The long and illustrious history of the BFA-St. Albans boys hockey program added another banner to its collection last season after the Bobwhites took down Stowe in the championship for their 19th title in program history.
To put that in perspective, Essex is nipping at the Bobwhites heels as the Hornets have 16 titles to their name. Other than those two programs, no other program has more than six championships, which just shows the dominance of those programs. The last time a different team other than the Bobwhites and Hornets raised the championship trophy at the end of the season was 2014 when CVU upended Essex.
Now, the Bobwhites are entering another season as defending champions, as they look to go back-to-back after achieving the same feat during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.
And they will be looking to do it in similar fashion to last year where they don’t have one “go-to” scorer, but have to rely on a team game to get production.
“Last year’s team was one of the most unselfish teams I’ve ever had,” said BFA coach Toby Duculon, who is entering his 31st season at the helm of the Bobwhites. “We all can learn a great deal from last year’s team. We are similar this year that we don’t have a dominant player, so we will need a group effort and group contributions every night.”
The Bobwhites will be returning a solid cast of players this year with the likes of Christian Vallee, Matt Merrill, Ethan and Colin Audy, Aiden Savoy, Sean Beauregard, Owen and Nathan Benoit and Colby Morin.
“Our leaders are our seniors this year with Vallee, Nate Benoit and Morin and a nice supporting cast,” said Duculon. “WE have a bunch of underclassmen ready to help our cause as well this year.”
Things will look a little different in between the pipes this season after four year starting goaltender Dan Ellis graduated after last season after backstopping two championship teams during his freshman and senior seasons.
The team will be looking at a three-headed tandem between Mike Telfer, Carter Verroneau and Deegan Rathburn.
“Telfer has the most experience out of the three stepping up this year,” said Duculon. “But so far all three have been doing fine in practice.”
The Bobwhites are currently practicing and getting ready for the season, as they await Governor Phil Scott to give the go-ahead for game action to start up.
“Players were anxious to start the season and at least start practicing,” said Duculon. “They handled the delay fine and are now working very hard for our first real day of competition.”