New England College
The history of hockey at New England College dates to the mid-1960s, when a handful of students traveled from the Henniker campus to Everett Arena in Concord to play pickup games. In 1968, a club team was formed, fueled by the promise from then-NEC president Jere Chase to sanction a financially supported varsity team if the club team remained cohesive and dedicated. And it did.
The first varsity men’s season was 1969-70 and over 48 seasons NEC men’s teams have produced 542 wins, 577 losses and 68 ties. Three times (1984, 2001 and 2005) the Pilgrims have qualified for NCAA Division 3 tournaments and twice have won ECAC East titles (2001 and 2005).
Several players have earned All-America honors. The first, in 1982, was Ed Galiani, the program’s all-time leading scorer with 178 points. Also, Ralph Aiello (2001), Travis Banga (2003, ‘2004), Jeremy Koning (2006) and Brett Kilar (2017) have been honored.
Nineteen players have come from Concord our Capital City. First Captain was Bob Clement in 1969 and most recently Kevin Marceau 2015. Over the first 30 years, the vast majority of Pilgrims were from New England, New York and New Jersey. In recent years, student-athletes have hailed from Canada, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Japan, Slovakia, Denmark, Switzerland, England, Iceland, Czechoslovakia, Germany and Croatia.
MEN’S INDIVIDUAL STATISTICAL LEADERS
100 Point Club – 26 players total, the top 3 are Ed Galiani, 178; Brian Stone, 173 and John Lineberry 147
100 Point Club (Highest PPG average over 2.0.) – Jeff Beaney 2.6 and Paul Cozzi 2.2
Most Points Season – Ed Galiani 73
Most Goals Single Season – Ed Galiani 48
Team Leaders for Points – Three players tied with 3 years each, Brian Stone, David Garofalo and Mark Ehl
Defensemen as Team Points Leaders – Red Gendron and Jay Pecora
Most Shut Outs Career – Bret Kilar 8, Sebastian Anderson 7 and Aaron Harvey 5
Most Shut Outs Season – Kilar 5, Anderson 3, Harvey 3, Shimek 3
The influence and guidance of then-athletic director Lee Clement was instrumental in getting the program off the ground. Leo Callahan of Concord was hired as coach. The first varsity game in 1969 was a 6-3 win over St. Francis (Maine) College at the Everett Arena, during a season where the Pilgrims would finish 10-3-1 competing as an independent.
After two seasons as an independent, NEC was accepted into ECAC Division II. Prior to the start of the 1983-84 season, there was a re-alignment and NEC shifted to ECAC East, a Division III league that included national powers Norwich and Babson.
The team would call Everett Arena its home for 22 seasons. In 1990, an effort was made to raise funds to build a rink on campus. In the spring of 1991 it was dedicated and named for Clement, who had passed away in 1988.
Head coaches for the program included Callahan, who oversaw the first three seasons; Dave Conte, Mickey Goulet; Bill Beaney, who go on to have tremendous success at Middlebury; Scott Stuart; Dan Davidge; Tom Pratt; Mark Ostapina; Scott Borek, for one season, between jobs at Division I Lake Superior State and UNH; and Tom Carroll, who is entering his 16th season owns a record of 213-
153-36 – most all time.
The most prolific scoring tandem was Ed Galiani and Jeff Beaney, both Class of 1982. While playing together for only two seasons, the duo combined for 128 and 129 points respectively. Carroll’s team in 2004-05 qualified for the NCAA tournament and reached the
Final Four. Led by players like Koning, Nick Warriner and Jeff Vandyke, the team finished with an 18-12 record.
Last year, the Pilgrims went 19-8-0 overall and finished second in ECAC East, behind only Norwich, which went on to win the Division III national championship.
Goal – Jay Jones versus St. Francis College November 19, 1969
Win – Versus St. Francis November 19, 1969
Playoff Appearance – 1980-81 versus Bowdoin
NCAA Appearance – 1983-84 versus Babson
Final Four Appearance – 2004-05 versus Middlebury
Playoff Win – 1981-82 versus Colby
League Final – 1981-82 versus Lowell
League Championship – 2000-01 versus Norwich
The Friends of NEC Hockey was officially founded in 1991 as a support group for the new arena and the hockey program. A couple of the major donations have included the existing bleachers and locker rooms improvements.
In 1994, the Friends of NEC Hockey established the annual Lee Clement Sportsmanship Award, which recognizes a boy or girl from Henniker Youth Hockey for his/her sportsmanship and commitment to fellow players.
Since 2001-02, NEC has fielded a varsity women’s hockey team at the Division III level. For 12 straight seasons between 2002-03 and 2013-14, the Pilgrims made the ECAC playoffs, reaching the ECAC championship game in 2009-10, going 12-13-3 overall.
The women’s program began in 1999 when several interested women called upon Professor Philip Huckins to help form a club team. The first two years of its existence, the team was led by volunteer coach, Jim Luckern, and played against high school teams, college clubs, and adult women’s teams.
In its third year of existence the team was granted varsity status as a Division III independent and hired coach Michele Selzer who played at, and then graduated from, St. Lawrence University in 1996. After a season that saw the team facing significantly higher quality talent, the team joined the ECAC East.
In 2002, Phoebe Manchester who played and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1996 became head coach. In each of coach Manchester’s four years at the helm, the team has elevated itself higher and higher in the competitive ranks of women’s collegiate hockey, culminating in this season’s opportunity to play for the ECAC East championship
The team’s best season came in 2003-04, when it went 14-9-3 under Manchester for a .596 winning percentage. That team was led by Jacquelyn Parker and Megan Tepper.
WOMEN’S INDIVIDUAL STATISTICAL LEADERS
100 Point Club – Elizabeth Ross, 130; Sarah Tracey, 130; Marissa Porri, 115; Sarah Graham, 101
100 Point Club (Highest PPG average) Sarah Tracey, 1.238; Elizabeth Ross, 1.226; Marissa Porri, 1.19; Sarah Graham, 1.074
Most Points Season – Sarah Tracey, 45
Most Goals Season – Sarah Graham, 24
Team Leaders for Points – Four players tied with 2 years each, Marissa Porri, Elizabeth Ross, Sarah Tracey and Rachel White
Defensemen as Team Points Leader – Megan Teper
Most Shut Outs Career – Jacqui Parker, 9; Teraysa White, 9; Kristen Conners, 3
Most Shut Outs Season – White, 4; Parker, 3; Christina Aiello, 3
Sarah Tracey and Elizabeth Ross share the program honor of most points in a career, with 130. Parker and Teraysa White have been the most accomplished goalies, each winning 33 games.
Goal – Kate Sweeney versus Cortland December 8, 2001
Win – Versus Norwich January 12, 2002
Playoff Appearance – March 1, 2003 versus Southern Maine
Playoff Win – February 28, 2004 versus Southern Maine
League Final – March 5, 2006 versus Manhattanville
Following Selzer, who coached the team in its first season, Manchester went 47-52-5 in her four years as coach. She was followed by Eddie Ardito (2006-07), Jackie McMillan (2007-09), Sis Paulsen (2009-13) and Kristi Kehoe (2013-17). Maria Lewis was introduced as the program’s new coach in May, following stops that included a stint at UMaine, where she was named Hockey East Coach of the Year in 2012.