Boys, girls hockey teams both stand tall at Valicenti Cup
The 26th annual Valicenti Cup featured two thrilling games Jan. 26 as the boys varsity squad retained its possession of the cup while, via a shootout, the girls varsity squad claimed the coveted trophy for themselves.
Held that Friday night at Valicenti Rink in the Thayer Sports Center, the boys team hosted archrival St. Sebastian’s for a 5 p.m. game followed by a 7 p.m. matchup between the girls team and Tilton School. Both games ended 2-2 after regulation, but only the girls game went to a shootout.
Students, families, and alums arrived in droves to cheer on the Tigers and honor the life and legacy of Arthur T. Valicenti Jr. ‘51 P ‘75, ‘75, ‘77 GP ‘10, ‘14, Thayer’s longtime athletic director as well as coach of its football, hockey, and baseball programs. Many of those alums shared stories of their former coach and mentor, who died in January of 2020 at age 87.
Eager fans dressed in black and orange received rally towels and tickets for prize draws as they entered the rink. Between periods of both games, spirited fans received giveaways; Sebastian Keleher ‘24 won two tickets to a Bruins vs. Capitals game in February.
Prior to the games Athletic Director Bobbi Moran welcomed guests and led a moment of silence in honor of Boston Police Officer Pierce Norton ‘05, who died Jan. 11. Josette Chenaur ‘24 sang the National Anthem, and a crowd of over 500 enthusiastically cheered her performance.
The boys team kicked off their rivalry tilt vs. St. Sebs and got on the board in the first period with 2:13 off the clock when Brady Kudrick ‘25 scored with assists from Tommy Anderson ‘25 and captain Josh Halliday ‘24. The period ended with the Tigers up 1-0 and the fans eager for more.
The second period saw back-and-forth action as the Arrows notched a goal just 3:20 into the period to tie the game. At 3:53 Kudrick answered with a shorthanded goal to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead. The visitors refused to relent and scored at 16:37 to bring the game even at two apiece.
The third period was a draw, as was a five-minute overtime which left the crowd in a frenzy, and the game ended in a tie with no shootouts; as a result, Thayer, having won last year’s contest, keeps the trophy for another year. The Tigers named Kudrick as the Robert H. Ferriter ’73 MVP of the game.
Head coach David Hymovitz ‘92 shared: "Many of us were fortunate to have Mr. Valicenti as our coach, but whether you knew him or not, all Thayer hockey alums felt the impact he had on Thayer hockey and Thayer Academy in general, an impact which continues to this day. As head coach, I know I’m filling the big shoes of Mr. Valicenti as well as following up on the great job Tony Amonte ‘89 P ‘16, ‘18, ‘19, ‘23 did for many years. I’m honored to be in this role, and I’m fortunate to have Matt Collins ‘89 P ‘22, Bob Kelley, and Rob McGovern ‘14 coaching with me; we appreciate what it means to coach this program."
Said Moran: “I’m incredibly proud of our team and of our staff of coaches — not just at the Valicenti Cup, but always. Our hockey program showed tremendous class during the games. Coach Hymovitz mentors the boys in a way that they will remember for the rest of their lives. From what I’ve heard about Coach Valicenti, he was a tough cookie, but I’m certain that he would be incredibly proud of the work Coach Hymovitz and his staff are doing to build and grow the program while honoring his legacy to Thayer and to hockey.”
The girls game against Tilton followed with a 7 p.m. puck drop. Head of School Chris Fortunato P’26, ’28 welcomed fans to the game alongside Olivia Valicenti ‘14, granddaughter of Coach Valicenti.
The girls did not disappoint those who came out to cheer them on. Morgan McGathey ‘25 notched both goals for Thayer; Tilton responded with two goals of its own, and the game ended in a 2-2 tie, which brought it into overtime. The overtime proved scoreless; Tilton, however, agreed to the shootout to determine the 2024 winner of the girls Valicenti Cup. Kate Sullivan ’25 scored the winning goal for Thayer in shootouts to give the Tigers bragging rights and the prized cup. Tiger netminder Lizzy MacDonald ‘24 earned the game’s MVP Award.
“It was an incredibly special night for the girls to play in front of so many of their school friends, teachers, and family,” said girls varsity head coach Brandy Fisher-Bailey P ‘28, ‘29. “This was the kind of game that the girls won’t forget. Taking home the Valicenti Cup means so much to our team. Thank you to the Valicenti family and Thayer Athletics for providing such a fun night for our hockey program.”
Added Moran: “I’m so proud to have our girls play with such grit and win the Valicenti Cup this evening. I know Arthur’s granddaughter, Olivia, who is here tonight to celebrate with us and honor her grandfather’s legacy, is incredibly proud as well to have been a part of this program and be able to present the team with the winning cup. We’re excited to build the future of girls hockey at Thayer, and events such as this one help to build our foundation. It’s a great night for Thayer and our boys and girls hockey programs.”
Moran thanked the Thayer community for hosting yet another successful Valicenti Cup, but she especially praised Thayer’s advancement & engagement team for its tremendous support of the evening as well as the efforts of Thayer’s building & grounds and food service teams. She singled out Associate Athletic Director Brad Peterson ‘11 for his “tireless, behind-the-scenes work” in supporting parents/guardians, students, alums, and fans that night.