Posts Tagged ‘Connecticut High School Hockey’

Disparity Between North and South in CT High School Ice Hockey State Champions

March 25, 2010

Over the years, a trend has developed in Connecticut among high school ice hockey state champions.  High schools located in the southern region of Connecticut have won the majority of ice hockey state championships dating back to the 1960s.  In the above map, markers are placed on locations of state champions in their respective divisions over the past 10 years.  In Division 1, where a team north of New Britain has only won a state championship once since 2000 (Simsbury in 2003), the disparity is considerable.  

Josh Schachter, founder of, believes the main reason for the disparity is stronger youth programs in towns located in southern Connecticut.  

“I think it starts with the feeder programs,” Schachter said.  “You can speculate a few reasons for this.  But whatever the case may be, youth hockey in the southern part of the state seems to start out stronger than its northern counterpart.”

Southern Conn. teams such as Hamden, West Haven, Fairfield Prep and Notre Dame- Fairfield have dominated Connecticut high school ice hockey.  However, there are teams from the northern region of Connecticut that are slowly making a name for themselves.  The Glastonbury Tomahawks made it to the CIAC Division 1 state championship game last year before losing to Hamden.  The Tomahawks finished this season 15-6-1.   A record of this magnitude is impressive, yet some may discredit their success due to a weak strength of schedule.  

“Respect for northern teams is few and far between,” Glastonbury goalie and captain Chris Hemhauser said.   “Being from Glastonbury we have gotten some respect after our record these past few years, but no other team from the north is considered a true threat in the south.”

As Glastonbury continues to show improvement, other teams from the north are beginning to do the same.  Schachter believes that although the southern teams will continue to be successful, the northern teams will one day compete with them and capture state championships of their own. 

“As a youth hockey coach in northern Connecticut, I see the tremendous talent at the youth level on almost a daily basis during the winter.  It’s just a matter of harnessing that talent at the high school level,” Schachter said.  ” There’s absolutely no reason that the teams from the north cannot be the best in the state, it just may not happen over night.”


Matt Rode, Hockey Barn January Player of the Month

February 24, 2010

Matt Rode, a senior forward from Northwest Catholic, was named the January Player of the Month for the state of Connecticut. Here is a photo slide show of his story, told by Matt and his head coach, Don Melanson. By Bobby Michelin.  Photos courtesy of Matt Rode.

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Hamden High School Hockey

February 17, 2010

Here is a video I recently put together featuring the Hamden Boys’ High School Hockey team. The video covers the team’s championship play of years past while capturing the team of today in action. Enjoy.

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Darric “The Great” White

February 8, 2010

Fairfield Prep- 4    South Windsor- 1  12/19/09

This link above is to a video posted by Bird’s Eye Sports.  It is a game package highlights for a matchup earlier this season between Fairfield Prep and South Windsor High School.  Fairfield Prep won the game, 4-1.  With this video however, it isn’t so much the video highlights themselves that should be checked out, but more so the play of #8, Darric White.    White has tallied 15 goals and 5 assists so far this season and was named the December Player of the Month.   

Fairfield Prep's Darric White. Photo courtesy of

In the above video, users can see just a glimpse of White’s great skill set as he out dekes both defenders and goaltenders on his way to scoring two beautiful goals.  White is a main reason why Fairfield Prep has been ranked #1 on’s weekly power rankings throughout most of the season,  and is widely considered the best player right now in the state of Connecticut. Unfortunately for both Prep and White, White went down with a shoulder injury earlier in the month and has been out ever since.  White hopes to return to action in time for the State championship playoffs in the beginning of March.  If Prep plans on capturing another state championship, they will likely need White’s scoring ways in their starting lineup.

Connecticut Sports?

February 2, 2010


Quinnipiac and Yale face off at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, CT. Photo courtesy of Quinnipiac Athletics.

  Yale and Quinnipiac University both play collegiate hockey in the ECAC and both have experienced success over the past years.  The two have even developed a bit of a rivalry as they are located only about 20 minutes from each other and two of the big time hockey programs in Connecticut.  Yet there is one hockey team in the area of these two colleges that has been experiencing their own success as of late…

 For years, Hamden High School has built up a reputable high school team that can compete with the best in the state year in and year out.  Since the inagural season of the CIAC in 1948, Hamden High School has won 16 state Division 1 championships.    Current U.S. Olympian and NHL Star Jonathan Quick got his start at Hamden

The Hamden Green Dragons celebrate their 2009 state championship at Ingalls Rink in New Haven. Ingalls is the home of the Yale Bulldogs Men's and Women's hockey teams. Photo courtesy of

before working his way up the ranks on his way to starting for the Los Angeles Kings.  Yet in recent years, the public school of Hamden has been smothered by the likes of private and prep schools in Connecticut, who use their big names and reputations to bring kids in from all over the state.  But the Green Dragons are back.  The boys from Hamden won the 2009 Division 1 state championship, their first since 1989.  This season, they are well on their way to repeating by currently holding a 7-3-0 record.  The Dragons are led by Pj Vakos and James Burt and are coached by Bill Verneris.  Hamden is just one of many great high school hockey programs in the state of Connecticut, but one of the only great public high school hockey programs in the state.  Teams like Notre Dame- Fairfield, Notre Dame- West Haven and Fairfield Prep always find themselves near the top of Division 1 hockey in Connecticut.  However, a large chunk of the players on their teams actually reside in Hamden.  Yet every year, Hamden takes the ice at Lou Astorino Rink (located just footsteps from Hamden High) with a team of locals that have grown up playing together, ready to take on the best.   Watch out for Hamden this year to repeat as Division 1 Champions.

The Play

January 27, 2010

Too often, newspapers solely feature and cover high school sports in just a scoreboard fashion.  What team won, who scored, etc.  What Home-Ice Advantage will bring their reader is what goes on beyond the playing surface.   For instance, the coaches that are quoted on their teams’ performance.  What do they really think?  In high school sports, there really is not much more you can find out about players and coaches, than their thoughts on their current or next opponent.   There are websites out there, such as, that give its readers up to the minute scores and statistics.   But with such a void in who these players are, these box scores almost seem meaningless. is a social networking site making strides to change this.  Hockey Barn is essentially a youth hockey news site, and a Facebook for hockey at the same time.  In a sense, it incorporates a grassroots effect by bringing players and their fans to a more personal level.  Readers will be able to see some of the work published on this website published on HockeyBarn as well.  The Home-Ice Advantage plans to bring its readers feature pieces on teams and players on both a story base and Q&A format.  To find out who these players and coaches are, what they like to do, and what makes them so special.

The X’s and O’s

January 26, 2010

Every day, sports fans head off  to websites like to get their up to the minute sports information on both the collegiate and professional level.  But what about those athletes who are more close to our own lives?  I’m talking about high school athletes.  Being based in Connecticut, there are a ton of high school teams and athletes across the state that have great stories, just like any other state across America.  Yet these stories often go unheard.   This is a blog to look into one of Connecticut’s most thriving and passionate high school sports:  Hockey. 

According to the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, there are 63 high school hockey teams across the state.  Many of which produce players that go on to further success in both college and professional leagues.  U.S. Olympic players such as Chris Drury and Jonathan Quick got their start playing high school hockey right here in Connecticut.  This blog will strive to give its’ readers an inside look into the Connecticut High School hockey teams and athletes of today.   You never know, it just may uncover the next big U.S. Hockey star.