Pictured last season against Millis/Hopedale, senior captain and defenseman Billy Rooney (5) will look to continue to be a key cog on the back end for the Raiders in 2020-2021. Photo by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Dover-Sherborn/Weston varsity boys ice hockey enters a new era this season following the promotion of former assistant Alex Marlow to be the co-op program's new head coach.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact sports at all levels, the 2020-2021 high school hockey season promises to be extremely different and unconventional for the Raiders. Among the plethora of rule changes instituted by the MIAA this season to combat COVID-19, DS/Weston will play a 10-game, TVL-only schedule with games against Medway, Norton, Dedham and Bellingham. Following the 10-game regular season, there will not be a state tournament. There will also be a 40 percent capacity limit for all fans, players and staff at rinks, meaning the number of fans allowed into games will differ based upon each rink games are played in. Players will get dressed at home or outside instead of locker rooms.
Despite all the change to their game, the DS and Weston boys are simply thankful to lace up the skates together again this winter and try to win some hockey games, even with the ultimate goal of a state championship now off the table.
Leading the Raiders in 2020-2021 will be senior captain and defensemen Billy Rooney, as well as senior assistant captain and centerman Standish Carothers. Both are returning captains and have played varsity hockey all four years. Two other key returning players for Dover-Sherborn include senior left-winger Tommy Higgins and senior defenseman Eli Kaplan, both also four-year varsity players. A third captain is likely to be named before the start of the season.
"It sounds cliche, but we want to win every game," said Rooney when asked about his teams general goals for the 2020-2021 season. "When there's no state tournament, it is important to act like every game is a playoff game, and all 10 games are must-win. Personally, I have extremely high goals and want to lead the league in as many statistics as possible."
As far as the changes to the on-ice play and game-day environment, Rooney says he and his teammates are going to need to adjust to playing with a mask on and not being able to hang out together in the locker room.
"It’s going to be really difficult with no locker rooms, especially when the weather gets worse. Masks make it difficult to breath, but you can purchase Bauer masks that are approved and sit on the cage and don’t touch your face, so we are pushing all the guys on the team to get that."
The Raiders will open their regular season on January 9 against Norton at Foxboro Sports Center.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.