Last December, the region mourned as two high school hockey players from Falmouth died in a car crash. Just days before Christmas, James Lavin and Owen Higgins were in an accident after leaving their high school practice. The heartbreaking news hit the hockey community hard, particularly high school teams across the state. The King Philip High School Girls Hockey program was one of several to take time to remember the 17-year-olds who shared their sport.
The players on the team took maroon tape, the color of Falmouth High School, and wrapped two pieces on the handle of their sticks. They also wrote the numbers 10 and 19, the jersey numbers for Lavin and Higgins respectively. At their first game after the accident, KP hung the number 10 and 19 jerseys next to its bench, and so did its opponent Mansfield-Oliver-Ames-Foxboro. "I wasn't the only one who thought it was a good idea to get some tape and memorialize the boys. My whole team agreed and was excited to do it," says junior defenseman Katie Crowther. "We all sat in the locker room and talked about the incident and how sad it was, but after putting the tape on the sticks we all came together to play for them and knew that we were doing the right thing for our community, too."
The tape stayed on their sticks for the rest of the season right through the team's playoff game against Cohasset-Hanover. "Everyone on the team still has it on the top of their sticks," says Crowther . "It is just a reminder to people in the hockey world of what happened and the support the hockey community shares for their own."
Crowther added, "It's sad to see people that are like you playing the same sport as you and doing the same things in life, pass away. It's like I knew them."
KP Girls Hockey has a history of paying tribute when tragedy strikes people in the hockey community. Last year, the King Philip Girls Hockey team sent support to Denna Laing, a player with the Boston Pride women's team who injured her spine. The KP jerseys were arranged on the ice to make the number 14, the number Laing wore during her college career, and a collection of pucks was set up to look like a 24, her number with the Boston Pride. "Where we live, I feel like if you play hockey you are kind of considered family," Crowther says. "Your hockey team is your second family in-season. The sport is a big sport, but when something tragic happens to a player or family that plays hockey anyone who plays hockey is willing to help, whether they know them or not."
The King Philip Girls Hockey team ended its season on Tuesday in a hard fought contest against Cohassett-Hanover. The teams were tied for the first two periods with CH managing to score 2 in the third ending KP's season. The team finished the year with an 11-10-2 record.
(Photo courtesy of Jack Unger, Head Coach, KP Girls Hockey.)