Witch Hockey Perseveres – Poise And Resilience Are Key
By Elizabeth Cayouette-Gluckmann
When the Salem Witches Hockey team went to lace up their skates this season they were thrown for a loop. In previous years the boys had always combined with Hamilton Wenham high school, but this year they were to combine with a new team—Essex Tech.
This was a hard blow for all teams involved, but the Witches’ captains have carried the team through. The Hamilton Wenham varsity team was cut by the athletic director, leaving the players with only a JV team, a move which Salem senior captain Eamon Williamson noted made “players that have the ability to play on varsity frustrated.”
Though Salem was able to keep a varsity team due to their new partnership with the Tech, it was “hard going into the season with all new kids,” says captain Cam Twomey.
Twomey stressed the importance of the camaraderie between players, which grew as the season progressed. This improved chemistry has been apparent in the final weeks of their season, as they tied the Minuteman Tech 3-3 and won against Somerville 2-1 in the last week. Senior captain Ishmael Telemaco points out that this season was a change for a team that “was used to winning,” but is quick to add that “we’ve ended on a strong note.”
Williamson’s passion for hockey is clear in his description of the game. “It’s a fast game,” he says “but you get to work hard and it pays off quickly.” He seems to relish both his bond with his teammates and the physical exertion of the sport, explaining with a grin that players are on the ice for minute or minute-and–a-half shifts, but even after such a short time “[they’re] exhausted.”
Twomey exhibits a comparable level of enthusiasm. Playing “officially” since age five, he specifies that he “likes how it’s fast paced” and that “you can’t just win by yourself.
Of a self-described “smaller” stature, Twomey adds that he appreciates the sport for the opportunities it gives him to more than compensate for his size. “If you’re fast you can just skate around people,” Twomey clarifies “but I also like how there’s contact.”
Telemaco has worked hard to get where he is. The son of a figure skater, he’s played hockey since age seven. Telemaco credits his mom with “getting him into it” but adds that he quickly “fell in love with it.
Telemaco shares his love of hockey with Williamson and Twomey, but he offers a slightly different perspective on his experience.
Because of the high cost of hockey “there’s not really any Hispanic hockey players,” Telemaco explains. “You can’t just kind of play hockey…it’s not like basketball where you just need a ball and shorts and shoes.Telemaco goes on to express a desire for a future in which “we’d have a program where everyone could play” regardless of their financial situation.
Though this season did not go as the boys anticipated, they have made the best of a difficult situation and pulled their team together. This poise and resilience is a vital component of any successful captain, and these boys have shown that they have what it takes to turn adversity into an opportunity for growth.