WILMINGTON — Hard work. Leadership. Commitment to the team.
Those were the values that 1st Lt. Derek Hines, St. John’s Prep Class of 1999, lived his life by. They were evident during his four seasons of playing varsity hockey for the Eagles, continued when he enrolled in the U.S. military academy and played hockey for West Point, and certainly when he joined the 173rd Airbone Division and became an Army Ranger.
The 25-year-old Newburyport native was tragically killed in September 2005 while conducting security operations in Afghanistan, but his memory will never be forgotten: not by his family, not by his extended family at St. John’s Prep, and not by the untold number of others whose life he has touched in one way or another.
Wearing specially made blue camouflage hockey uniforms chosen by the team captains, St. John’s Prep came out on the losing end of the sixth annual Derek Hines Memorial Game Saturday afternoon at Ristuccia Arena, falling 4-2 to the state’s top-ranked team, unbeaten B.C. High. While victory certainly would have been the preferred option, the Eagles’ players and coaches both knew this was a game where the final score paled in comparison to what the day actually meant to them.
“It’s an honor to play for Derek and his family and to be part of this game the last few years,” senior captain and defenseman Ean Mendeszoon said. “As one of the seniors, I take it most to heart. It’s real inspiring hearing (Steve Hines, Derek’s father) talk about him, how he was a true natural born leader and set an example for a lot of people.”
“Whenever Mr. Hines comes in and speaks to us, it really gets to every single person,” added Prep captain Jimmy Currier of Middleton. “We all feel like, ‘We’ve got to go out there and do this for him.’ He sacrificed his life so we could play today. Coach really doesn’t have to say anything; we just want to win for the Hines family.”