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Haley Skarupa is no stranger to high marks. This season, the forward had 107 goals through 38 games with the Washington Pride Junior Women's Hockey team. She led silver medalist Team USA with 11 goals in five games at the Under-18 World Championships in the Czech Republic in January. And at Wootton (Rockville, Md.) High, where she is a senior, she has earned nothing but As.
Next season, she will be taking all of her excellent accolades to Boston College. "Haley is a great hockey player and a great student," said three-time Olympian Katie King Crowley, now the Eagles head women's hockey coach. "With how much she has to travel and how much school she misses for hockey, it's unbelievable to me how well she's able to balance everything and maintain such a great GPA."
January's U-18 World Championships was the third straight Skarupa had played with Team USA. She missed two weeks of school for each and misses additional time to attend Team USA development camps. With the Pride, Skarupa travels every weekend throughout the winter, typically getting an early dismissal on Thursday to catch a flight to places as far away as Calgary and North Dakota. "I have fun with hockey but academics are definitely my top priority," said Skarupa, who takes full advantage of team-mandated 90-minute study halls each day they're on the road. "I write essays on planes, keep up with class notes online and meet with teachers before school, after school and during lunch when I get home to catch up."
Skarupa is as diligent and eager to learn on the ice as she is in the classroom. A beautiful skater blessed with natural speed, quick hands and a nose for the net, Skarupa has never had a problem creating offense and has been relied on to do so on each of her teams. But at Boston College, she won't have to do it all herself. "Haley will have help here, so she'll be able to take a bit of a deep breath," said Crowley. "She's going to learn to play more without the puck and her game is going to grow. She's going to get better and she's going to have a blast."
Partly because she'll actually have time to enjoy the experience. Skarupa's travel schedule will slow down dramatically next season, with games reduced from 80-plus to between 40 and 50, half of which will be played at home at Boston College's Kelley Rink. "People say college will be easier compared to all I've been through already," said Skarupa, who will use every extra minute to focus on her goals. "I want to make the national team and find a career path in the business school."
Perfectly balanced, as usual, between success on the ice and off.