Centaur pg 7 2-18-21


Ice Hockey
Right: Woodstock Academy girls' ice hockey head coach Madison Millar. Above: The Woodstock Academy Centaurs practice on their new home ice at the RoseGarden Ice Arena in Norwich.


Madison Millar came to The Woodstock Academy last spring to serve as girls’ assistant ice hockey coach.
It didn’t take long for her to get a promotion.
Kat Hannah was introduced as the program’s new head coach at the end of the 2019-20 season and Millar was hired as her assistant.
Just a couple of months later, Hannah accepted a collegiate coaching opportunity and Millar was offered the helm of the Woodstock Academy program in May.
“I spoke with (head of school) Chris (Sandford) and he had the full confidence that I could take over and build this program. It’s obviously a whole new world for me, being in the U.S. and taking over the program. I feel really lucky and the girls have been awesome so far,” Millar said.
Of course, things have been far from normal for the program.
The girls’ hockey program enjoyed its first year in the Central Massachusetts Hockey League last season, posting a 3-8-3 record.
But the pandemic made that association impossible this season due to the fact that high school hockey teams were not allowed to venture beyond state lines.
It eliminated the majority of the 2021 schedule for the Centaurs.
The closure of the Jahn ice Rink at the Pomfret School also meant Woodstock Academy had to travel to Norwich to practice at the RoseGarden Ice Arena.
Just finding games has also been difficult.
The Centaurs played the Northern Lights club team Feb. 14 in Simsbury and played well, falling to the host team, 5-3. Eliza Dutson scored two goals and Julianna Buoniconti added the other. Celia Bouchard and Sydney Haskins added assists.
The Centaurs are scheduled to play just two more games, both against Daniel Hand of Madison.
The Centaurs will host the Tigers Feb. 19. in Norwich and are scheduled to play against Hand at Northford Ice Arena on March 7.
“You roll with the punches,” Millar said. “Things are constantly changing. You have to keep adapting to the state, school or general health guidelines. You don’t really have a choice but to be adaptable.”
Wins and losses, obviously, mean little.
“I have been playing hockey my whole life, seen a lot of coaches, played for a lot of coaches, and I’m confident in my own philosophies and what I want to teach the girls. It’s just a matter of implementing it and getting everyone on board,” Millar said. “I think for every coach, you want nothing more than to have everyone on the same ship, to learn and to grow, not only as players but as people. My goal is to help them succeed, not only in this program, but in the future.”
Woodstock Academy did lose players such as Chelsea Willis (4 goals), goalie Marie Gravier and senior leader Linda St. Laurent to graduation.
But the Centaurs are blessed in that they do have 16 players back from a year ago.
That includes Dutson, a senior who finished with six goals and four assists to lead the team last season.
Haskins, a junior, who finished with six points, returns as does middle school player Julianna Buoniconti (4 points). Other seniors on the squad include Kileigh Gagnon, Ciara MacKinnon, Maria Santucci, and both Maddie and Liz Silbermann.
Juniors Hannah Clark and Brigid McNerney; sophomores Bryn Miller, Liz Morgis and Louella Flanagan and middle schoolers Bouchard, Jade Hill, and Alex Lee all return.
The team will be bolstered by junior newcomers Annabella Chaves and goalie Mia Dang and sophomore Keynila Hochard, all of whom have hockey experience.
“We have numbers that we were not expecting. The atmosphere and team culture is actually really great. The girls all support one another. There is a variety of different age groups and to have the older girls step up and take care of the younger girls and have each other’s backs was awesome to see and great to walk into,” Millar said.
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy


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