Marty Pierce thought it was solely changing into to attend his granddaughter’s highschool softball recreation Wednesday afternoon, supporting her all through a difficult time.
Mount Alvernia confronted the St. Joseph Prep/Matignon co-op, throughout which the latter joined the alternative two on Tuesday as launched Catholic faculties that will shut on the end of the academic yr. Enrollment has been low, and Matignon is shutting down on account of an absence of funding.
It’s pure for the enduring former Matignon boys hockey head coach to be affected by the knowledge, having orchestrated a dominant 40-year run that produced 10 state championships and 20 league titles. This system was nationally thought-about a juggernaut from the Seventies by means of the early ’90s. He can nonetheless describe with good component the varied moments that outlined the historic stretch sooner than he retired in 2004, and along with it, the varied massive names that bought right here by means of this method sooner than having fun with Div. 1 collegiate hockey. Many moreover superior to the NHL.
“I used to be shocked that they closed. I really feel combined feelings of the closings of all these Catholic faculties,” Pierce said. “I’m very, very pleased with Matignon Excessive Faculty, I used to be there for 40 years. I had many nice athletes, student-athletes. I used to be proud and honored, and thought of it all the time, all the time a privilege to be their coach. All of these instances had been magical. Simply magical instances, simply pleasant instances.”
Whereas the itemizing goes on about what the neighborhood is shedding from the Catholic faculties’ closures, certainly one of many best disappointments comes all through the scope of boys hockey historic previous. It’s been a while since Matignon rocked Boston Backyard, nonetheless the impression of its accomplishments over three completely totally different a few years beneath Pierce has a particularly far attain.
Only a few may disrupt the Arlington reign beneath fellow instructing icon Ed Burns. Come the mid-Seventies, a model new titan had arrived beneath Pierce. A giant wave of experience poured in, and his teams prompted chaos on the best way through which to state championships in 1975 and 1977. Each totally different yr until the flip of the final decade, they’ve been the runners-up.
“Matignon was the primary Catholic energy within the mid-70s that went on a kind of runs,” said Arlington coach John Messuri. “I believe one yr, all 9 of their forwards performed Div. 1 school hockey. Different applications began to construct off of that.”
With many further highschool hockey video video games being carried out at Boston Backyard than there are proper now at TD Backyard, aspiring hockey players stuffed the stands to witness this method’s greatness. “Marty’s Mohawks” enamored hockey followers with their distinctive hair mannequin and overwhelming dominance, profitable 5 straight state titles from 1980-84.
Not even the 1982 Acton-Boxboro workforce, loaded with future NHL players Bob Sweeney and Tom Barrasso, may stop them in that run. By 1984, a number of dozen of Matignon’s players have been devoted to Div. 1 schools. When this method missed the state title recreation in 1985, it was the first time it didn’t make it in 10 years.
“I went to these video games (even earlier than enjoying),” said Suffolk males’s hockey head coach Shawn McEachern, Matignon class of 1988 sooner than having fun with at Boston College and spending 13 seasons inside the NHL. “Unbelievable video games. Unbelievable. The factor about enjoying at Matignon is that everyone that went there to play, that was the final word objective to play for Marty. Marty was a grasp motivator, he bought guys riled up and excited to play the sport.”
Watching his older brother’s Arlington workforce sort out Matignon as a teen impressed Messuri sooner than he launched into his private well-decorated hockey career as a participant and coach. Again sooner than legendary coach Invoice Hanson’s Catholic Memorial Knights dominated the scene to in the end help declare basically essentially the most championships in state historic previous, he was in awe of the opposing powerhouse.
“After I grew up teaching, I wished to be Marty Pierce,” Hanson said. “All people aspired to be him as a result of he was a category man and an ideal coach. To see one thing like that break down and shut is disheartening.”
Arlington Catholic, beneath former longtime head coach Dan Shine, caught as a lot as Matignon all by means of that prolonged stretch to create some epic matchups. Hockey had turn into a giant part of every faculties’ identities, along with the alternative sporting events between the two.
“We’re in all probability solely three miles aside, it was the battle of Massachusetts Avenue,” Shine said. “It was an ideal rivalry, the video games can be bought out, two or three hours earlier than sport day. If you happen to didn’t get there two hours earlier than the sport, you weren’t getting in.”
Each have been bumped proper right down to Div. 2 inside the mid-80s purely based on the size of the school, and that set the stage for Matignon to win two further titles in 1987 and 1988. Between the two of them, Catholic Memorial and the alternative Catholic Convention powers, the Catholic faculties’ reign compelled the creation of the Tremendous 8 in 1991. Matignon certainly not went on to win it, nonetheless reached the final word in 1992 and 1996, and gained the traditional state title as soon as extra in 1993.
To suppose that Matignon carried out a significant factor in two essential shifts all through the game’s native historic previous, to not have a school, is a tremendously powerful capsule to swallow.
“It’s a tragic day,” said Merrimack School director of males’s ice hockey operations Bob Emery, Matignon Class of 1982 sooner than having fun with at Boston School. “My years in highschool are my greatest hockey years, for positive.”
“It’s simply unhappy to see it go as a result of again within the 80s, it was such a enjoyable place to be,” McEachern said. “The varsity, they took such pleasure within the custom of the hockey program. If you win the state title at Matignon, there’s no faculty the subsequent day. We rode on two firetrucks by means of Cambridge to Matignon, the place the entire pupil physique can be ready for us.”
What it achieved, though, gained’t ever disappear. And Pierce has nothing nonetheless pleasure in providing such a historic identification for the small school.
“There actually is,” he said. “There was nothing prefer it.”