WILMINGTON, MA — This is a third in a series of articles celebrating Wilmington Youth Hockey’s graduating class of seniors. This year, WYH will graduate 13 boys from the organization. We, in the organization, are proud of our seniors. Many many years ago, the boys were given a jersey with a “W” on the chest and they leave youth hockey with a “W” on their chest. Some would never leave and others took many travels but in the end they finished representing Wilmington because they started a Wildcat and will always be a Wildcat.
This year, Wilmington Youth Hockey will graduate Ryan St Jean, Bobby Lord, AJ McKearney, Micheal DuCharme, Jarred Aucoin, Calvin Stafford, Steve Bowker, Nate Demico, Max Shapiro, Tom Worob, Joey Mirabella, Tom Robarge and Dylan Bresnahan.
This week’s edition: The goalies, Ryan St. Jean and Steven Bowker
Ryan St. Jean
Stand in any rink that Ryan St. Jean is manning the net, and you will hear bellows of sound echoing on the ice. The sounds are coming from behind the goalie mask. Ryan is not only a goalie he is the field general barking instructions, tips and encouragement. Goalies can be leaders on the ice too.
Ryan started in Wilmington Youth Hockey in 2005 as a buzzer. He found a love for the net and started to blossom under the guidance of coaches Joe Kippenberger, John Robarge and Jay Barrett.
Ryan found youth stardom early, as he represented Wilmington under the bright lights of the Boston Garden for the Mini 1-on-1 showcase shown between periods of Bruins games on NESN. It’s a long road of wins to make it to the garden, and Ryan not only did it once, he did it three times. Ryan appeared on the garden ice twice with his partner Tim Kippenberger and once with David Silveira.
As with many young kids, Ryan looks back on his years in youth hockey and loves his memories traveling to tournaments and games with his friends. Times spent with friends in the hotels, hallways and pools will always exceed the memories of the victories and defeats.
Ryan has high expectations for his senior year high school season; he is the incumbent starting goalie and the backbone of the team. Besides his coaching from the net, he is a very active athletic goalie with great instincts and anticipation.
Ryan is also a multi-sport athlete that will play lacrosse in the Spring. Next year, Ryan will start working full time in the family business. Ryan’s Dad Ray is the owner of St Jean Heating and Cooling and Ryan hopes to not only take over the business someday but continue to grow the company name.
On the last game of the season while Steven Bowker was a buzzer at the age of eight, he took his turn as goalie of the game and never looked back. From that day forward, Steve was goalie.
Steven has always been a good goalie, but even a better person. Always mature beyond his years and always a gentleman. Steve is a big kid with a big heart, willing to stick up for any teammate. In the locker room, he was always the first to arrive and last to leave. We should have given the keys to close Ristuccia when was finally dressed. In the locker room, he has a calm and a pleasant presence. Steve is easy to converse with and sat calmly with a smile when the room was chaotic. In the net, he has different demeanor, a little bit fiery. If a player backs in on him, he moves them. If somebody sprays a little intentional ice on him he will make sure they know it was not appreciated, if somebody crosses a teammate he will leave the confines the net to show his displeasure. Simply put, you want Steve as a teammate.
Steve looks back fondly on the great times in youth Hockey. Time spent with friends at games, practices and going away for tournaments. The 2011-12 season was highlighted by winning the Valley League Championship. In 2011, Steve won Puckstopper of the Year. Steve saved his best for last, serving as the starting goalie for the U18 State Championship winning team. Those games were some of the best games we have seen Steve play, making quality stops. Steve works mostly as a stand-up goalie relying on good positioning and anticipation.
Next year, Steve has big plans to start his career in construction. The first order of business for Steve is getting his Hydraulic and CDL licenses and working full time for RRR Excavation.
Goalie parents a special breed and most coaches will tell you a unique breed. Goalie parents will spend more money on equipment, more money on extra training, and will feel more eyeballs glancing their way when a goal is scored than the rest of the hockey parents. Ryan and Steve are both incredibly thankful for their parent’s sacrifices. They know that they owe their parents an appreciation of gratitude for making their careers so successful. Ryan’s parents are Ray and Tricia. They are the quiet parents, always with a smile and enjoying the play of the ice. Steve’s parents are Janice and Steve. They are the vocal parents that can be heard throughout the rink whether to challenge a bad call or encourage the players on the ice. Steve and Janice are both cancer fighters and survivors; their battles have been inspirational to the youth Hockey family. One family is quiet, one family is vocal, and they are two families fiercely loyal to their boys back stopping their teams.
Wilmington Youth Hockey thanks our boys for choosing our organization to spend so much of their childhood with. We will always remember you and hope you always remember us.
(NOTE: The above press release is from Wilmington Youth Hockey.)
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