This week will hail the historic opening of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. The 23rd Olympic Winter Games will run from Feb. 9 through Feb. 25 and Americans will be glued to their television sets watching the United States athletes go for the gold. And while Americans are poised to watch the pageantry of opening night, St. Mary’s alumni Matt Gilroy, Class of 2003, will represent the U.S. on the men’s hockey team.
“The Olympics is a reason for Americans to celebrate [the] spirited competition of athletes from around the globe [as they] gather to represent their countries. St. Mary’s High School gets to take the celebration to a whole other level with bragging rights,” said St. Mary’s director of communications Eileen Symmons. “Matt Gilroy will lace up his skates for Team USA, proudly representing this great nation.”
St. Mary’s stands proudly in support of Gilroy. This former St. Mary’s hockey team 2003 MVP and winner of the 2009 Hobey Baker Award will be entering the rink for what the former NHL star calls “the opportunity of a lifetime” by representing the country in the Olympics. People all across New York, and especially here on Long Island, have much to celebrate with Gilroy’s dream come true.
After graduating from St. Mary’s High School, Gilroy attended Boston University and played NCAA hockey for the club, winning the NCAA championship with the Terriers in his senior year. The athlete is also a three-time All-American.
In 2009, Gilroy played in the National Hockey League and signed with the New York Rangers. He went on to play with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Ottawa Senators and the Florida Panthers. Gilroy formerly played for HC Spartak Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia.
Gilroy wears the number 97 on his jersey to honor his brother Timothy, who died at age 8 in a bicycle accident. Both were fans of the great Wayne Gretzky and wanted to wear the number 99, but compromised and Timothy got 97, while Matt took 98, but changed it when his brother passed.
St. Mary’s High School will proudly host an event at the school for current hockey team members, students, faculty and administration to cheer on no. 97 and the U.S. hockey team during the first game, scheduled for Feb. 14.
It is guaranteed that the St. Mary’s spirit will be felt across campus as community excitement is already building in anticipation of the game that will not only be part of the country’s history, but will carry forward in St. Mary’s storied athletic program for years to come.
In 2011, Gilroy came back to St. Mary’s to visit his roots with his alma mater. He met with students, former teachers, and his mentor, Br. Kenneth Robert, FMS, who served as athletic director during Gilroy’s high school career. Brother Kenneth was able to furnish several pieces of hockey history, including photos to Gilroy that day. Gilroy’s no. 97 jersey from Boston University hangs proudly in the Brother Kenneth Gymnasium in Marist Hall.