Bolton/Coventry/Lyman Memorial adds Rockville to hockey cooperative

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Region - posted Fri., Dec. 28, 2012
Team co-captain J.R. Piretti warms up before a Dec. 14 season-opener against Housatonic/Northwestern/Wamogo. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Team co-captain J.R. Piretti warms up before a Dec. 14 season-opener against Housatonic/Northwestern/Wamogo. Photos by Melanie Savage.

This year, the Bolton/Coventry/Lyman Memorial hockey cooperative has added Rockville to the mix. “We have been a co-op since 2008 when we merged with Manchester,” said head coach Christian Stevenson. “Our overall roster numbers were very low at the end of last season and our co-op agreement was up, as was BCL's. It was a natural move to try and resurrect hockey in the area by combining both teams that play at the Bolton Ice Palace.”

Bringing together athletes from competing cooperatives provided a challenge.  "It has been a challenge in many ways," said Stevenson. “We were rivals in the pure sense of the word. You need to picture the Red Sox and Yankees suddenly merging." But the early season has helped to forge cohesiveness among the players. "What helped was the players were on the same fall league team and became familiar with each other. There is no more ‘them’ or ‘those guys’.. .it is all ‘we’ and ‘us,’” said Stevenson.

Stevenson sees the main strength of the team as its depth, with multiple skill levels providing challenges for players to improve and grow as athletes. “It will keep the players working hard, as they each know there is another player fighting for their spot,” said Stevenson.

At a season-opener game on Dec. 14 against Housatonic/Northwestern/Wamogo, the team came on strong, taking an early lead, which they maintained throughout to a 6-1 victory. Stevenson said the Housatonic game was “certainly not indicative of the competition we will face going forward.” After the first game of the season for both teams, “it is far too early to make a prediction” regarding the outcome for the season, said Stevenson. The team racked up a second victory against the Tri-Town team on Dec. 20 with a final score of 1-0.

Players who are likely to play key roles in the 2012-13 season include Cameron Earle, a senior goalie from Bolton. J.R. Piretti, a forward senior captain from Rockville, scored goals during the season-opener and is likely to continue contributing for the team. Coventry junior Hunter Byram, another captain, will play a significant role for BCLR’s defense. Matt Zawislinski, a senior from Bolton and another team captain, is another strong defensive player. Liam McGrath, a junior forward from Bolton, is the fourth captain for this year’s team.

In addition to Earle, Zawislinski and Piretti, the seniors for this year’s Bolton/Coventry/Lyman Memorial/Rockville hockey team are Cam Armstrong, Mike Leardi and Brad Gale.

Stevenson is assisted in coaching by Bill Kerr, Jim Motyka and Gabe Kendall.

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