Ask anyone in the Austin Prep athletics department about the decision to compete in the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council this fall, and the word challenge keeps popping up.
There’s no denying that making the leap to the prep level is a massive adjustment. Yet Cougars girls coach Stephanie Wood said her team is excited for the opportunity to battle with some of the top programs in the region.
“Not only have we been able to be a recurring top team in the state for several years now, I’m excited for the challenge to now do the same thing across New England,” Wood said on New England Hockey Journal’s ‘RinkWise’ podcast in April. “In this area we’re so fortunate, the hockey’s just so good, there’s so many great programs, so many great players that come out of that. It’s something that we’re definitely really looking forward to.”
In January, Austin Prep announced its plans to join NEPSAC starting in the 2022-23 school year. The independent coed Catholic school located in Reading, Mass., will compete as an independent school for the first year before joining a league. Austin Prep does not plan to develop an academy-model program for hockey.