The Wilmington High School boys hockey team gained plenty of fans along the way as they earned the first state championship in school history this winter. Count the Wilmington School Committee among them.
Nearly the entire team was in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting as the Wildcats were recognized for their efforts this season. (For complete coverage of the meeting, check back with Wilmington Patch at 5 p.m.)
“If I ever saw a group that truly exemplified what is good in Wilmington, it was the boys hockey team,” said Superintenent of Schools Joanne Benton. “What impresserd me about that team is just that; you worked as a team and there was no worry about individual accomplishment. In my heart, I believe that’s why you won the championship.”
During the meeting, head coach Steve Scanlon spoke about the team’s run, and thanked the community for its unwavering support throughout the season.
“These guys were a special group,” said Scanlon. “It was a great thing in the community, and we knew that everyone was pulling for us.”
Benton joked that she’s noticed a change in the Wilmington coach’s demeanor since the team hoisted the trophy on the TD Garden ice.
“Steve is not someone who shows a lot of emotion, but he’s been walking around with a smile for two weeks,” said Benton. “He holds this close to his heart, and it’s clear that this win meant a lot to him.”
Scanlon introduced each player one at a time, and the students, who donned their road blue jerseys for the occasion, walked through a line of School Committee members.
Each player shook the members’ hands before they were greeted at the end of the line by Benton, who handed each a gift card to Dunkin Donuts.
According to School Committee member Mario Marchese, the team was exciting for fans of all ages to watch.
“I never really followed hockey, but I took my son and daughter to the championship game,” said Marchese. “They were amazed. They fell in love with hockey that day, which I thought was great.”
Robert Hayes said he, “jumped on the bandwagon,” come postseason, and was impressed by the dedication from the student section.
“The fans were amazing. The student section had very creative chants and interesting body paint,” said Hayes with a laugh. “Congratulations on behalf of the entire School Committee.”