We offer our congratulations to the Winthrop High boys hockey team, which assured itself of at least a share of a Northeastern Conference North Division championship with an exciting 2-1 victory over Marblehead Saturday, a win that was doubly-enjoyable because it occurred as part of the 50th anniversary weekend celebration of the founding of the hockey program at Winthrop High.
For those of us who have been around longer than we care to remember, itâ€™s hard to believe that 50 years have passed since hockey began as a club sport at the high school and became a varsity program shortly thereafter. Winthrop was firmly a basketball town at the time and had produced countless Northeastern Conference champions from the time that Winthrop entered the NEC in 1945. Winthrop High basketball was the NEC equivalent of the Boston Celtics of that same era, winning something like 13 NEC titles in a 20 year period, including a State Class B state title in 1963.
But in 1966, a teenager from Parry Sound, Ontario joined the Boston Bruins, and soon Winthrop and the rest of Greater Boston became hockey-mad. By the early 1970s, Winthrop had built its own hockey rink and in 1976, our Vikings won a state title in Bobby Orrâ€™s Boston Garden. For five decades, Winthrop has produced far in excess of its share of NEC championship teams and hockey luminaries, none brighter than Mike Eruzione, who arguably is the most famous American-born hockey player of all time.
So it truly was fitting that our 2015 Vikings, under the direction of head coach Dale Dunbar, who himself is a former WHS star who went on to play at Boston University and in the NHL, clinched yet another NEC crown in front of a crowd comprised largely of WHS hockey alumni. Dale has brought the Viking hockey program to even greater heights in the past few years and under his tutelage, Winthrop continues to produce outstanding players who are enjoying success at the collegiate level.
Winthrop has a chance to claim an undisputed NEC title tonight (Thursday) against Saugus at Larsen Rink with a tie (or a win) and we hope that the Viking faithful will turn out to support the 2015 Vikings in their quest to write their name on another championship banner.