Meneakis back behind bench in own backyard
By Matt Mackinder
Marina Meneakis somehow finds time to attend graduate school, work at the Los Alamos National Lab and coach the New Mexico Mustangs’ 19U team.
It’s a life she wouldn’t trade for anything, though, as the Mustangs alum previously coached the Gunnison (Colo.) Blades 14U girls while finishing her undergraduate degree at Western State Colorado University.
“For me, the most enjoyable part of the coaching aspect is not only being able to share the knowledge of the game that I have learned in my experiences, but being able to give to the girls in the same way that coaches gave to me,” Meneakis said. “It sets the stage for a motivational opportunity that you are not only learning from, but enjoying doing as well.
“I did not have that shoulder to lean on, if you will, when I needed advice or assistance, so to be able to provide that support if needed makes me feel I have something to return to what gave me such enjoyment.”
Meneakis started playing hockey in New Mexico at the age of seven when the Genoveva Chavez Community Center opened in 2000. She played with an array of teams in the state – some seasons with multiple programs. Meneakis started as a second-year Mite out of Santa Fe and continued to play co-ed through 2010 and also played with both boys and girls teams in the state and in Arizona, including the Outpost Icebreakers, Santa Fe Mustangs, Los Alamos Rams, Los Alamos High School Hilltoppers (only girl on varsity three straight years), Arizona Selects 19U AAA and the Lady Coyotes.
Now behind the bench in her own backyard, Meneakis is stoked to see the season and future unfold.
“I believe that hockey will keep me plenty involved in both coaching and playing in the future,” she said.