the westminster news
Published by the students of Westminster School
By Ryan Jainchill ‘23
On Saturday, Dec. 3, the puck dropped at Jackson Rink as the Boys Varsity Hockey team took on Northfield Mount Hermon, signifying the start of the 2022-23 season. This year's team composition is interesting. Because the team graduated 13 Sixth Formers last years, only ten are left. Of the remaining ten, only five are Sixth Formers. But what the team lost in veteran leadership, they gained in skill.
The team will heavily rely on the mentorship of this group of Sixth Formers. Headlining the returning five Sixth Formers is captain Wade Volo ‘23, who was integral to the success of the team last season. Alongside Volo up front are returning Sixth Formers Rowan Masse ‘23, who scored the team’s lone goal in their postseason loss to Governor’s Academy last season, and Chase Arnett ‘23, a shifty forward who plays with a lot of tenacity. Defencemen Santino DeFazio ‘23 and Hayden Raycraft ‘23, both of whom are good shutdown options, are returning Sixth Formers as well. In addition to those five returning sixth-formers, the team added three Sixth Formers who spent the last season on the JV team: forward Nick Orenstein ‘23, defencemen Luke Reiter ‘23 and goaltender Alec Rosenbaum ‘23.
Alongside Orenstein and Reiter post-graduate Aksel Sather ‘23 joins this Martlet bunch. “The decision to come to Westminster was a tough one. I had academic reasons for sure, as that was a priority, but also knowing the success of last year's team and that I knew we could make some noise this season made this decision easy”, Sather said. Sather, a former Fairfield Prep Jesuit, is a hard-nosed forward who thrives in transition offense. In the scrimmage against Deerfield back in November, he potted two goals and added two assists in the team's 7-3 victory.
The returning Fifth Form class is headlined by a pair of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institution (RPI) commits: forward Ryan Shaw ‘24 and defenceman Matthew Hanscom ‘24. Both future Engineers had their fingerprints all over last year's team. Shaw had two goals against The Frederick Gunn School in a win that propelled the Martlets into hosting a playoff game, while Hanscom was one of the best defensemen last year and will be one of the most notable this season. Shaw is joined up front by returning Fifth Formers Brian Judge ‘24 and Michael Bianco ‘24. While not playing as prominent of a role as the likes of Shaw ‘24, the two saw lots of ice time and even some special teams time. But with the tutelage of the Sixth Formers last season, Judge and Bianco have progressed into talented players of their own and will make a big impact this season.
The biggest change for the Martlets comes between the pipes. With last year's starter Jacob Osborne ‘22 taking his talent to the Ontario Junior Hockey League, it will be returning Fifth Former Matteo de Luca’s ‘24 crease. De Luca saw one game of action last season, recording a shutout in the team's 3-0 victory over The Hotchkiss School in the Flood Marr tournament before suffering an injury that would keep him shelved for weeks. The 6’2” goaltender does a good job of challenging shooters, forcing them to think twice before firing away. In the scrimmage against Deerfield, he recorded 35 saves in that victory.
The future is now for the Martlets. Coach Tim Joncas ‘00 brought in a talented group of Fourth Formers and Fifth Formers, all of whom are the building blocks for this year and the years to come. This year's Fourth Form class contains forwards Blake Burke ‘25, Quinn Pine ‘25, Cullen Horn ‘25, and Derek Rhodes ‘25, and on the back end, defenceman J.J. Hurley ‘25. That group is also joined by Easton Masse ‘25, who spent last season on JV. That group of six is competitive, with loads of high-level hockey experience and the talent to be key contributors for this season and the seasons to come.
This iteration of Boys' Varsity Hockey has the talent, grit, determination, and leadership to make noise in the Founders League. When March rolls around, this team has a real possibility of hosting a playoff game, whether in the Elite Eight or the NEPSAC Small School Tournament. The future is now for the Martlets, and it's the job of the returners to lead this group to the playoff success that they are capable of.