By Kate Anslinger
Itâ€™s a pretty well known fact that Winthrop is a true hockey town. From the time many local children can walk, they are fitted for skates and sent out on the ice with the assistance of their parents and beneficial programs like â€œLearn to Skate.â€
With the hockey history in town, itâ€™s only fitting that Winthrop Public Schools would partner up with The Boston Blades. The professional womenâ€™s ice hockey team, in the Canadian Womenâ€™s Hockey league (CWHL) just found its new home at the Lawrence Larsen Skating Rink at the Mike Eruzione Center.
It all started when General Manager of the team, Jessica Martino was scrambling to find a place for the team to practice. Martino, who is a native of Winthrop, met with Larsen Rink Manager, Bob DiMento, and the rest is history.
â€œWe are happy to have the Boston Blades here and we will do whatever we can to make the partnership work,â€ said DiMento, who welcomed the team with open arms. DiMento and Martino collaborated and worked out a schedule so the team can practice and have their home games at the Larsen Rink.
The addition of the Boston Blades spans beyond the hockey community, and there is hope that it will bring value to the school district and town as a whole.
Since the pro team will be immersed in the community, there is potential for increase revenue for businesses and a chance for leadership amongst student athletes. There is hope that restaurants will see a rise in business with spectators coming to town to watch the games.
â€œThere will be major value in having the team here,â€ said Interim Superintendent Lisa Howard, who understands the challenges of navigating the athletic and recruiting process. â€œThis is one more thing that we can give our kids.â€
Howard is hoping that the pro athletes will be able to help guide aspiring college athletes and the team managers, and players will be able to talk to parents and student athletes during specific event nights during the year.
â€œWe didnâ€™t have a resource like this when I was a student athlete,â€ said Howard. â€œAnd now we have a pro team sitting in our backyard.â€
Athletes arenâ€™t the only ones who will benefit from the immersion of the pro athletes, as the team will assign jobs to interested students as part of beginner internships. Exchange students from China can assist with translating mandarin during games and students interested in developing technical abilities will have an opportunity to learn hands-on skills in roles such as streaming the games and learning behind the scenes roles. These skills can be added to a studentâ€™s resume and will benefit them in the future.
There will also be a mentoring group that will be designed to help female athletes navigate the recruiting system as they prepare for college.
The Boston Blades staff members are:
Head Coach â€“ Casey Brugman
Assistant Coach â€“ Kacy Ambroz
Assistant Coach â€“ Mark Bates
Goalie Coach â€“ Ben Bradley
Athletic Trainers â€“ Stephanie Allen, Zak Gabor, David Koehn
Equipment Manager â€“ Dana Gobeil
Director of Marketing â€“ Danielle Rogers
General Manager â€“ Jessica Martino
Director of Hockey Operations â€“ Kelly Gillis
The team will play at the Larsen Rink this weekend and next week during the times listed below:
Saturday Nov 4Â atÂ 8 p.m.
Sunday Nov 5 at 230 p.m.
Tuesday Nov 7Â atÂ 7:40 p.m.
For more information on the Boston Blades, please see http://boston.thecwhl.com/