“I think people love hockey in this community,” Yameen said. “If I didn’t believe we were capable of this, I wouldn’t rush in. I felt this way three years ago. You combine the D1 status with the state-of-the-art locker room facility, playing the best the MIAA has to offer, and a year-round weight-training program, that’s more than you can get anywhere else, in my opinion.”
Newburyport and Triton are now the only two Division 1 public schools north of Wakefield in Massachusetts. Wile does not expect any serious hockey players to be left behind in the move, since both Triton and Newburyport offer junior varsity programs for players who struggle with the transition to Division 1.
Newburyport and Triton have both shown over time they can compete against Division 1 teams in small samplings. The transition for both teams will be eased by the fact that they will keep their 12-game CAL schedules, and must only finish .500 or better in all games to qualify for the D1 tournament.
“We’ll keep the traditional rivalry games our kids grew up with,” Wile said. “It’s easy to be a naysayer, it takes a lot of guts to do what we’re doing. Our kids are running with it. That’s my job as a coach — to do the best I can for the kids. This is unprecedented for this area.”