WILMINGTON, MA — This is a fifth 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: Tom Robarge and Tom Worob
Intensity. Whether describing Tommy Robarge on the field, on the ice, in class or walking down the street one word comes to mind…Intensity. Tommy’s intensity is not to be confused; he is a good friend, good son, respectful or may even be smiling on the inside. Tommy does everything with a sense of purpose and seriousness. The popular shirt or photos called “the many faces of Bill Belichick” would apply to Tommy in the same exact way. Win, lose, draw or “A”, “B” or “C”, the face of Tom is the same.
With that intensity of Tommy, he has grit in everything he does. On the football field, Tom is a thunderous hitter on defense. You may catch the pass in front of cornerback Robarge, but you may want to catch it and go down because you’re about to get hit. On offense, Tom is your most trusted receiver to catch a ball in traffic. On the ice, Tom is a hammering defensive defenseman. He has always been a blueliner; Tom never sought the glory of goal scoring at forward. Tommy just naturally gravitated to defense. He is strong on the puck and never one to make a glaring mistake.
Early in the football season during one of the scrimmages, Tom made one greatest catches ever seen. He caught a ball over the middle, arms completely out stretched, and the ball on his fingertips, while being upended with a big hit, doing a full flip to the ground. It was dangerous, it was scary and it was amazing. A couple of days later on the ice at hockey practice, the marveling hockey coach that was at the football game had to grab Tommy in line for the drill. “Tommy, what a catch. That was amazing…” In typical Tommy form, he gave an ever so slight smile, head nod, quiet thank you and turned around. “No, no Tom. I can’t believe you held on to it. That should be on ESPN”, another head nod and slight smile. He was done celebrating, time to do his hockey drill. Intensity.
Tommy would join Wilmington Youth Hockey after he learned to skate on Dad’s home-made rink in the backyard. At 5 years old, Tom learned to skate by mimicking his sister Danielle and her friends. The girls would skate the rink and young Tom would watch their legs copying their movements.
Wilmington Youth Hockey would give Tommy great coaching through the years. WYHA coaching tree of Jay Barrett, Joe Kippenberger, Joe Aucoin, Sean Benoit helped Tommy build the tools and skills to be a varsity hockey player. Most important, Tommy was coached for many years by his Dad John. Tom will always remember the time Dad spent with him on the ice and on the bench.
WYHA gave Tommy some of his favorite childhood times winning many tournaments and spending weekends with friends with fun tourney adventures.
Wilmington Youth Hockey is proud to watch Tommy have great year with WHS varsity team. Tommy is also a rare three sport athlete as when the hockey season concludes, he will be playing his senior season of lacrosse for Wilmington. As if being a three sport athlete was not enough, you could also find him working hard for a dollar detailing cars and having fun dirt biking and snowmobiling.
Tommy Robarge is one of the most supported athletes at WHS. The Robarge family is Wilmington through and through. The large family is always in the stands in watching every movement. Father John coached for many years. Mother Julie can be seen at every game along the boards or on the sidelines, as she donates herself as the photographer of the teams. I doubt there has been a game played when at least one of Tommy’s sisters Jackie, Danielle or Meghan were not in attendance. Add in the always present grandparents and Uncle Bob, Tommy has his own fan club. Uncle Bob and Grandpa Sonny’s presence until their last days will never be forgotten by Tom.
Thank you to Tommy Robarge for being a part of Wilmington Youth Hockey.
If there one person that can duplicate the intensity of Tommy Robarge, its Tommy Worob.
Parents will say they don’t have favorite kids, coaches will not. Tom Worob is a coach favorite. Tom is a man a few words but no player is more influential to his team. During the Wilmington Youth Hockey’s U18 team’s run to winning the State title, much was expected of Tom and much was put on his shoulders. Multiple times, Tom would be pulled aside before a big game, or an important time of a game and was told the team “needed” him. He fully embraced the challenge and without ever a cocky feel to him, he understands his importance.
On playoff Sunday of the State Title day, before each game Tom was told, “The team goes as you go. You set the tone. On the very first shift, I need everything out of you.” Other players feed off of Tommy’s play, he if a gifted playmaker and goal scorer but it’s the intensity and energy of his game that teammates feed off of. When Tommy is hitting everything that moves, back checking, and forechecking with relentless effort, the rest of the team follows. Of course, sometimes the intensity boils over into trips to the penalty box but secretly most coaches didn’t mind.
Unless Tommy is a baseball historian, he will never understand this next reference but it always comes to the coach’s mind when relating Tom’s impact on the team. Tom Worob is “the straw that stirs the drink” for the Wilmington Wildcats. Just like Reggie Jackson stated when speaking of himself and the 1977 Yankees.
Tommy came to Wilmington Youth Hockey at the age of 5. He first learned to skate with Scott Stafford’s instruction during Learn to Play. It did not take him long to blossom as a hockey player with the coaching of Joe Kippenberger, Jay Barrett, John Robarge and Sean Benoit. So many great childhood memories go back to Wilmington Youth Hockey where Tom formed his bonded friendships with teammates. He loved the tournament play and the fun times spent in locker rooms or hotels.
Tom is now in the midst of a great varsity season for WHS. At five years old Tom joined WYH and Scott Stafford would try to keep him upright on skates. At 17 years old, Tom would hold the State Championship banner for WYH. Now, WYH can watch Tom captain WHS in his last season.
Tom is no doubt thankful to his parents Chris and Jean Marie for all their support through his hockey career. Parents will sacrifice a great deal of precious time and energy to advance the youth hockey careers of their children, time and energy that will never be regretted.
In the spring, Tom will be manning left field for the Wildcats. Like a Tom Worob hit along the boards at the rink, the hits off his bat come with high impact as well. A swing of anger and the whistling of a baseball, that’s the Tom Worob game. Last year was hugely successful for the Wildcat baseball team and with the majority of the team coming back big things are expected this year.
Tom is not only a big success of the ice and field; he is most importantly a big success in the classroom. Always a strong student athlete, Tommy will be attending Providence College in the fall to major in Business.
Wilmington Youth Hockey wishes all the luck in the world to Tom Worob and thanks him for make Wilmington Youth Hockey is big part of his life.
(NOTE: The above press release is from Wilmington Youth Hockey.)
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