Three years since launching its girls program, King Philip Walpole Youth Hockey has established itself as one of the top girls programs in the state, with a focus on helping players develop a passion for the game while they build close relationships with their friends, neighbors and classmates.
“We are thrilled by the success, fun and development our girls have enjoyed at every level,” King Philip Walpole Youth Hockey president Randy Yanoshak said. “Whether experienced veterans, first-time players or somewhere in between, all our players have been able to develop a love for hockey and to show remarkable progress as players while having a wonderful time on and off the ice this season.”
KPW Youth Hockey is a non-profit community hockey organization for boys and girls from Norfolk, Plainville, Walpole and Wrentham, with roots dating back to 1972. Starting with two travel teams and a Girls In-House program in 2012, KPW’s girls program has grown significantly the past three years, with more than 100 girls in the program. KPW fielded teams from U8 through U19 this season, and plans to offer the same options next season. Tryouts for next season’s teams will begin Sunday, March 1, and players at all age groups are encouraged to join.
KPW has had one of the most successful teams in the state over the past three years: the KPW U14A team recently captured its third straight District 3 championship, earning a third trip to the state tournament in as many years. The U14 team finished second in the state last season after advancing to the state semifinals in 2013. In addition, the U19 White team finished second in the highly competitive South Shore Conference this season.
On top of that, many players from KPW’s first girls teams already are making waves on their local high school teams.
“Seeing 11 players from our first U14 and U12 teams already contributing to the success at Walpole, King Philip and even with the Bishop Feehan boys team, we know we made the right decision starting the girls program,” Yanoshak said.
With a team composed almost entirely of King Philip Walpole U19 and U14 players, King Philip High School rolled to an unbeaten regular season and earned the top seed in the MIAA Division 2 playoffs.
Three KP players are among the top 11 scorers in all of Division 2 — eighth-grade forward Kate Holmes is third with 57 points on 32 goals and 25 assists; freshman forward Elizabeth Furfari is eighth with 36 (11 goals, 25) assists; and senior captain Casie Curtin is 11th with 34 points (16 goals, 18 assists).
Senior goalie Molly Potts is ranked second in Division 2 with seven shutouts, posting a 1.06 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage against 266 shots this season.
In addition, freshman defenseman Jess Daniels joined Potts, Curtin and Holmes in being named to the Southeast Mass Girls Hockey League All-Star Game.
At Walpole High School, sophomore goalie Frankie Bonanno and sophomore Amanda Janowicz were key parts of a Rebels team that just missed out on the postseason, and sophomore Caroline Wilkins became the first girl to ever score a goal for the Bishop Feehan boys varsity team.
“The success our athletes are enjoying in high school is particularly gratifying,” Yanoshak said, “because it validates two major themes we considered when discussing whether to start a girls program: Families shouldn’t have to pay thousands of dollars to for-profit programs so girls can play youth hockey, and girls can depend on our program to prepare them to succeed in high school hockey.”
KPW’s goal is to continue building a strong foundation that ultimately allows girls to develop from first-time skaters all the way through high school players, all while playing with their friends, neighbors and classmates.
Over the past three years, KPW’s Girls In-House program has helped nearly 50 first-time players learn to play hockey, and almost all of them have gone on to play for competitive teams. KPW also launched its first U8 and U10 teams this season, providing an option for the program’s youngest girls players to compete with other girls. Add to that special events with the Boston Blades, the nation’s top women’s professional hockey team, and the Providence College women’s hockey team, and KPW has been able to offer a high-quality program on the ice that offers just as much fun off the ice.
“We are proud of the progress we’ve made so far, and more importantly we’re excited about what the future holds,” Yanoshak said. “Our players, families and coaches have worked hard to achieve the success we have, and we are doing our best to ensure the same dedication that has helped establish the program over our first three years continues for a long time to come.”
KPW Tryouts Begin March 1
Tryouts for King Philip Walpole Youth Hockey will begin March 1, when the girls teams take the ice.
The tryout fee is $50 per player, and registration information, tryout schedules and more details are available on the KPW Web site (www.kpwhockey.org).
Pictured: King Philip Walpole Youth Hockey’s U14A team recently captured the District 2 championship, its third district title in three years.