By Eric Fournier ’18, captain of the boys’ varsity ice hockey team
|Eric Fournier ’18 |
Photo by Glenn Minshall
This season has been the highlight of my hockey career. I’ve never played on a team that has accomplished so much more than was expected. If someone told me at the start of this year that NMH hockey would be in the playoffs, I never would have believed them. Aside from our great coaching and work ethic on the ice, I believe our success originated from how much my teammates and I care about each other and the program.
One of my fondest memories from this year was when Noah Heisler ’19 and I got into an altercation with a Holderness player. I remember the play exactly; the ref blew the whistle late as the Holderness player skated toward our net with the puck. Instead of leaving the puck after the whistle, he stickhandled his way towards Greenie [Eric Green ’18] and shot the puck in the net.
Anyone who plays hockey knows that this act is a sign of disrespect and poor sportsmanship. I wasn’t going to let him disrespect my school and my teammate, so I skated over to him. He knew I was coming, so as I approached him, he cross-checked me in the face. I didn’t want to draw a penalty so I just held onto his stick to protect myself. After a few seconds, I felt him go flying onto the ice. One of my teammates had hit him to the ground. Things quickly got out of hand, and before I knew it I was on my way to the penalty box. As I waited to hear what I had been penalized for, Heisler skated into the box as well. I asked him why he was in the box with me, and he responded, “I don’t know. All I did was hit the guy that was cross-checking you.” We proceeded to share our recollections of what happened and were pretty proud of our teamwork. Although we did receive two-minute penalties and put our team down a man, I still believe that it was the right play to stand up for our teammate, because we have each other’s backs.
Like all teams, we had our ups and downs, but we never turned on each other. I remember during our interview with [NMH Magazine editor] Jennifer Sutton for an article she was writing on NMH hockey, she asked Kyle (Valiquette ’18) and me if our team had gotten sick of each other after spending so much time together this year. Our immediate response was, “No, we have a great group of guys this year and everyone seems to get along really well!” This is what set this year apart from the rest; everybody cared about each other and was willing to do whatever it took for us to succeed as a team.
My hope for all of you is that you are able to be a part of something where everybody cares about each other as much as my team team did. I hope you keep this in mind going forward because sports can create special relationships that last a lifetime. I am proud to call my teammates my brothers.
View a photo gallery of the event.