Gov. Patrick Newest ‘Teammate’
By Chris O’Donnell
The UMass Lowell hockey team, fresh off its best season in its 29-year NCAA Division I history, was honored at the Massachusetts State House May 2, where it received a citation from Lowell State Senator Eileen Donoghue.
The stop was the latest on a ‘tour’ of sorts. On April 23, the team was honored by the campus and community at the Tsongas Center, and later received a proclamation from the Lowell City Council.
UMass Lowell posted a 28-11-2 record this season – its best ever season in its Division I history – which saw it capture the Hockey East regular season and tournament championships; as well as the NCAA Tournament Northeast Region Championship en route to the Frozen Four.
On May 2, the team was visited by Gov. Deval Patrick, to whom junior Josh Holmstrom presented a River Hawk home jersey, stitched with the No. 1 and Patrick on the back.
“He congratulated me when I presented him with the jersey,” Holmstrom said. “He asked me what year I was and wished me luck and to try to (win Hockey East) again next year. He was very nice and wished us well.”
The connections to Lowell were plenty. Along with receiving a citation from Sen. Donoghue in front of the Senate membership, the team also spent considerable time with State Rep. Sean Garballey
'07 (D-Arlington); and Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, a noted fan of the NHL and college game.
“He was very impressive,” Holmstrom said of DeLeo. “He knew a lot about the team and the process. He knew that we kind of struggled to start the year. He was very knowledgeable. I thought it was great that someone so high up was so knowledgeable about the game.”
The team was without its coaching staff, each of whom is in attendance at the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) and Hockey East annual meetings in Naples, Fla. The team was accompanied by Head Equipment Manager Sean Patno and 29-year voice of the River Hawks, Bob Ellis.