“Our program has made leaps and bounds in the last two years,” Wile said. “I go all the way down to the Mite program. My son’s at that level. We sat at the Garden at the Super 8 last year, and my son asked if he’ll ever have a chance to play in the Super 8 with me as his coach. My kids will never have that shot in Division 2 hockey. If we can go to the Division 1 level, we can offer that chance.”
Wile has assured coaches around the CAL that he will continue to schedule one game with each team if his squad moves to Division 1 in order to maintain geographical rivalries. Both Yameen and Wile plan to ease into a Division 1 schedule, rather than immediately stack the schedule with powerhouses like Malden Catholic, Catholic Memorial, BC High and St. John’s Prep.
Yameen and Wile also believe a move to Division 1 would prevent local players from going to private schools or junior hockey to get more exposure.
“Newburyport is a hockey community,” Yameen said. “There’s no question in my mind we would compete at the Division 1 level.”
“I respect the Cape Ann League,” Wile said. “This is about doing what’s best for our program and school. We’d be the only two public schools on the North Shore with Division 1 hockey. There would be no reason for anyone to leave town to play somewhere else.”
Both coaches are also continuing to push the locker room renovation project, which has been estimated at $170,000. The funding will come solely from fundraising efforts and personal and corporate donations.
The proposed plan will result in two 20- by 40-foot locker rooms separated by a shower. Parents and friends of Newburyport and Triton hockey players have volunteered to perform the labor. Yameen says the fundraising has gained significant momentum in recent weeks.