Stang’s Brightman is the 2021-22 Women’s Hockey Player of the Year
Mikayla Brightman doesn’t have time to think about how busy she is.
School and sports take up most of her time and she wouldn’t want it any other way.
“I live, love and breathe sport,” said Brightman, a junior who plays ice hockey and softball at Bishop Stang High School in Dartmouth. “I grew up in a very busy house full of athletes. Someone was always going to a practice or a game.”
The sport is a year-round activity for Brightman, who started skating at age four and played his first hockey game at age six. She earned her hockey stripes playing for the Southcoast Panthers and grew up playing softball for the Rhode Island Thunder, Mass. Drifters and SouthCoast Scream. Now his summers are filled with tournaments and travel team camps. This is followed by an intense training program in the fall.
“I love competing and challenging myself,” Brightman, the 2021-22 Standard-Times Women’s Hockey Player of the Year, told Reuters. “I love being around my coaches and my teammates. It’s fun to be part of a team and build chemistry with your teammates.”
Last season, Brightman powered a dynamic and successful front line for the Spartans as a center with junior right wing Lexi Yost and freshman left wing Kacey Curran. The trio combined to score 56 goals and help lead the team to an 11-8-2 record and a berth in Div. 1 state tournament,
“We complemented each other really well,” said Brightman, who played shortstop, third baseman and catcher for the softball team. “We worked together to move the puck and create scoring opportunities for each other. Our speed was key. We were able to get the puck out and attack the net.
Having Brightman on the ice proved to be a blessing for Bishop Stang head coach Bill Theodore. The Spartans fired veteran senior goaltender Sophia Babineau, the Standard-Times Player of the Year last season, but had to rework their defense with three sophomores and a junior.
“We needed our attack to step up straight away and Mikayla set the tone with her assists and points,” Theodore said. “We were able to get the puck in the net and give our young defense time to mesh.”
Brightman grew in the role of team leader as the season progressed and she shined with a terrific work ethic and skill set.
“Mikayla is a complete player. She skates, passes and scores,” Theodore said. “She has a nose for the net and is an excellent finisher. She is also a team player who is ready to do whatever it takes to help the team succeed.”
The Spartans’ hockey season ended with a tough 4-3 loss to Billerica in the first round of the state tournament, but Brightman said the Spartans have shown a lot of improvement and have a lot to look forward to next season. .
“We’ve made great progress as a team over the past two seasons. Playing in the Catholic Central League has helped a lot. The competition we face brings out the best in everyone,” Brightman said. “I’m super excited for next season. We had a young team this season and we have a lot of good players coming back.”
Brightman has never been afraid of hard work and she plans to work really hard this offseason and encourage her teammates to do the same.
“I love playing hockey because it’s hard work. You have to work hard to get the puck in the net and when that happens it’s very rewarding,” Brightman said. “You have to work hard to get the end result you’re looking for. We’ve just had a season to remember and we want to keep pushing forward. If you want good things to happen, you have to be willing to put in the time and effort to make it a reality.”
ALL ABOUT MIKAYLA BRIGHTMAN
WHY SHE WAS SELECTED: Was the Spartans’ go-to player on offense and scored plenty of big goals on his way to earning All-Star honors in the competitive Catholic Central League. She has all the tools, always works hard and leads by example. Can skate with the best players and knows how to put the puck in the net. Likes to make a good pass as much as to score a goal. There is one season left and the sky is the limit of what she can accomplish.
KEY STATS: Led the SouthCoast in scoring with 28 goals and 16 assists for 44 points.
MVP MOMENT: Scored two goals and assisted on another in the Spartans’ 4-3 loss to Billerica in the first round of Div. 1 state tournament. His second goal tied the game at 3-3 with 11:22 remaining in the third period.
FORMER ROCHESTER COACH TED DREW: “Mikayla stood out on the ice. She’s a good one-on-one player who knows how to play the game.”
REMARKS: Is a die-hard Boston Bruins fan and Bobby Orr is her favorite player. … Coming from a very athletic family. His father, Mike, played hockey at New Bedford High School and his mother, Tracy, did track and field and cross country at Fairhaven High School. She has three older sisters who were also athletic – Justine (cheerleader at New Bedford High), Emily (basketball and volleyball at Old Colony Regional in Rochester) and Hailey (basketball, softball, football at Bristol Aggie to Dighton). …His father and sisters love car racing at Seekonk Speedway. … His father is related to Scott Allen of New Bedford, who retired from minor league hockey in 1996 to become a coach. Allen has worked as an assistant coach for three National Hockey League teams (New York Islanders, Arizona Coyotes, Florida Panthers) and is now the head coach of the Hershey (Pennsylvania) Bears of the American Hockey League. … The only junior, Brightman is already considering sports medicine as a college major.