The Bourne-Mashpee-Wareham/Old Rochester girls’ hockey team will have a different look this winter. It’ll have a different name, different mascot and different colors, come December.
Perhaps most notably, however, they’ll have a new head coach for the first time since the program was established. And, maybe, they’ll have a new home this coming school year.
According to Old Rochester Regional Principal Mike Devoll, who sits on the MIAA District D committee, the regional South Coast school will take the lead as the host, assuming the role previously held by Bourne High School. That means the team will no longer dress in the Bourne colors of purple and white, and they will no longer be the Canalmen.
Instead, they will don the red and black of ORR and adopt the Bulldogs’ moniker.
Devoll told the Enterprise that the MIAA would no longer allow Bourne to be the host school as long as it had lower numbers on the roster than ORR. Last season 13 of the 19 girls on the team hailed from the tri-town area, compared to just five from Bourne, one from Mashpee and none from Wareham. The year prior, ORR had 12 student-athletes on the roster compared to Bourne’s nine, Mashpee’s one and zero from Wareham.
“They way things work with the MIAA, we could no longer be in a co-op because we had higher numbers than the other schools,” Devoll said. “Co-ops must be renewed every two years. We were waiting for the cycle to end this past season.”
He went on to add that the existing players from last year’s team will be grandfathered onto this year’s roster, provided Bourne would opt in to the co-op again this season.
“I’m not interested in not continuing the relationship,” Devoll said. “It’s a very logical co-op. We’re not interested in displacing people. We’re interested in creating more, not less.”
Bourne High athletic director Scott Ashworth told the Enterprise that the school will likely still be a part of the co-op this winter, citing time and logistical issues as potential speed bumps.
“If we can grow our numbers and be self-sufficient that would be outstanding, [but] to do that or find a different co-op would be difficult to bring all together,” Ashworth said. “The co-op is going to stay as-is for now.”
Mashpee and Wareham High School have more difficult decisions to make. With only having one player—combined, not each—on the roster over the last two years, participation from the two schools have dipped in recent years. But Falcons athletic director Matt Triveri wants his student-athletes to have the choice of the playing hockey available to them.
“Even if we have one or two kids who want to play, we want to them to be able to play,” he said. “Our school system has done a great job of providing for student-athletes and we hope to keep it the same way. If girls grow up in Mashpee playing hockey, we’d like to keep them in Mashpee and finish their playing days out with a uniform with Mashpee somewhere on it.”
Location of the team’s home games is also still up in the air. Last season, the BMW/ORR team called Gallo Ice Arena in Bourne home, but practiced at Tabor Academy’s Roy Rink in Marion every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 to 10:30 PM, Ashworth said. They also occasionally utilized the half sheet at Falmouth Ice Arena for practice times.
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The ORR boys’ team, which is also a cooperative program with Fairhaven High School, has played its home games and practices at Tabor. Devoll acknowledged the challenges of working out ice times for two co-op hockey programs rather than one.
“We’re excited to sit down and figure out ice times,” Devoll said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to skate at Tabor for the boys’ team. But now that we have to skate with two teams, we have to find our best options for ice times.”
While Triveri noted that hockey parents are not adverse to traveling long distances, the total time is an hour back and forth from Mashpee High to Tabor. The Falcons boys’ hockey team, which is also a co-op with Monomoy Regional High School, practices and plays at the Hyannis Youth & Community Center, also a combined hour commute, but don’t have to deal with bridge traffic.
“If they are going to move to Tabor, it makes a little more difficult for us,” Triveri said. “We just want to give our kids the opportunity to play; that’s the biggest thing. If it’s in Tabor, it’s in Tabor.”
Ashworth didn’t bat an eye at the idea of having to travel out of town to practice and play, simply saying, “our girls are willing to travel to Tabor like we have [for practice] in past seasons.”
One thing that will not change, according to Ashworth and newly appointed head coach Ted Drew, is the annual Canal Cup, which is played at Gallo. Though the girls’ game is only five years old, it’s been a staple of both the BMW/ORR and Sandwich High School regular season—played the Saturday before the Super Bowl to build up expectation and excitement.
“The schedule has been done for a while,” Ashworth said. “So I would have to think [the game will still be played]. But I haven’t delved too deeply into it yet.”
Replaces Alexander As Head Coach
Ted Drew grew up a Bulldog. He played hockey for the Bulldogs. He met his wife in the hallways of Old Rochester. His kids graduated from there as well. Now he will help usher in an Bulldog-led co-op in 2019-20.
“It means a lot to me,” Drew said. “I tried to get a girls’ hockey program started at Old Rochester years ago. There just wasn’t quite enough interest back then.”
The Mattapoisett resident is not only familiar with the ORR school building, but the better part of the co-op program’s players. As a coach for the SouthCoast Panthers U12, U14 and U16 youth boys’ and girls’ teams, he knows the players in the program coming from the Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester area. That includes rising junior Carly Drew, who is Drew’s niece. The forward totaled 18 points last year for the BMW/ORR team as a sophomore.
Additionally, Drew assisted his brother, Tim, with the Plymouth North boys’ varsity hockey team for the last six years.
“I want the girls to have fun,” Drew said. “They’ve come off two very strong years. I want to bring in a forechecking system and some defensive zone systems—just some little things. I think we’ll be in the tournament again. I have confidence in that. We also have our all-star goalie [rising senior Meg Nolan] back. That always helps. But I want them to look back on this time as having fun.”
It was Drew’s experience with the tri-town youth programs and ties to Old Rochester that made him a good choice to head up what is essentially a new program.
“He’s a known commodity in the tri-town area,” Devoll said. “He’s been coaching hockey for a long time and he’s heavily invested at all levels and abilities around here.”
Devoll added that four individuals applied for the job and three were interviewed, including Drew and longtime head coach Kristyn Alexander, who helped start the original BMW program 10 years ago during the 2008-09 season. Old Rochester joined the co-op in 2016.
“We were interviewing coaches for a new team. She was a new candidate and we interviewed her,” Devoll said. “She was a strong candidate.”
Ashworth understood the move, but is disappointed seeing Alexander no longer at the helm.
“It’s an unfortunate situation,” he said. “Coach Alexander took the program from a junior varsity schedule and built it into a state tournament team that won playoff games. That’s pretty impressive. She should be very proud of those accomplishments.”
In her seven years coaching the team at the varsity level, Alexander has a record of 51-57-1, but made the Division 1 South Sectional playoffs in each of the last two seasons.
Alexander did not respond to the Enterprise’s interview request ahead of print time, due to being on vacation in Ireland.
Drew will be joined by Marion native Braly Hiller as an assistant coach. Hiller was a team captain and goalie for Tabor Academy. She went on to play for Boston University from 2010 to 2014 and graduated with a degree in History.
“She’s very knowledgeable about the game from goaltending position and all the way out,” Drew said. “She knows the defensive and offensive game very well.”