New Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins has
quickly come to be known as an agent of change, a passionate advocate for
equity in the law and a solid leader ready to stand up for a cause – but few
know that before all that she was an elite Division 1 college athlete, and it
was on the playing field where she first gained her love and respect for the law.
Rollins grew up in a large family in
Cambridge, and sports were part of her family from the beginning, long before
she ever thought of the legal system.
Rollins said she was a team captain of every
sport she played going back to youth soccer, and an All-Scholastic in
basketball at Buckingham, Brown & Nichols School (BB&N), but it was on
the lacrosse field where she was the most outstanding. The sport – which was
somewhat newer to New England in the 1980s when she was in high school – was
fast moving and, having been recruited to play after a basketball practice,
Rollins had a great skill set to be a high achiever.
“I was the oldest of five siblings and my
parents worked very hard to make sure we got a great education,” she said. “I
got into BB&N after the third grade, but at one point my parents sat me
down and told me I was a good athlete and a good student and needed to get a
scholarship if I wanted to go to college.”
Her skills led her to a full Division 1
Scholarship to UMass-Amherst for lacrosse, this coming after winning a national
championship on the high school level in 1989. After an outstanding freshman
year, Rollins and her teammates were shocked to learn that their sport was
being eliminated by the university due to budget cuts.
Though she was able to keep her scholarship,
she said she eventually missed the athletic fields, and that’s when she and
some other women athletes turned to the law – which she found to be a powerful
leveler for those without much of a voice.
“At first, I was kind of relieved because I
didn’t have to wake up at 5 a.m. for conditioning anymore, but later I began to
miss sports,” she said. “I’d played sports my entire life and missed the
camaraderie you feel when you have the team behind you and you score a goal.
“We only had three or four scholarship
players and we were good,” she continued. “The men’s football team hadn’t won a
game in years and they had 75 full-time scholarships with everything provided
for them, including food and lodging. I didn’t know a lawyer or a judge, but it
seemed so unfair. Myself ,and a few other athletes from the women’s teams,
asked to meet with the Athletic Director.”
That meeting didn’t go so well, and there
was no change, but DA Rollins said everything changed when they got a lawyer.
“Our lawyer threatened a Title 9 lawsuit,”
she said. “The AD completely changed his tune. We got all or our teams
re-instituted after a while.”
Rollins – who attended Northeastern
University Law School after UMass – said it was her first taste at how the law
can be used to empower and bring about justice.
And it was a powerful experience.
“I saw that lawyers matter and words
matter,” she said. “As a young person, I thought, ‘Oh my God, lawyers are
awesome.’ They make everyone fall into line and things change.”
It was the defining moment she points to
after a long legal career with MassPort, the MBTA, and now as the Suffolk
District Attorney, where the law became her passion.
However, when it came to leadership –
another characteristic she said has been critical as the newly-elected DA in an
office that has had the same leader for almost two decades – it was what
happened after the teams were re-instated that taught her the most.
She said when the team was finally brought
back, she was the only player left with any real experience. Most of the
players and coaches had been plucked from other sports like track and
volleyball. The elite athlete soon found herself the captain of a team that
couldn’t win a game to save themselves.
Yet, she said it was the most important time
of her life, leading a team that likely wasn’t going to win, but could still
accomplish some goals in the meantime.
“It was one of the best learning experiences
I ever had,” she said. “You show up with a smile on your face and give 100
percent even when things aren’t going well. It taught me character…Anyone can
be present when things are going great, but where are you when things get hard?
Do you still show up? I like to say it costs very little to pay someone a
compliment or be respectful. Yet so few do it.”
That kind of optimism for a competitive
person in the midst of a losing season was life changing.
“What’s beautiful is to learn not to be
discouraged and to be optimistic,” she said. “Those are actually the years I
broke records because the numbers of goals I scored. There are still records
out there 26 or 27 years later that I set and I’m proud to say I still hold.”
Certainly, the end of her athletic career
did not mean an end to those valuable lessons. In fact, she said, it has been
sports that taught her about justice and leadership.
“We are breaking down barriers,” she said.
“When you see a woman in leadership roles, it happens quite often that in the
past that woman had some athletic ability or played some sport. It teaches us
about inclusion or teamwork or perseverance. Sports doesn’t care about how much
money you have or where you live, it’s about how well you perform on the field.
It’s a great leveler. It’s been invaluable for me.”
And in the office, she is adjusting to being
that new person who is also the leader of the office. That, she said, takes the
kind of skills she honed on the athletic fields some years ago.
“I’m the new person to the team here in the
DA’s office and I’m also their leader,” she said. “Change is difficult. What I
try to do is show up, know the great work they do and be as encouraging and
purposeful as I can.”
Nowadays, Rollins doesn’t spend much time on
the playing field, but still enjoys watching her daughter run track, where she
has won national championships in the 100m and 200m races. Such things are
encouraging, she said, to see girls and young women have so many opportunities
that were hard-fought by the generation ahead of them – a generation such as
the women athletes like Rollins who used the legal system to challenge decision
“It’s really exciting to see young women are
getting the same opportunities men have had a long time,” she said. “Being
excited for my young girls playing sports doesn’t take away from my excitement
for young men playing sports. We want everyone to have the opportunity for
success, on and off the field.”
Rollins indicates her office will be more present at crime scenes
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael
Rollins said one change she has made immediately to the office is making sure
at major crime scenes, she and members of her office are on scene.
That includes homicides and other such
Whether in Boston, Chelsea, Revere or
Winthrop, she said it is important to be present at the scene, even if it’s the
middle of the night.
She said she has instructed everyone to call
her no matter what time, and not to wait for the morning to brief her on major
“For me, it’s important to kind of be
proximate and present when things happen so people know we not only handle the
case, but also we had boots on the ground from the beginning. A lot of the work
we do is behind the scenes and people don’t see it…So, it’s important they see
us and we experience what they are dealing with because it really makes us have
insight into the work we do every single day.”
She said that,
particularly at homicides, she and her office would make every effort to be on
scene throughout the county.
Stephanie Simon takes second place in the long jump at all-state meet
Chelsea High track star Stephanie Simon
captured second place in the long jump at last Saturday’s All-State Meet that
was held at the Reggie Lewis Center.
Simon was in third place approaching her
third and final jump of the day, but her leap of 18′-2.25″, which was five
inches better than her top jump to that point, propelled her into the second
spot, behind only Jada Johnson of Sharon, who had the best jump of the day at
Stephanie had advanced to the all-states by
taking first place the previous week in the Division 2 meet with a jump of
17′-9″. Thanks to her second-place finish at the all-state meet, Simon now
will compete in the All-New England Meet this Saturday.
competed in the 55 meter dash on Saturday, finishing in 16th place with a
clocking of 7.48 seconds. Stephanie had grabbed third place in the D-2 Meet the
week before to advance to the all-states.
Johanna DiCarlo (right) presents the Massachusetts Women in Athletics Distinguished Service Award to JoAnne Lee-Nieves at the 2019 Girls and Women in Sports Day program Feb. 1 at Faneuil Hall, Boston.
When the Title IX law was first enacted, leading to increased athletic opportunities for females in the mid-to-late 1970s and setting the foundation for the explosion of high school girls’ sports that exists today, there was a Chelsea woman just getting started in coaching.
She was a pioneer in every sense,
introducing the joy of organized sports participation to Boston girls, teaching
them about teamwork and sportsmanship, instilling self-confidence in her
student-athletes, and providing lessons about life that they would carry beyond
the basketball court.
JoAnne Lee-Nieves was a woman ahead of her
time, recognizing right away the importance of athletics for girls as an
extension of the classroom. Her players at Jeremiah Burke would achieve
phenomenal success on the court. Long before ESPN started bringing attention to
women’s sports, Lee-Nieves was building a program and sending her athletes on
For four decades, Lee-Nieves earned multiple
championship and coach-of-the-year awards. No one did it better in Boston than
Last Friday, in an impressive ceremony at
historic Faneuil Hall in the city where Lee-Nieves became a high school
coaching giant, she received one of the MIAA’s most prestigious awards.
Before a capacity crowd of female high
school athletes, athletic directors and many of her former colleagues in the
profession, Lee-Nieves accepted the Massachusetts Women in Athletics
Distinguished Service Award.
One could only imagine how very proud her
parents, the late Charles Lee and Jeanette Weiner Lee, would have been to see
JoAnne’s amazing career recognized so deservedly in such an awesome setting as
Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson understands
the magnitude of his cousin JoAnne’s statewide award and the immense
contributions that she made to high school sports. His own daughter, Lucia
Robinson-Griggs, is a former high school athlete and now a women’s basketball
coach at MIT.
“JoAnne is a very outstanding individual who
has achieved a lot in teaching and coaching,” said Robinson. “This is very
special for me that she was recognized for all the hard work that she has done
throughout the years. She is a true pioneer in women’s high school sports in
Boston. It’s a tremendous honor and I congratulate Joanne. We in Chelsea are
all proud of her.”
In a tribute to JoAnne that appeared in the
Girls and Women In Sports Day souvenir booklet, Jeremiah Burke Guidance
Counselor Ron Innes said, “JoAnne was a very reliable and dedicated teacher who
was well respected by her students as well as faculty and staff. Her knowledge
about her chosen discipline (Physical Education) and ability to reach and
connect with students made her a truly exceptional teacher. These great
qualities carried over to the many sports she coached. Her teams always played the
game with great discipline and pride.”
Burke Athletic Coordinator Sean Ryan had
nominated Lee-Nieves for the award. Said Ryan, “Her ability to engage a veteran
or a newcomer to the sport make her special. We evaluate a coach by how their
team progresses during the year, and JoAnne’s team each year plays their best
toward the end of the season. She truly provides each student-athlete with a
In her acceptance speech, Lee-Nieves was
humble and gracious. She thanked the MIAA for the recognition, but focused her
remarks on encouraging the young ladies in the audience to work hard and pursue
As she left the stage and walked to the VIP
area where she and husband Juan Nieves were seated, you could sense that JoAnne
Lee-Nieves was touched by this lifetime-achievement recognition from the
state’s official governing organization for high school sports.
It was indeed a special day for a special
teacher, coach, and role model.
Johanna DiCarlo (right) presents the Massachusetts
Women in Athletics Distinguished Service Award to JoAnne Lee-Nieves at the 2019
Girls and Women in Sports Day program Feb. 1 at Faneuil Hall, Boston.
JoAnne Lee-Nieves and her husband, Juan Nieves,
are pictured following the presentation of the Distinguished Service Award.
The Chelsea High boys and girls indoor track
teams dropped their first meets of the season last week to Greater Lawrence.
The outcome of the Lady Red Devils’ contest
came down to the final race, the 4 x 400 relay. Chelsea held a 41-40 lead
entering the relay, but Greater Lawrence won the race to win the meet by a
score of 45-41.
Highlights from girls meet included:
1st and third in the high hurdles: Stephanie
Simon, Sandra Tun
1st and third in the 50 yard dash: Stephanie
Simon, Sandra Tun
1st in the 300: Ana Chang
1st in the 600: Yarelis Torres Diaz
1st in the High Jump: Stephanie Simon
1st in the mile: Yarid Deras
On the boys’ side, the Red Devils came up
short by a score of 54-31. The highlights for Chelsea were:
1st in Shot Put: Rigo Flores
1st in the 600: Jazmany Reyes
1st, 2nd, 3rd in mile: Jazmany Reyes, Oscar
Amaya, Ian Padilla
1st, 2nd in 1000: Justin Turner, Limilson
SIMON WINS LONG JUMP AT
Chelsea High track star Stephanie Simon
captured the long jump event at this past weekend’s State Coaches Meet, an
event that features the top athletes in Division 1, with a leap of
18′-0.75″, a distance that qualified Stephanie for the nationals.
Teammate Ana Chang turned in a strong
performance in the 300 dash, finishing in 20th place among a field of 58
For the boys, Red Devil Justin Turner improved
his two-mile school record from 10:18 to 10:13.36.
Steph Simon wins two events at the Dartmouth Relays
Chelsea High track star Stephanie Simon won
two events this past Saturday at the Dartmouth Relays in Hanover, New
Hampshire, a meet that annually attracts some of the best track and field
athletes in the Northeast.
Stephanie won the
long jump by a quarter of an inch with her leap of 17′-7″ and captured the
triple jump with a distance of 38′-5″, the latter being a
Bruins enjoying bye week
Without the excitement of
the Patriots win over the Kansas City Chiefs, on their way to the Super Bowl,
this would have been a boring week for Bruins fans. With the bye week before
the All-Star break, the Bs have been blessed with a 9-day hiatus. The reason
for feeling blessed is due to the concussion suffered by goaltender Tuukka Rask
versus the New York Rangers last Saturday. Recent comments from Rask’s agent,
Brett Peterson, were a shade encouraging, stating that he believes, “There
isn’t “anything to be too concerned about in respect to Rask’s recovery, and I
think it is day to day for him right now.” Rask’s concussion extended the list
of Bruins concussed this season, adding his name to the list that included,
David Backes, Urho Vaakanainen, Jake DeBrusk, and Charlie McAvoy. Boston
resumes their regular season schedule on Tuesday, January 29, when they face
the streaking Winnipeg Jets on Garden ice.
The Bruins can certainly
count their lucky stars, as one of the major reason for the team currently
holding on to sixth place (27-17-5) in the Eastern Conference has been the
goaltending duo of Rask and Jaroslav Halak’s steady performances in net.
Numbers wise, Rask is 14-8-3, 2.43 goals-against, and a .919 save percentage –
Halak is 13-9-2, 2.47 goals-against, and a .919 save percentage. The mirrored numbers
attest to their outstanding and mostly consistent play. Add to that the
powerful first line, Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, the
trio responsible for 60 of the Bs 143 goals scored, and an impressive 150
points to date. Combine those stats with the solid play on the defense, and it
certainly looks promising for this team when their full roster is on board.
As is the case every season, each point is crucial, as it shows in the present playoff picture, where seven teams are clustered in the East, battling for position. Teams trailing the Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay Lightning (76 points), New York Islanders (63), Toronto Maple Leafs (60), Washington Capitals (60), Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Montreal Canadiens, all with 59 points, and the Pittsburgh Penguins hanging in there with 58.
David Pastrnak is the lone
Bruins representative at the 2019 NHL All-Star game in San Jose, California.
Fans tuning in are reminded of the change in programming, this year’s event
will be played this Saturday, January 26th at 8:00pm EST, instead of the usual
Sunday date, with the Skills Competition moved from its traditional Saturday
night to this Friday, January 25. Following the All-Star break, the Bruins
return to Garden ice for a two-game homestand, beginning Tuesday (1/29 at 7
p.m.) to take on the Winnipeg Jets, and back on the ice again Thursday (1/31 at
7 p.m.) to host the Philadelphia Flyers.
ZDENO CHARA TO CAPTAIN 12th ANNUAL PJ DRIVE
The Boston Bruins and the
Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners are teaming up with Cradles to
Crayons and DCF Wonderfund, both non-profits that ensure positive living
conditions for children, to present the 12th Annual “PJ Drive” to benefit
Massachusetts’ youth in need. The drive will run from February 1, until March
15. The PJ Drive provides new, unused pajamas to babies, children, and teens in
communities across Massachusetts. Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara will lead this
year’s PJ Drive for the fourth time. The PJ Drive originally started during the
2007-2008 season by former Bruin P.J. Axelsson and his wife Siw. Since then,
over 100,000 Massachusetts children have received PJs through the Bruins PJ
The Boston Bruins will be
hosting an in-game PJ collection on Saturday, February 9, at the Boston Bruins
vs. LA Kings game at 1 p.m. at TD Garden. Fans who donate PJs or $10 at this
game will be entered in a raffle to win Bruins autographed prizes. Please note
that all PJs must be new and unused to be donated. Fans can register their own
organization to be a PJ Drive donation site. The top three organizations that
collect the most PJs will receive five tickets to one of the following games:
Bruins vs. New York Rangers on Wednesday, March 27, at 7:30 p.m., or Bruins vs.
Florida Panthers on Saturday, March 30, at 7 p.m.
BLOOD DRIVE THIS WEEKEND
The Bruins will host their annual Blood Drive with the American Red Cross on this Sunday, January 27 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at TD Garden. The day will be filled with family-friendly activities, including a kids’ obstacle course, plus touch-a-truck, and appearances by Bruins mascot Blades. Donors can make appointments by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), visiting RedCrossBlood.org, and by entering sponsor code BRUINS, or by using the American Red Cross Blood Donor app. All donors will receive a long-sleeve American Red Cross T-shirt. Free parking for the Blood Drive will be provided at the North Station Garage. Also taking place on this day at the Garden will be the First Responder Challenge powered by National Grid.
With the satisfaction of having pinned a 4-2
loss on the Chicago Blackhawks at the 2019 NHL Winter Classic at Notre Dame
Stadium, the Bruins will take the two points and look forward to continuing the
New Year’s festivities during their four-game homestand. At the end of the game
Tuukka Rask took off his specially designed for the Classic goalie mask,
knowing that he had delivered an impressive effort, and could take pleasure in
having one-upped the Rask-haters. His effort was solid from beginning to end,
as he allowed an early goal to Chicago’s Brendan Perlini in the first period,
and then put up the barricade, stopping all but one of the Blackhawks’
Rask came up big twice on Chicago’s
All-Star, Patrick Kane, stopping him first on a breakaway close to the end of
the first period, and again with a spectacular stop on Kane’s shot from the
slot with less than 40 seconds remaining in the game and the Bruins up by one
goal. With a jam-packed stadium of 79.126 in attendance, Rask disappointed the
majority of them, as the crowd was heavily weighted with Blackhawks fans from
nearby (90 miles) Chicago. Rask earned high praise from his teammates who
appreciated his efforts that once again put the Bs into a playoff spot, but
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy summed it up best with: “You get two points, but
it’s more than just an average game. You’re playing in front of what, 80,000
people on national TV, two historical franchises. Everyone wants to see a good
hockey game, and we just want to be on top. It worked out well for everybody,
specifically for us.”
David Pastrnak tied things up (1-1) for
Boston, scoring his 24th goal on a nice feed from Patrice Bergeron.
Pastrnak returned the favor, feeding Bergeron who scored (#13) in the second
period to tie the game at 2-2. The solid performance throughout the game by the
fourth-line, saw Chris Wagner setting up the game-winner, as Matt Grzelcyk’s
shot bounced off Kane’s body, landing in the perfect spot on the ice for Sean
Kuraly to cash in with the go-ahead goal (#4). Putting the cherry on the tasty
win was Brad Marchand’s empty-netter (#13) with 33 seconds remaining.
The Bruins return
to Garden ice for a four-game homestand, beginning with tonight’s game
(Thursday 7:00pm) as they take on the Calgary Flames. The Flames are currently
battling the Vegas Golden Knights and the San Jose Sharks for the top spot in
the Pacific Division. Saturday (1/5 at 7:00pm), the Buffalo Sabres, who at
press time were tied with Boston (48 points), will provide the opposition. The
Sabres, despite their red-hot start to the season have cooled off a bit,
posting a record of 4-4-2 of for their last ten games. The Minnesota Wild are
battling to get into a playoff spot, and will be hosted by the Bruins on
Tuesday (1/8 at 7:00pm). The Wild have been struggling of late, with a
lackluster 3-6-1 record in their last ten games. The Bruins’ homestand will end
Thursday (1/10 7:00pm), when the streaking Washington Capitals invade the Garden,
looking to add to their impressive record, as they ride on the strength of
eight wins in their previous ten games.
The Chelsea High football team will seek to end its season on a high note when the Red Devils travel to Brighton for a Thanksgiving Eve battle next Wednesday evening.
Kick off is slated for 7:00 p.m.
Chelsea dropped a 32-2 decision to O’Bryant High this past week. Red Devil Richard Flores accounted for the Chelsea points when he alertly scooped up a Brighton fumble on a two-point conversion attempt and raced 98 yards to the opposite end of the field to earn two points for the Red Devils.
Although this has been a trying season for first-year head coach Rasi Chau and his squad, Chau remains upbeat about his team’s performance and effort.
“We are in our growing pain season,” said Chau. “My guys all have worked hard, regardless of our record. There’s no quitting with our guys. I am proud of each and every single one of them, from my seniors all the way to my freshmen.
“We are looking forward to playing Brighton on Thanksgiving Eve. Hopefully we can grab a win, because that turkey will taste much better if we can do so.”
Turner, Deras top
CHS runners at D-2
Justin Turner and Yarid Deras were the top finishers for the Chelsea High boys and girls cross country teams at Saturday’s Eastern Mass. Division 2 Meet held at the Wrentham Training Center.
Turner came across the line in 51st place in a time of 17:22 over the 5K (3.1 miles) course. He was followed by teammates Julio Validates in 18:20, Jazmany Reyes in 18:39, Limilson Tavares in 19:14, and Oscar Amaya in 19:15.
On the girls’ side, Deras crossed the line in a clocking of 22:04 in 103rd place. Jocelyn Poste ran a 24:49 and Saira Carrento came across in 25:00.
by Bob Morello
Bruins on the road again
The Bruins began their four-game road trip last night (Wednesday) in Colorado for the first stop, as the Record went to press. That meeting matched up two of the NHL’s top lines, with Boston’s red-hot threesome of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak, taking on Colorado’s trio of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan McKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. Despite the return of Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask from his ‘personal leave’ hiatus, coach Bruce Cassidy named Jaroslav Halak to face the Avalanche on Wednesday. Rask was quick to assure those in attendance at practice on Tuesday, that the matter had been resolved, and that he was now focusing on the future. The hope is that Rask will quickly return to form and display the number one goalie performances expected of him, while for now, he steps into the backup role to Halak.
Today (Thursday), the Bruins traveled to Dallas and will take on the Stars tomorrow (Friday 8 p.m.), who have been playing some decent hockey of late with a record of 5-3-2 in their last ten games, good enough for fourth place in the Central Division. Former Bruin Tyler Seguin leads the Stars in points with 17, while former Bruins backup goaltender Anton Khudobin has performed well, posting a 3-2-0-1 record in six starts, and a respective 2.32 goals-against-average – with a .926 save percentage. The Arizona Coyotes with host Boston (Saturday 8 p.m.), and Detroit will provide the opposition for the Bs as they take on their Atlantic Division rival, the Red Wings (Wednesday 7 p.m.), in the fourth and final stop of their weeklong road trip.
The NHL named Bruins forward David Pastrnak as the NHL’s first star of the week for the week ending November 11. The Bruins went 3-1-0 last week with Pastrnak leading the team in scoring, posting five goals and two assists for seven points in four games. Four of Pastrnak’s five goals came on the man-advantage, giving him seven power play goals on the season, and had him tied for first in the NHL with Winnipeg’s Patrick Laine. The 22-year-old Havirov, CZE native posted his second hat trick of the season, his third of his career in the regular season. Pastrnak’s 16 goals lead the NHL.
Former Bruin Willie O’Ree was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame during this weeks festivities in the Builder category. O’Ree joined the NHL/USA Hockey Diversity Task Force in 1998, and has been credited with impacting over 120,000 individuals while introducing hockey to people from all different backgrounds.
The Sports Museum’s THE TRADITION – NOVEMBER 28th
The Sports Museum has announced presenters for Tradition honorees: Former Boston Bruins coach Don Cherry, a Canadian hockey icon will receive his award from Bs legend Terry O’Reilly; Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics will be presented by former teammate Kendrick Perkins; Two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist Julie Foudy, will be presented by former teammate Kristine Lilly; Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer, Jim Lonborg, will receive his award from legendary Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Kaat; Super Bowl XXXIX MVP and former New England Patriot wide receiver, Deion Branch will be presented by former teammate Troy Brown/ and seven-time NASCAR Championship winner, Richard Petty, will be presented by NASCAR journalist Dick Berggren. Hosting the event will be Jackie MacMullan and Tom Caron. Ticketed guests will receive a once in a lifetime experience to mingle with some of New England’s most legendary athletes and industry leaders. Each ticket includes access to complimentary premium food and beverage during the gala reception on TD Garden’s arena floor and a seat at the ‘talk-show’ style awards ceremony. During the ceremony, honorees share career highlights and anecdotal stories that give fans a glimpse into the lives of these living legends.
Rick Middleton’s #16 to be raised to the Garden rafters – NOVEMBER 29
The Bruins will retire Rick Middleton’s number prior to the team’s game against the New York Islanders on Thursday, November 29, and raise the #16 banner. The right wing spent 12 seasons with the Bruins, scoring 402 goals with 496 assists for 898 points. He enjoyed five straight seasons with at least 40 goals from 1979 through the 1983-84 season. Middleton’s #16 will become the 11th number sent to the rafters by the B’s, joining Lionel Hitchman, Dit Clapper, Eddie Shore, Milt Schmidt, Bobby Orr, Johnny Bucyk, Phil Esposito, Ray Bourque, Terry O’Reilly and Cam Neely.
The Chelsea High boys soccer team dropped a heartbreaking 2-1 decision to Acton-Boxboro in a first round contest of the Division 1 North Sectional of the MIAA state soccer tournament last Friday evening on the turf at Highland Park.
The Red Devils grabbed a 1-0 lead at the 30 minute mark of the opening half when Delmer Romero found the back of the A-B net with a beautiful strike from the top of the box.
Delmer, Chelsea’s leading scorer this season, initially took possession of the ball in the right corner of the box and then made a few moves toward the center to create some space from the A-B defenders. When he obtained a small window of opportunity, Romero let go a powerful drive high to the opposite corner to beat the A-B keeper.
However, that would prove to be the apogee of coach Mick Milutinovic and his Red Devils’ hopes for advancing to the next round of the tournament.
Five minutes after Romero’s goal, a ref whistled Chelsea for a controversial hand-ball in the box and awarded a penalty kick to A-B. The alleged hand-ball call was not evident to anyone else on or in the field — and the ref who made the call was 60 yards aways from the action.
Acton-Boxboro converted the PK, bringing the contest back to level at the half.
The contest remained deadlocked for the next 55 minutes — 40 minutes of the second half, 10 minutes of the first overtime, and five minutes of the second OT — until A-B reached the back of the Chelsea net for the victory with five minutes left in the second overtime period.
“This was a great tourney game,” said CHS assistant coach Evan Protasowicki. “Our defense was solid and our keeper, Roberto Portillo, played the best game of his career with some outstanding saves.
“We had a great crowd and the team fought hard the whole way,” added Protasowicki, who noted that the Red Devils had enjoyed a superb season with a 13-0-3 record entering the tournament. “It’s too bad that the outcome of the game hinged on that hand-ball call.”
CHS runners do
well at Coaches Meet
Last Saturday a small contingent of the Chelsea High boys and girls cross country teams traveled to Wrentham to participate in the Frank Mooney State Coaches Invitational.
Senior Justin Turner raced to a personal best of 17:05 on the 3.1 mile course to finish seventh out of 189 runners.
“Every week Justin gets better,” said CHS head coach Don Fay. “He had a great summer of training and it is translating into a remarkable season. He hasn’t missed a day of practice and he is a great leader.”
Senior Julio Valladares ran 17:51 to improve by over a minute and was 30th overall out of 189.
“Earlier this season Julio had a virus he couldn’t shake,” said Fay. “The last three weeks he has finally been running to his potential.”
Jazmany Reyes ran 18:29 and also had a personal best by almost a minute. Oscar Amaya ran 19:22 in the sophomore race while freshman Ian Padilla also ran in the sophomore race and ran 20:10. Only nine other freshman beat Ian in the race.
Limilson Tavares raced to a 19:09 time in the junior race. Joseph Terval ran 20:07 to smash his former best time by almost two minutes. WidinButras finished in a time of 22:10.
On the girls’ side, YaridDeras finished 28th in a time of 22:11 for the 3.1 miles.
This Saturday both the boys and girls squats will go back to Wrentham for the Division 2 State Meet.
CHS football team
meets O’Bryant Friday
The Chelsea High football team turned in its most-productive offensive effort of the season, but came out on the short end of a 40-22 decision to Cathedral High this past Friday evening.
“Unfortunately, it’s not the outcome we wanted, but I am proud of my guys for putting up a fight until the last whistle,” said CHS head coach Rasi Chau. “Our new quarterback, freshman Joshua Sosa, took the call and did a great job controlling the field.”
Sosa threw a 76 yard touchdown pass to Daps Olunbuson and ran a quarterback sneak for a two-point conversion. Jabes Escalante did a great job running the ball, scoring touchdowns, including his longest run of the year of 57 yards, plus a two-point conversion. Jabes ended up with 176 yards on the ground.
Ivan Soto, Chelsea’s leading tackler this season with more than 100 tackles, recorded 13 solo tackles of Cathedral ballcarriers.
Chau and his squad will play at O’Bryant High School in Boston tomorrow (Friday). Kickoff is set for 4:00.
CHS girls soccer
Although the Chelsea High girls soccer team dropped its last four games of the season to finish with a final record of 5-10-2, CHS head coach Randy Grajal was upbeat about his team’s performance and its future.
“We have a very young team and we improved as our season went along,” said CHS head coach Randy Grajal. “I am looking forward to our next season.”
Stephanie Simon became the first Chelsea High girl ever to compete in three events at the MIAA all-state meet this past Saturday at Fitchburg State University.
The sophomore turned in a strong performance, taking 11th in the high jump with a leap of 5’-4”; 15th in the 100 dash with a time of 12.65; and 17th in the triple jump with a distance of of 35’-3”.
“While none of the performances were personal bests for Stephanie, she performed well competing in multiple events,” said CHS coach Mark Martineau.
Senior Martine Simon also competed in the all-state meet, finishing in 18th place in the triple jump with a leap of 35’-2”.
Both of the Simon sisters and junior Jocelyn Poste will compete in the state heptathlon this Tuesday and Thursday at North Reading High School.
sports museum hosts 2018 stand strong graduation
The Sports Museum hosted its 2018 Stand Strong Graduation on June 4 at TD Garden in Legends.
Members of the Jordan Boys and Girls Club of Chelsea received framed certificates of completion at the ceremony that was led by Sports Museum Director of Education Michelle Gormley.
Sports Museum Executive Director Rusty Sullivan and Northeastern University basketball star Jeremy Miller held a question-and-answer session for the youths.
Miller responded to questions such as: How tall are you? (6-foot, 9 and three-quarter-inches); What is your favorite NBA team? (San Antonio Spurs; and When will you enter the NBA draft? (in 2019).
The youths appreciated Miller’s story about how he kept a positive attitude after sustaining a knee injury in his freshman season. Miller worked hard during the rehabilitation process and became a star player on a very good Northeastern team that will contend for an NCAA Tournament berth again next season.
Miller said that some of his outside-of-basketball interests are improvisational comedy, acting, and music. Miller was a huge hit with the youths, graciously posing for photographs and signing autographs.
Stand Strong is a 12-week interactive character development program focusing on the core values of Teamwork, Courage, Fairness, Determination, and Responsibilty.
The Stand Strong curriculum includes a number of field trips where students engage in fun activities centered on the aspects of character.
FUN-DAMENTAL BASKETBALL CAMP TO START
The annual FUN-damental Basketball Camp, open to boys and girls in the local area, will be held July 16-July 20, at the Immaculate Conception Parish Center, located at 59 Summer Street in Everett.
The camp will be held between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. for boys and girls entering grades three thru nine as of September 2018. The cost of the camp is $100.
Tony Ferullo, boys’ varsity basketball coach at Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden, will be the camp director.
Each camper, who will receive a t-shirt, certificate and medal, will participate in various drills, scrimmages and individual contests. Special guests will speak and share their personal basketball tips. An awards ceremony will take place on the last day of the camp, and parents and friends are welcome to attend.
For more information about the FUN-damental Basketball Camp, please contact Camp Director Tony Ferullo: 857-312-7002 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Price-Espada scores 49 as the Tigers win the Div. 4 state title
By Cary Shuman
Sparked by a sensational 49-point performance by junior guard Angel Price-Espada, the Pope John XXIII High School basketball team blitzed Maynard, 89-57, to capture the Division 4 state championship Saturday at Springfield College.
The decisive victory marked the Everett school’s first state title in basketball as coach Leo Boucher and his team claimed the crown via a phenomenal 24-1 season.
Price-Espada, the 5-foot-7-inch Catholic Central League MVP and All-Scholastic, had the Pope John fans standing and cheering during one of the greatest individual offensive performances in MIAA state tournament history. He hit six consecutive 3-pointers in the second quarter as part of an extraordinary, long-range shooting showcase that gave the Tigers a 52-31 lead at the half.
Included in the Price-Espada thrill-a-second package was a mid-air, behind-the back pass to senior Michael Thompson who finished the spectacular play with a layup.
“Angel played phenomenal today,” said Boucher. “I haven’t seen a performance as great as that, not as a player in high school, not as a player in college, not as a basketball coach for 27-plus years – the closest thing I ever saw was Dana Barros versus Don Bosco 100 years ago, and I’ll date myself. That was probably the most incredible shooting performance I’ve seen in a long time.”
In addition to Espada, other members of the Pope John cast stepped up in the state final just as they done in postseason victories over Winthrop, Fenway, Austin Prep, and Mashpee.
Marquis Bouyer, senior center, scored 8 of his 17 points in the first quarter, establishing his powerful presence in the paint as Pope John led 18-11 after one period. Bouyer also finished with 11 rebounds.
Michael Thompson, a senior forward, contributed six points, following his clutch, 14-point effort that helped Pope John defeat Mashpee in the state semifinal.
Junior forward Luis Velasquez, one of the most unsung players for the Pope John contingent, scored 10 points, including a pair of baskets amidst the Tigers’ 34-point explosion in the second quarter.
Senior Mehkhi Collins, a late-game hero against Mashpee, juniors Cam Erikson and Conor Kelly, and freshman Jason Ford also contributed well for the Tigers.
Pope John led 5-0 in the opening minutes, thanks to a Price-Espada three-pointer and a Bouyer basket inside the lane. Maynard would close the gap to three, 9-6, but Bouyer’s mini-surge of five points (two off a nifty pass from Collins), and Velasquez’s basket keyed a 7-0 spurt. Price-Espada hit two of three free throws (he was 9-of-11 overall) after he was fouled attempting a three-pointer.
And then it happened. Price-Espada took over the game with a rapid succession of three-pointers, the majority hitting nothing but net. In eight, breathtaking minutes, the dynamic backcourtman scored 23 points, 31 total for the half.
Price-Espada stayed red hot in the third period and at one point, he had 41 points while the entire Maynard team combined also had 41.
Bouyer closed out the Tigers’ memorable day with seven fourth-quarter points. Rashid Griffin had a three-pointer as the Tigers rolled to an impressive 32-point victory over the defending state champions.
Boucher was asked what it was like to be able to deliver to Pope John its first-ever state championship.
“I didn’t deliver anything – the kids behind me delivered,” he responded humbly. “That’s who made the delivery. I put them in the right position for them to make that happen. It’s a real honor to be able to coach a group of kids like that. The kids came to play.”
Bruins face tough, brief road trip
With the excitement of Ryan Donato’s dynamic debut just starting to settle, the Bruins are once again, back on the road again. Their one game homestand following on the heels of a four game road trip (in seven days), shows how messed up the NHL schedule really is. For Boston it means another stretch of four games on the road in seven days. Those games will be played against four teams, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, and the Winnipeg Jets. Each of them is either attempting to gain a playoff spot, or move up in their conference standings, which means tough competition.
With the tight races currently changing many team’s positions daily, the Bruins will not have an easy game in the road trip. As the Record went to press last night (Wednesday), the Bs were hosted by St. Louis. The Blues were just three points out of a playoff spot, trailing eighth place Anaheim, with a single game in hand. The Blues have been playing .500 hockey over their last ten games, but are on a two-game win streak. Next stop will have Boston taking facing the Stars (Friday, 8:30pm), as the struggling Stars continue to fall out of a possible playoff spot, riding a two-game losing streak after posting a 2-5-3 record for their last ten contests. Sunday (7:30pm) will have the Bruins playing the Minnesota Wild. The Wild sit in the fifth spot of the Western Conference, rather precariously as the eighth spot is only four points in the rear, as they look over their shoulder, having only put up numbers good enough for a 5-4-1 record for their last ten games. Boston’s final game of their four-game road trip, will be in Winnipeg to match up against the streaking Jets on Tuesday (8:00pm), the Jets are rolling along on a three game win streak, and a hot 7-2-1 stretch for their last ten. The Bruins return to TD Garden ice on Thursday, March 29 (7:00pm) to host Atlantic Division leading Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Bruins’ 99 points at press time had them tied for third most in the league with the Vegas Golden Knights. Which is rather startling when one looks back over the 2017-18 season, and the unbelievable amount of injuries that the Bs have endured to many of their top players. Patrice Bergeron sustained both a lower-body-injury, and is currently out of the lineup with a fractured foot. Recently acquired Rick Nash is out with an upper-body-injury; Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is missing, also with an upper-body-injury; David Backes has missed 21 of the 71 games played thus far this season, due to medical issues that included a bout with diverticulitis and colon surgery, multiple suspensions, and most recently a leg cut that has him presently off the ice. The loss on defense of Charlie McAvoy to an MCL knee sprain had left a void on the local’s blueline, which Boston has somehow been able to manage; dependable Adam McQuaid lost time due to a broken right fibula; also on defense, Kevan Miller suffered an upper-body-injury; Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask missed some action following concussion-related problems; David Krejci missed time with an upper-body injury; defenseman Torey Krug felt the effects of a fractured jaw; Noel Acciari was the beneficiary of a fractured finger; Jake DeBrusk is currently missing action with an upper-body-injury; and rookie Anders Bjork suffered a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
Congratulations to Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna who will be inducted into the Eastern College Athletic Conference Hall of Fame. The ECAC Hall of Fame committee announced the ceremony honoring Bertagna will take place Friday, May 4 at the Crowne Plaza in Danbury, Connecticut. Bertagna began his professional coaching career in 1985 with the Boston Bruins, remaining with the team as their goaltending coach until 1991, and rejoined the team for the 1994-95 season. Bertagna is currently in his 36th year as a college hockey administrator. This season marks his 21st year with Hockey East, after serving in a similar capacity with the ECAC for 15 years. He is the longest serving commissioner in Hockey East history and is currently the longest serving hockey commissioner in the NCAA.