The Final Buzzer
When you look at Enfield hockey, you will see a great group of hard working kids who go to war for their teammates day in and day out. Over my last 2 seasons the results haven’t been there, but the progression has. I joined the then Fermi-Enfield Co-op my sophomore year (2014-2015), and started out the year getting top 6 minutes on a competitive team. No one in the state gave us a chance to win anything, and as a player, that lights a fire under you. There is no better feeling than proving people wrong. With the return of an all-state forward, I was dropped down to the 3rd line, but minutes weren’t my concern, as we had people to prove wrong so whatever was best for the team was okay with me. We played in a competitive CCC South conference that season, and along with that, a competitive Division 2. In our conference was the powerhouse E.O. Smith, strong Newington, competitive BCR, and such. Nobody had us making the conference tournament that year. It all started when E.O. Smith came in to Enfield on an 11-game winning streak. We defeated them in overtime, stunning everybody once the results were posted. Not only that, that was our 8th win, solidifying our ticket to states, something nobody thought we could do.
We entered the conference tournament as the number 3 seed, having to go through Newington in the semis to even get a shot at the powerhouse E.O. again in the finals. We went to the finals at Trinity to face the powerhouse E.O. Smith once again. If anyone knows anything about hockey, or sports in general, beating a tough team once is hard, imagine beating them twice. Thanks to our veteran leadership, we took home the title. It is these memories that you hold for the rest of your life. There is no better feeling than winning a title with your brothers that you worked so hard for and with for the past 3 months.
Soon enough, if you aren’t already, you will all be seniors. I remember my senior year vividly. We had a very young team, and I knew success wasn’t going to be imminent, but you still want to compete and try your hardest day in and day out. After all, it is your last season of high school hockey. I want to give advice to all the high school hockey players in the state, but especially my Enfield boys. That sound of the third period buzzer in your last high school hockey game is the worst sound you will ever hear. It is the last time you’ll play with your best friends. It is the last time you’ll play in front of those wild crowds. I remember my last buzzer vividly. I didn’t even get the chance to compete in the state tournament. It was in East Haven, and they were the number one team in Division 2. I wanted to go out and have fun in my last game. It rang and all of a sudden all of the memories rushed into my head, like winning the CCC South my sophomore year. Then I look out in front of me and I realize that I am on the ice with my best friends for the final time. I felt like I let my teammates down as a captain. Don’t be like me. Go out and work as hard as you possibly can to win that title and end on top.
I also had a sluggish year in terms of points. I had 20 points in 10 games in a summer league, while the competition isn’t near that of regular season, I felt I was going to have a good season. I ended up finishing that year with 1 goal and 6 or 7 assists. That isn’t impressive by any stretch of the imagination. Don’t let yourself regret your last season. I am fortunate now to be playing club hockey at Springfield College, but for some of you, this may be your last go-round. I can’t stress it enough, be proud of yourself, and work your absolute hardest. Don’t leave yourself asking the questions that I am asking myself. Could I have worked harder? Could I have been a better captain? What went wrong? It will eat you alive.
Lastly, I have a few words for my Enfield boys. This season, you guys made the move to Division 3. You guys just finished off a very impressive CCC South Championship run and are now going to the semis for the first time since 2009. You guys have the talent to go all the way, and what a way that would be to end it off for the seniors. Don’t leave yourself with the same questions I have. Go through Yale and take Division 3. Good luck to everybody in the state in their last few games, but most of all, have fun doing it. If you don’t have fun in your high school hockey days, you will regret it. Make that final buzzer a good one.