MASSENA -- A long-time resident of Massena has four nearby grandchildren competing in national hockey championships this year.
Youth hockey in the North Country has a strong tradition of excellence, and that tradition is even more evident this year with several teams winning NYS Tier II championships and now moving on to compete for national titles this spring.
And Pauline Mailhot has people speculating about hockey genetics and what she and her family have done right to be sending four of their young ones to California and Virginia for a crack at nationwide bragging rights
Mailhot knows her hockey. Originally from St. Gertrude, Quebec, and a lifelong Montreal Canadians fan, she has seen her share of youth hockey over the years, as over half of her 19 grandchildren have played competitive ice hockey.
Four of those grandkids are keeping their skates sharp well after most North Country skaters have hung them up for the season.
Granddaughters Madeleine Mailhot and Molly O’Connell of Massena will anchor the St. Lawrence Thunder 12U Peewee Girls in the Tier II National Championships in Anaheim, Calif. March 30 to April 3.
Cullen Baines of Massena will be with the St. Lawrence Thunder 16U Midget Boys Tier II team in Reston, Va. for the March 30 to April 3 national championships with 35 other top teams in the nation.
And Monique Cornett of Potsdam will captain the Potsdam Ice Storm 19U Girls Tier II team at that division's championship, also in Anaheim.
Good genes or not, Pauline Mailhot and her children, the parents of her grandchildren, have a right to national championship pride.