In his final two seasons with Newburyport, his team had a combined 36-9-6 record and won the program’s only state championship in 2009.
While Freeman has worn the sweater of the Northern Cyclones, New Hampshire Monarchs and the Colgate Raiders since graduating high school, his relationship with Yameen has not faltered.
“During the season we talk often, via phone or text, and he’ll come skate with us over winter break,” Yameen said. “I spend a good amount of time with him training in the summer.”
For Freeman, remaining close with his high school coach is helpful in a variety of ways.
“My relationship with him is unlike that of many coaches and players,” Freeman said. “I call him and we talk about situations that I have to talk about. It reminds me of where I came from and the hard work it has taken to get where I am. To be reminded by him and others about my experience in high school reminds me that I did the right thing by sticking it out in public school.”
While the transition from junior hockey to collegiate hockey is strenuous, the difference in play is something that Freeman has grown used to as the season progressed. His first goal in his college career and his lone goal of the season came on Nov. 22 against last year’s national champion, Yale.
“The biggest adjustment from junior to college is the speed,” he said. “You’re competing against the best and it’s a fast-paced game. You have to know what you’re doing ahead of time before the puck drops.”
Colgate will take on Ferris State in Cincinnati on Friday at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time. The game can be viewed live on ESPN3. It’s a game that his high school coach won’t miss.
“(Freeman) is a pleasure to be around and is a special young man,” Yameen said. “He makes all involved in Clipper hockey very proud. There were many naysayers, but Derek had a goal from day one and look where he is now! Go Colgate!”