Last December, a former Framingham high school hockey teammate texted me asking if I wanted to attend our old squad’s home-opening game. Since it was my first year after graduating from college and I was living in the area, I jumped at the chance. The last time I attended a home opener, I was on the ice.
Framingham was playing Pope Francis at Loring Arena. The place was packed with family, students and faculty, along with a healthy dose of washed-up former players (myself very much included).
The game was incredible. The atmosphere was even better. What really stuck out, however, were the feelings that rushed over me throughout the game.
I’m 23 and I can honestly say I’ve been really lucky. I’ve covered three NHL postseasons, including a Stanley Cup Final in 2019 for both CLNS Media and WEEI.com. I chronicled UMass hockey’s national championship run in 2021 for the Massachusetts Daily Collegian and got to cover the men’s Frozen Four this spring for NCAA.com. If you grabbed 12-year-old Evan by the shoulders and told him that he would’ve done even one of those things by age 23, he would’ve been floored.
But the feelings I got at that Framingham game, the ones that came rushing back like a train blazing through North Station, were unlike anything I’d experienced as a spectator at a hockey game before. The nostalgia, the history, the purity of the whole thing — it left a lasting impression.
Fast forward nine months later and the opportunity arose to become the next editor of New England Hockey Journal, and similar feelings hit me, except the scope was much larger.
For me, it’s Framingham and Loring Arena. But thousands of others have their own core memories made at hockey rinks all around the region. The 17-year-old girl spending hours and hours playing with her friends, working on her edgework and honing her shot at Kimball Union for a chance to play college hockey. There’s the 39-year-old watching his son learn to skate at the same rink where he lived out his hockey dreams.
I could go on with examples, but we all have a special bond with hockey in this region because it has its own magic, and that’s why I took this job — I aim to deliver in giving New England the hockey coverage that it so richly deserves.
Fortunately, New England Hockey Journal has an exceptional staff of writers and photographers who are well-versed in this crazy hockey landscape. Whether it be the historic prep schools, the fast-growing academies, prospects gunning for a scholarship, the players who made the jump to college hockey or just the kids trying to make one last run at a high school state championship with their buddies, we will be there to tell those stories, deliver that analysis and open that connection with the game you love most.
I also can’t wait to offer more insight from those who made it to college hockey and the NHL on how they did it and how your sons and daughters can carve out their own paths.
So, whatever happened with that Framingham-Pope Francis game?
Well, I can say with pride that Framingham got the upset victory, taking down the Cardinals, 3-2, in overtime. But as great of a win as that was for them, I’d argue the biggest winner of that night was me because after so long, I rediscovered that feeling that level of hockey provides me.
I can’t wait to bring that feeling to you through our coverage. See you around the rinks.
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