With the start of hockey season just a few short weeks away, and two of his student-athletes listed as “players to watch” by NHL Central Scouting 2023, Boys Varsity Hockey Head Coach Alan Thompson ’04 is cautiously optimistic about his team’s chances.
“I usually don't get too optimistic going into the season in terms of telling people how good we're going to be because there are just so many unknowns,” Thompson says.
“But I would be disappointed this year if we weren't in contention for an Elite 8 spot again come the end of February.”
The team is led by a strong group of seniors with good on-ice skills and leadership qualities, Thompson said. And two of those athletes - Jake Boulanger ’24 and Caeden Herrington ’24 - were just listed on NHL Central Scouting’s Preliminary Players to Watch List for the 2024 NHL Draft.
The list is a compilation of the top draft-eligible prospects throughout North America and Europe. Revised versions of the list will be published midseason and in March, in advance of the NHL Draft in June. While inclusion on the list doesn’t guarantee a spot in the draft, making the list means a player is one of the best in the country for his age group. This year, the list includes athletes born in the years 2005 and 2006.
“It’s really good to make that list,” Thompson says. “It means you’re typically one of the better players for your age group in the country.”
Thompson has high hopes for both Boulanger and Herrington this year.
“This is Boulanger’s fourth year, so he knows prep school hockey better than anybody,” Thompson says. “He scored some really big goals for us last year, and we’ll look to have him improve on those numbers this year. He’ll be an integral part of our forward group.”
As for Herrington, a player who has already committed to playing Division 1 hockey at the University of Vermont?
“In my opinion, he’s a top-10 defenseman in all of prep school hockey,” Thompson says. “We’re looking for him to have a big year and lead our defensive group.”
While both Caeden and Herrington say they were honored to be included in the NHL Central Scouting List, their true aim is to help their team be successful on the ice this season. Both players say their goal is to lead their team to an Elite 8 victory.
“I feel this may be one of the best teams I've ever played on from a talent and hardworking perspective,” says Herrington, who may pursue a business major in college. “I feel that we have the leadership and determination in the room to take us very far this season.”
His teammate agrees. “I feel the talent and culture of the team are going to be the best it's been in my four years here,” says Boulanger, who plans to study environmental engineering in college and then pursue environmental law. “On a personal level, I want to compete every day and have no regrets at the end of my last season as a Bull.”
The Boys Varsity Hockey team will play its first game of the season at home on Nov. 17. Coach Thompson and his players are looking forward to it.
“We have good depth up front, good depth defensively, and two really good goaltenders,” Thompson says. “So yeah, we're excited. Ryan Nolan ’24 has had a really strong fall and will lead our group in net this season.”