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Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

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Wayland-Watertown boys ice hockey skates into the season

Credit: Edge Wheeler
WSPN’s Edge Wheeler discusses WHS’s joint hockey team with Watertown, and the start of its season.

This winter, the Wayland-Watertown boy’s varisty hockey team looks to have another triumphant season, replicating their successes from the 2022-2023 season, which led to the MIAA Division III Final Four. Finishing the 2023-2024 preseason 3-1, the Raiders are showing potential for a competitive upcoming year.

The Wayland and Watertown boys hockey teams joined together last season when both teams had thin rosters. Wayland had a predominantly young group and was forced to play in a junior varsity league during the 2021-2022 season. Still, they finished with 10 wins, one loss and one tie, and won the league championship.

“Most of the team didn’t know what it was like to be on a real varsity squad because so many of them were young,” Wayland class of 2023 alumni Ryan Desmond said. “In the long run I think the [season] helped the younger kids develop.”

Watertown was facing opposite issues, after going all the way to the MIAA Division IV State Championship in the 2021-2022 season, ending with a loss in double overtime to Sandwich, concerns began to grow in the offseason about Watertown’s lack of underclassmen.

“I was devastated, especially being an upperclassman,” Desmond said. “You only have so many years left and to have my favorite sport of the year stripped from you like that, it hurts.”

Throughout the summer of 2022, Wayland was looking for a partner to form a co-op with in order to gain the numbers necessary to have the team competing at a varsity level. When Wayland connected with the Watertown team about combining forces, it became clear that the two towns filled the gaps within each other’s rosters. A two year co-op was formed in 2022, with the towns agreeing to meet and discuss the future of it at the end of the 2023-2024 season.

“Our team goal is definitely to get back to the [MIAA] playoffs,” Head Coach John Vlachos said. “We are playing in a very tough Middlesex League [and] we will have to come out every single night and give it one hundred percent.”

During the regular season, the Wayland-Watertown team competes in the Middlesex League as part of the Freedom Division. The team is a Division III team, yet they frequently compete against Division I and II schools such as Burlington, Melrose and Wilmington.

“I think after last year, it was a good start for both towns coming together,” Vlachos said. “This year we have about 50% Watertown and 50% Wayland players. I think the boys playing in the [New England Sports Center (NESC)] fall league helped a lot.”

The team participated in the NESC High School Prep fall league throughout the months leading up to the season. The team went undefeated and won the championship for the league.

“I think the chemistry on the team going into this year is going to be a lot better, [with] the one year [playing together] underneath [the players] belts and everyone becoming familiar with each other,” Vlachos said. “We’re also doing a lot more team bonding this year which I think will really help to have our team be successful on and off the ice.”

The team began their season on Dec. 13, 2023, defeating Lexington 5-1 at home.

“We are all super excited to get the season started,” Watertown captain senior Alec Banosian said. “The energy in the locker room and on the ice is growing day by day.”

Some players to keep an eye out for this season are Banosain, Wayland senior captain Jack Ali, Wayland junior Shane Desmond and Watertown freshman Luke Egan.

“I am looking forward to the season [continuing] and I believe that this team has what it takes, both the talent and the determination, to make another run towards a state title,” Ali said. “Obviously we have to take it day by day but the end goal is always to make it to [TD] Garden.”

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About the Contributor
Edge Wheeler, Staff Reporter
Edge Wheeler, Class of 2026, is a first year reporter for WSPN. He runs cross country and track, and also plays hockey at WHS. Outside of school he enjoys spending time with friends and playing sports. Contact: [email protected]  
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