Freshman Friday: Shayna Grais


By Diana Panoutsos

From blocking the puck on the ice to becoming one of the best female goalies in the state of Illinois, Shayna Grais has a big future ahead of her.

Grais has been playing hockey since the young age of seven years old, and instantly fell in love with the sport and knew that it was for her.

“I actually started out with figure skating, not hockey, and at first I couldn’t stand up very well, but the moment I stepped on the ice, I loved it,” Grais said.

This past July, Grais was the only goalie selected from Illinois to attend the USA Hockey Central District Development camp in St. Cloud, MN. Grais has big plans involving her future as a goalie.

“This year I plan to get a good GPA, because the scouts are already watching. My future plans are to go to a D1 college and play hockey there,” Grais said.

If that isn’t impressive enough, in April, Grais and her U14 team won the state competition, then played for a national championship in Vermont, in which they placed second. You may think that playing at this high level would affect her schoolwork, but Grais has created a strategy to balance both.

“This year I added an extra study hall to my schedule to balance my sport and school. Also, because I did so many camps this summer, I couldn’t do summer school, so I needed that extra study hall. It’s been working for me and my schedule so far,” Grais said.

Proud father and Niles West counselor Dr. Ben Grais had only positive things to say about Shayna and her abilities as a goalie.

“It’s fun to see how hard Shayna works and how it pays off,” Dr. Grais said. “Shayna is a very coachable athlete because she really tries to do all that she can to be better, and her coaches recognize that.”

Grais has qualities that have made her a better goalie, teammate and friend, and they don’t go unnoticed by her teammates and coaches. Friends and family are proud of Grais’s accomplishments, including fellow hockey player and friend Mary Clark.

“On the ice, she lives in the present. If a goal is scored on her, she remembers it, but then shakes it off as the next play begins. By doing that, she is always at her best whenever she is out on the ice. Shayna’s positivity plays a huge role in keeping the team going,” Clark said.