Although the talent pool in college hockey is not as concentrated as it once was, the Massachusetts high school’s are still rich in talent and outside of Minnesota perhaps, continue to produce the most prolific talent in the country. Gone are the days of high school players directly entering the Hockey East ranks as most, even prep school phenoms, take the junior route.
That said, the premier High School leagues in Massachusetts, specifically the Catholic Conference, still churn out top talent and on occasion we see a direct transition from High School to college. As the heart of the high school schedule is at last upon us, The Boston Herald’s Jim Clark offers a preview of the upcoming season including a Super Eight D1 preview as well as the preseason D2 polls which seem to have familar perrenial powerhouses in familiar positions.
The Boston Globe’s Craig Forde also offers his thoughts on the upcoming season in his Boys Hockey Preview this morning. Forde tells us that MC will have to begin their title defense sans BC bound forward Ryan Fitzgerald who is out to start the year with a shoulder injury.
Interim MC coach, John McLean, made it explicitly clear that the team will not be rushing Fitzgerald back and have his long term health in mind -“He is a great young talent,’’ said McLean. “There is no need to rush him back, so we’ll just wait until he is fully ready.’’
With the shift of talent away from the Catholic Conference to the likes of prep school and subsequently juniors, the public school powers like Hingham, Weymouth and Burlington are now able to actively compete. The Woburn Tanner’s appear loaded for a big run in the Middlesex league led by UMass-Lowell bound forward Casey Shea. The usual Catholic powers will be relevant once again as BC High, Arlington Catholic and St. Mary’s will all challenge last years Super Eight champ, Malden Catholic for the 2012 crown.
Several questions remain as the 2011-2012 Boys Hockey season kicks into high gear. Will Catholic Memorial, winner of 13 of the past 20 Mass Super Eight titles, rebound from their first missed postseason since 1984? Will Malden Catholic be able to defend their title? What public school will contend for the Super Eight Title?
Cathlolic Memorial will continue to schedule arguably the toughest schedule of any high school program in the country. The Knights 2011-2012 schedule is equally as loaded as they face the likes of Fairfield Prep (CT) and Delbarton (NJ) in addition to the Catholic Conference foes they face annually.
Several future Hockey East commits will play integral roles in the upcoming season. Jim Clark (Boston Herald) featured several of these talents in his D1 season preview this morning.
Brendan Collier, Sr. F, Malden Catholic: Scoring the championship-winning goal in OT last March may be just the beginning for the talented BU-bound left winger.
Ryan Fitzgerald, Jr. F, Malden Catholic: Once he recovers from a shoulder injury, the center will show just why he has been committed to Boston College for nearly two years already.
Sam Kurker, Sr. F, St. John’s Prep: Will need to carry a bigger load for the Eagles this season, but the powerful right winger has the talent that will lead him to BU in the future.
Jared Beckwith, Sr. D, Catholic Memorial: The three-year varsity player “has taken it to another level,” according to Knights coach Bill Hanson.
Jake Secatore, Sr. D, Woburn: UMass-Lowell commit Casey Shea gets all the buzz, but Secatore will be equally important in the Tanners’ drive to return to the Super Eight
Around the rinks – Schoolboy Hockey