Boys Hockey recovers from pandemic and smashes expectations



Following the COVID-19 pandemic and many years of underwhelming performances, the Boys Hockey team has been having a season full of wins, most notably against some rivals that haven’t been beaten in almost a decade by the team.

After last year’s landslide of shakeups, postponements and heartbreak, along with the program’s weak history, the boys varsity hockey (BVH) team has found their foothold. The team has taken the division by storm early on this season, racing out to a 6-3 record.

Senior and captain Jacob Gurdin said the team has a lot to be proud of. He said, in the past, walking away from division rivalries with smiles hasn’t always been the norm for BVH. He said this year the team is doing much better than they have before.

“During my freshman year, we made the playoffs for the first time in over 20 years. This year, we’ve beaten teams from the Bay State Conference that we haven’t beaten in 30 years,” Gurdin said.

Sophomore Noah Gurdin said that he has noticed the change as well. During his years in elementary school, Gurdin said the results on the ice were far from inspiring, and everyone in the community knew something had to change.

“The results weren’t there. The reputation wasn’t there. A couple bad seasons definitely left their mark,” Noah Gurdin said.

Junior and center Stephan MacDougall said it is this turnaround as a program that makes every win more special.

“Now we’re out to prove we deserve the expectations our opponents have for us, that we’re good enough to make a good run come playoffs,” MacDougall said.

MacDougall said that the team is as much a place for personal growth as it is for on-ice achievements.

“I’ve been playing for 12 years, so it’s been my passion for most of my life, but this team has really made that passion come true with how much success we’ve had and how much fun it’s been,” MacDougall said.

The locker room has a number of fresh faces according to Jacob Gurdin. Along with a larger than usual group of freshmen, Gurdin said the leadership group has to account for the effects of last year’s stilted calendar.

“Our sophomores haven’t had a real hockey season, so we have the fun challenge of introducing them, along with the freshmen, to how we play,” Jacob Gurdin said.

Gurdin said creating a smooth transition is a team effort that requires everybody to be pulling their weight.

“The captains as well as the older guys that have been around for a couple years are doing a great job at helping our younger guys adjust. It also doesn’t hurt that they are all really talented players on the ice,” Jacob Gurdin said.

MacDougall said that he’s impressed at how readily the first and second year players are willing to adapt to the circumstances they face.

Noah Gurdin said that suddenly having to play against players four years his senior during his freshman year was jarring, especially considering the physical nature of hockey.

“It’s definitely a lot harder, a lot faster. More hitting, depth and more pressure. But once you get used to the speed of the game, it’s great,” Noah Gurdin said.

MacDougall said these challenges are part of the beauty of playing hockey. He said that this year the team is helping the boys grow both as players and people.

“You face so much adversity in hockey. You get through one battle and instantly have to focus on the next to be successful, and we’ve learned that as a team and each of us individually,” MacDougall said. “It’s a mentality that translates to the ice, school and to life in general.”