Hanover High School
Before he took over as the head coach at Hanover High School, some 32 years ago, Dick Dodds was just another youth
player who marveled at the program’s history and tradition.
“As a kid growing up in the youth hockey system, you go to all the games and can’t wait until it’s your turn,” he said.
Few high school programs in the state can boast history and success like Hanover, which first fielded a team during the
winter of 1933-34 and has won eight state championships since.
The girls hockey program at the school, which was started in 1987, has won six of the seven state titles since the New
Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association began recognizing champions in 2007-08.
While Davis Rink, which allowed the team to start playing indoors during the 1944-45 season after years at Occom Pond, has
been replaced by Campion Rink as the Marauders’ home, the passion on the ice is every bit as strong.
The program’s first longtime coach was Forrie Branch, a teacher and athletic director at the school who’d guide the
Marauders for 24 seasons over three stints, with the first one starting in 1937.
It was under Branch’s leadership that the team began the 5:45 a.m. practices that are, due to ice availability, still embraced
“He was sort of the father of the program,” said Dick Dodds.
The two NHIAA championships were hosted by Hanover in 1947 and ’48, both of which saw Notre Dame teams skating
In 1957-58 under Larry Akerman, the Marauders reached the state final for the fi rst time, losing to powerful Notre
Dame, 10-2. Twelve years later in 1970, with Branch back at the helm, they beat Berlin to capture the program’s fi rst state
championship; it also marked the fi rst time in New Hampshire history that Berlin or Notre Dame did not win the title.
It was also only the second time in the history of the NHIAA that it took two games to decide the state champion. NHIAA
rules dictate, after 60 minutes, games must be replayed to determine the winner. The fi rst was in 1952, when Notre Dame
and Berlin skated to a 2-2 double-overtime draw; Notre Dame then defeated Berlin in the second game by a 4-0 count.
In the first game, Hanover and Berlin skated to a scoreless tie through the first two periods while Pierce in the Marauder
net stopped all 11 shots while Labontee made 12. Then 48 seconds into the third period, Hanover’s high scoring Willy
Morrissey broke the deadlock. However, with less than four minutes to play, Berlin’s Ralph Lapointe scored an unassisted
goal to tie the game. Neither team would score through two 7 ½ minute sudden death overtimes. So after both teams played
in Friday night’s semi-finals – then 60 minutes of the championship game, both teams took the ice once again Sunday night
at the Snively Arena in a rematch to settle the ‘70 championship. After an early 1-0 lead for the Mountaineers, Hanover came
roaring back in scoring three first period goals to take a 3-1 lead into the fi rst intermission. In the end, the Marauders scored
three more goals, including a hat-trick from Jamie MacMillen with single tallies coming from Andy Glover, Ben Bradley and
Willy Morrissey while Phil Pierce made 11 saves for their first NHIAA State Championship.
Three years later the Marauders were celebrating again, this time after a thrilling, 5-4 overtime win against Bishop Brady in
the title game.
Five of the program’s seven state titles came under the watch of Dick Dodds, who was brought on as a coach by Jack Turco
in 1980 after his college career at St. Lawrence wrapped up. He became the head coach in 1982-83.
“I learned more from him in the two years we spent together than I did from anyone else,” he said.
Dodds coached players like Brendan Creagh, who went on to be an All-American at Vermont; all-time scoring leaders Mark
Turco (213 points) and Dan Peraza (208 points), who both went on to play at Yale; and his sons, including Trevor Dodds,
who wrapped up his career with 199 points and had a hand in three state titles between 2002 and ’06.
Only Barney LaRoche of Notre Dame (16) and Duncan Walsh of Concord (6) have more coached more state title teams
than Dodds. Gary Bishop of Bishop Guertin in Nashua has also coached five state champion teams.
Girls hockey as only been recognized as a championship sport by the NHIAA since 2007-08, but Hanover has been fielding
girls teams since 1987. Since the state began crowning champions, the Marauders have won six of seven, including the last
“When they first started the program in the late ‘80s, it was the first publicly-funded program in the country,” said current
coach John Dodds. “They were playing prep schools, whoever they could find.”
Players regular move on to college programs, including Maddie Dewhirst, who is a junior captain at Colby; Caroline Howell,
who is a freshman at Trinity; Molly Turco, who won a Division 3 championship at Middlebury; Josie Fisher, who played on
a Division 3 championship team at Amherst College; and Matti Hartman, a junior at Hanover who has verbally committed
The proximity of Dartmouth College, where coaches and staff had hockey-playing girls, helped the program. So did the
success of boys hockey at the school, and the excitement on game nights at Davis Rink.
“It’s the tradition,” said John Dodds. “I remember growing up in Davis Rink. There were so many kids that wanted to play.”
When the pucks drop in December, the boys and girls high school teams will each be looking to add to their program’s
respective legacies. Legacies of winning.