DERRY — The puck, with Jordyn Wasiejko’s name scribbled across it, will soon find itself on display among the treasured mementos of Pinkerton Academy’s rich athletic tradition.
That puck represents a new chapter in Astros’ athletics, as the first goal scored for the brand new Pinkerton girls varsity hockey team.
“It’s pretty amazing,” said Wasiejko, a freshman tri-captain. “It will be amazing to see my puck in the trophy case. It will last forever there. My family is so excited. They can’t wait to see it. It’s already been fantastic being a part of this team.”
Pinkerton opened its debut girls hockey season two weeks ago.
“It’s so thrilling to be out here,” said senior tri-captain Gabrielle Willett, a top defenseman. “There had been talk about a girls team here at Pinkerton for years, but I didn’t think it would happen while I was still at the school. For it to happen my senior year, and being a captain is amazing.”
The Astros jumped right into a varsity schedule this winter, instead of spending a year at the JV level. They stand 0-3-0, with losses to Bishop Brady/Trinity/West (7-2), Oyster River/Portsmouth (11-4) and Concord (5-1).
“We’re still developing, but it’s been a lot of fun,” said junior tri-captain Lauren Riviere. “Having the chance to represent the school and play with this group has been really exciting. Everyone is working so hard.”
THE WAIT IS OVER
The addition of a girls hockey team at Pinkerton had been something many like Willett — who grew up playing hockey but stopped when she arrived at Pinkerton — had been hoping would become a realty.
“I had been hearing about it as a possibility since my freshman season,” said Willett. “Last year, we signed a petition saying that we were interested in having a girls team. We had tried things like that before, but we had never signed an official written petition.
“Pinkerton is such a big school. We didn’t understand why there wouldn’t be a team. I didn’t think it would happen this year. But then we got an email saying there were going to be tryouts, and I realized it was happening.”
Head coach Scott Dunn, a former hockey standout at Trinity High School (class of 1991), found out about the opportunity while coaching his daughters’ youth teams.
“I’m on the board for the Manchester Regional Youth Hockey Association,” said Dunn, the deputy director of the New Hampshire Division of Liquor Enforcement. “I’ve been coaching there for five years. I heard about the job and applied and was hired in August.
“The group that came out has been great. We have eight girls that have played lots of hockey, three or four that had some experience and a few that had never played the sport. But they have worked so hard.”
BECOMING A TEAM
One player with hockey experience is Riviere, who plays club hockey for the New England Wildcats and grew up watching her brother, Ty Riviere, who scored 16 goals for the Astros boys team last winter as a senior.
“At the beginning I was nervous,” she said. “I didn’t know if we were going to be able to play hockey as a team. Everything was so new. But everyone has worked so hard and been so dedicated. It’s been a blast.”
Before the team was announced, Wasiejko had planned to try out for the Pinkerton boys team. She still plays on the boys team for the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs U16 team.
“I didn’t know about playing on a girls team,” she said. “I like the boys game. But then I thought that this could open doors for women’s college hockey. I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s been so much fun. The girls have been amazing.”
Wasiejko not only scored Pinkerton’s first goal for the new program, she added a hat trick in Game 2 of the season.
While the Astros know they face a major challenge this winter, they believe it will be a memorable season.
“It’s so exciting to be a part of the first season of the program,” said Riviere. “We feel like we are making a difference for the school and for girls hockey in the area. We are developing as a team and a program. We are giving all our effort every day.”