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