The Bobwhites huddle during a 2021 game against Woodstock.

Editor’s note: This article was published on The Mercury website on March 20.

Bellows Free Academy St. Albans has a wide variety of athletics; one of them is Bobwhite boys hockey. The team is currently getting ready for the semifinal game against CVU, to be held at Collins Perley Sports Complex at 6 p.m. Aside from the games, Bobwhite hockey means much more to the players and coaches.

Bobwhite hockey has been a sport at BFA for 52 years now. Head Coach Toby Ducolon spoke about what being a Bobwhite means: “To be a Bobwhite [means to have] discipline and [to be] futuristic.”

A BFA and Bobwhite alumni, and the Burlington Free Press’ “Mr. Hockey” 2016, Matthew Needleman (‘16), also put in his words what being a Bobwhite means from a player’s perspective: “[Being a Bobwhite means] to put on the green and gold [and] play for the community, keeping the history of Bobwhite hockey alive and with us.”

Bobwhite hockey stays with you throughout the years. Bobwhite alumni Rick Schriener (‘83) spoke about how he “still has friends [from BFA] that he still plays hockey with.”

From players to coaches, both have learned from the team and game. Throughout his years of coaching, Ducolon said he has “learned from all my guys throughout the years [how] all my players are [just] as valuable as my top players.” He then added how he also learned from the players that “you have to take certain people on teams to be successful in [the] playoffs.”

Former players Schriener and Needleman have also acquired life skills from the game.

“It taught me to be a good team player and responsible,” Schriener said.

Needleman mentioned how he “learned how to be efficient and on time.” Needleman also stated the game taught him how “to hold [him]self accountable.”

As the Bobwhite hockey family continues to grow every year, it will keep leaving a mark and impact on the coaches and players even after they have flown away from the nest of the Bobwhites.

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