ASHBURNHAM -- Conor Sheary, a former Cushing Academy standout, has won a pair of Stanley Cup titles in his first two National Hockey League seasons.
He was recently rewarded with a nice three-year deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Melrose native honed his craft at Cushing from the 2007--10 before playing at UMass Amherst. Undrafted, he put in work in the American Hockey League before being called up to Pittsburgh during the 2015-16 season.
His efforts have paid off in several ways. There's the pair of Stanley Cups. There's playing alongside All-Stars like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on a regular basis. And now there's nine million more reasons for the 25-year-old forward to be happy that he stuck with is dream.
The $9 million, three-year contract Sheary signed will keep him a Pittsburgh Penguin -- barring a trade -- until the end of the 2019-20 season. Certainly not a bad situation for the former Cushing Penguin.
David Warsofsky -- a defenseman who played at Cushing through the 2006-07 season -- played seven games with Pittsburgh this season on the Cup-winning team alongside Sheary. Small world, eh?
In reality, it shouldn't be too shocking.
The Ashburnham prep school certainly has seen its share of players move on to big things on the ice. Two-time NHL All-Star Keith Yandle played his prep hockey with the Penguins and former Cushing players Zach Bogosian, Jeff Norton and Tom Poti have all had lengthy stays in the NHL.
In addition, Chris Bourque, Bobby Allen, Brad Malone and Richard Bachman are among the former Cushing standouts who have had cups of coffee in the NHL while putting together lengthy pro careers. And countless others have gone on to play major college hockey all across the country.
That's not even touching on the women's hockey program, which has produced Olympic silver medalists Erika Lawler and Meghan Duggan.
Lawler claimed her medal in 2010, while Duggan took silver in 2010 and 2014 and continues to be a key player on the women's national team. The duo has combined to take home nine gold medals at the IIHF World Women's Championships.
Catch a game at Iorio Arena at some point and you might be seeing a future star beginning his or her journey to the NHL or Olympic glory.