Triple Play

Talented Trio Of Siblings Make Their Mark On International Stage This Summer

The life of an aspiring young hockey player can be tasking, but filled with great rewards. The path to pursuing their dreams can oftentimes take them from their family and friends and take them to parts unknown. 

For the Samoskevich siblings, Melissa, 21, and twins Maddy and Matthew “Mackie” Samoskevich, 15, they’ve grown accustomed to life away from home. Each of them attended Shattuck-St. Mary’s, with the twins currently enrolled in the Fairbault, Minn., based prep program. 

While Minnesota is a long way from the siblings’ roots in Sandy Hook, Conn., their recent successes at USA Hockey summer showcases have shown that the sacrifices have been worth it.

In addition to competing against many of the top American players in their respective age groups at Player Development Camps, all three of the siblings represented USA Hockey in international competition. Three games, three teams, three siblings, one country and one incredibly proud set of parents.

Melissa, 21, taking part in the U22 series vs. Canada.Melissa, 21, taking part in the U22 series vs. Canada.“We were so excited,” their dad, Fred Samoskevich said. “We heard they made the teams, but it didn’t initially sink in. That day was an amazing day, hearing from all our friends and family. One of the best days of our family’s hockey career so to say, had to be the best. It was exciting, we watched all the games.

Having a strong support system in their parents who have always encouraged them to pursue their dreams on the ice and a valuable education off it, has helped boost the siblings to great heights.

Meanwhile, Fred’s creation of a backyard rink played a big role in their growth as players.

“He got us going early, at age 1 or 2,” Mackie said. “After a couple years of playing every day you start to love the game. A big thanks to my dad. We wouldn’t be here without him, and that extends to my mom as well.”

“It’s exciting to see how supportive they are,” Melissa added. “We owe them a lot.”

Melissa, the oldest, has already stepped onto the international stage, playing in the Under-22 Series vs. Canada for the third time. The forward led the 2015 IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship with six goals, propelling the U.S. to a gold medal. The year prior, she won a silver medal with Team USA. 

“It’s always a cool experience and an honor to put on the USA jersey,” Melissa said.

Maddy, 15, participating in the U18 series vs. Canada.Maddy, 15, participating in the U18 series vs. Canada.As for the two younger twins, Maddy represented the U.S. in this year’s Under-18 Series vs. Canada, while Mackie participated in the Under-17 Five Nations Tournament in Piestany, Slovakia. Both tournaments were the twins’ debuts in international competition.

“It was a big honor. I was proud to wear the jersey,” Maddy, the lone defenseman in the group said.

“It was an honor especially when you consider the talent pool,” Mackie added. “It’s definitely special, every time you put on the USA crest it’s special. It was a great experience, I learned a lot and met a lot of people.”

Having a front-row seat to watching her younger siblings grow up and develop has helped their older sister realize how special the journey has been.

“I got tears when Maddy and Mackie made the rosters,” Melissa said. “I watched them work hard and realize that they can make teams and do great things with confidence.”

The U22 and U18 series in Calgary, Alberta provided a unique situation for Melissa and Maddy. The two sisters are close off the ice but their individual paths have created a separation with Melissa serving as the captain of Quinnipiac University while Maddie is plying her trade at Shattuck.

Mackie, 15, got his first taste of international competition with USA Hockey in the recent Five Nations Tournament.Mackie, 15, got his first taste of international competition with USA Hockey in the recent Five Nations Tournament.

Melissa has had a big impact on Maddy. The eldest sibling was a defenseman until sophomore year of high school, which interested Maddy in the position. Maddy, a stay-at-home defenseman who is starting to add more offensive flair to her game, committed to Quinnipiac for 2020, following in her sister’s footsteps.

“She helped me be comfortable and is always there for me,” Maddy said of her older sister. “She’s a role model to me and teaches me every-day skills.”

Some of that has rubbed off on Mackie, who tallied a goal and two assists at the Five Nations Tournament. The skilled forward has committed to the University of Michigan, and is set to enroll in 2020 with aspirations to play professionally. 

“All the kids loved the backyard rink, but Mackie especially,” Patty, their mom, said. “Mackie would skate in the morning before school, and skate once he got home from school if it was cold enough.”

With the Samoskevich family composed of three talented individuals and equipped with a battleground in the backyard, it sets the stage for some quality training sessions and competitions.

“When we’re at home, we all skate together. We all teach each other things. I like to think since I’m the oldest I know everything, but that’s not the case,” Melissa joked.

If this summer is any indication of what’s to come, it will be no surprise to see each of the Samoskevich siblings back on the international stage again in the future.

“It was a great experience for us all,” Maddy said. “We’ve worked hard together. It was a goal for us all to wear the USA jersey.”

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