Hockey Spartans Making the Grade During Unique Season
By Matt Thompson, Varsity Boys Hockey Coach
In many ways, the beginning of 2021 has started exactly as 2020 ended. Unfortunately, the flip of a calendar was not powerful enough to end the pandemic that has its grip on us. We continue to operate our lives, both inside and outside Stanstead College, with restrictions in place. Both adults and youth have had their lives altered, but we push on and look for better days while ensuring that we still take advantage of every moment to be active and learn.
Despite the challenges that the pandemic has caused within the hockey world, the last month in its own unique way has been incredibly positive within the Stanstead hockey family, with a number of Spartans making NCAA announcements and one other climbing up the NHL Draft rankings.
The NCAA currently has 62 programs that play at the Division 1 level, with St. Thomas in Minnesota joining the ranks next hockey season. In comparison, there are about 350 D1 basketball schools and 130 D1 football schools. With hockey being such a global game, the spots for these 62 schools are extremely competitive year in and year out, and the scholarship money even more competitive, with most teams limited to the equivalent
of 18 full scholarships and some schools working with even less. One must work hard to attain one of these “jobs” as a student-athlete.
In late December, Sean Chisholm (Class of 2020), a power forward with a wonderful shot, set the ball in motion by committing to Dartmouth University. Sean currently plays for the Brooks Bandits in the AJHL and was enjoying a lot of success early in the season before restrictions put a pause to the Alberta league. Sean spent his Grade 12 season at Stanstead last year before heading to Alberta.
Next up was Liam Steele (2022), a current Grade 11 student at Stanstead, who joined the program in September and has shown great ability and a desire to work both on the rink and inside the classroom. A smooth skating, right-hand defenceman with great size, Liam committed to Cornell University in early January.
In hockey games, we often feel the momentum pull us in one direction or another. Whether this is actually happening or just a feeling I guess can be argued, but there is no question that it felt like momentum was picking up. The phone was ringing and on the other end were coaches looking for references on more of our alumni who were off playing junior hockey or practicing junior hockey based on the local restrictions.
When all was said and done, January saw three more former Spartans make NCAA D1 commitments. Thomas Scarfone (2019), a standout goalie during his two years here, has continued his excellent play in the BCHL, playing for the Surrey Eagles. Thomas will be heading to Rochester Institute of Technology to continue his hockey career and of course earn a degree.