The Circle Voice

Why Hockey Players Choose Groton

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Photo: F. Lynch '19

Photo: F. Lynch '19

Photo: F. Lynch '19

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Groton’s boys varsity hockey team competes in the Eberhart division of the New England Prep School Ice Hockey Association. The season begins in the end of November, and stretches to the end of February, playing two to three games per week. Groton’s hockey team prides itself on strong teamwork and experience. In the last decade, Groton players have committed to Yale University, the University of Vermont, Colgate University, Colby College, Williams College, Babson College, Bowdoin College, St. Michael’s College, and Connecticut College. Over the years, the team has gained a strong reputation, attracting players from different regions in New England and Canada. The question on the table: why did they choose Groton?

 

New fifth former Brandon Slawaska ‘19 is currently in the midst of his first Groton hockey season. Hailing all the way from Montreal, he was eager to join a competitive hockey league.  “New England prep school hockey is great exposure. There are a lot of college scouts that look around the prep school circuit, and it’s a great preparation for collegiate level,” he says.

 

Independent School League rules prevent schools within the league – like Groton – from offering athletic scholarships. The rule states that member schools are only permitted to offer scholarships “only on the basis of students’ demonstrated financial need.

 

At Groton, there is no formal recognition for recruited hockey players. Student athletes such as Will Torriani ’19, Noah Kader ’19, and Brandon decided to choose Groton not only to play hockey, but also for its rigorous academics. Will says that his journey to Groton was motivated largely by academic factors:  “…back home with my club team, we used to play more games, but you would only go to school four hours a day. Here, school is more rigorous. The hockey is good back home, but here the education is really good.”

 

Brandon also chose Groton for more than just hockey. A transfer from Westminster School, he enjoys the experience he has at Groton because of the tightly knit community and team at Groton. “My mom’s friend’s son went to Groton, and he really liked it. I called Coach [William] Riley, and he helped me a lot. We have a really strong camaraderie here, and that’s really important”, he explains.

 

Liam Calder ’18, from Montreal, and Tom Steere ’18, from New Hampshire, came to Groton in 2016 as new fifth formers. Liam plays defense, and Tom is a goalie. They both say that academics were a strong factor in their choices; Liam says that he found Groton by looking up “best prep schools in the United States.” They’ve transitioned well here, arguing that the rigidly scheduled hockey season helps them succeed in their academic pursuits. Liam says, “Winter term is my best term for sure. The time table with practices and classes allows no time for procrastination which helps a lot”.

 

Kai Duenez ‘18, also from Montreal, appreciates the “great variety of friends at Groton with the hockey team and his extracurriculars.” “It’s a healthy balance between school life and athletics”.

 

Even though these athletes arrived in the fifth form – later than most Groton students – they seem to adjust well to Groton’s rigorous schedule and contribute to the team. Hockey captain Tyler Forbes ‘18 commented on the strength the boys have added to the team: “They’ve helped fill the hole that was left after last season. In the past seasons, we’ve lacked depth, but the new recruits have made our team a better one because they’ve given us a bigger and more competitive bench.”

 

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