As part of a new feature, Patch will feature interviews with Chelmsford coaches on a weekly basis. Check back to learn more about the men and women on the sidelines leading the Lions.
We start with boys hockey coach Mike McGrath, who is in his sixth season behind the Chelmsford bench. McGrath has the team in position for a potentially deep playoff run, thanks to the consistency he's developed with players who he has known since they were playing at the youth hockey level.
How much does it help that you've known many of your players since they were in youth hockey?
I talked to them as young kids about what they’d have to do to make the varsity team and what they’d have to do to make the program stronger. That’s basically what we’ve done since I got here is we’ve gotten better every year. Those kids, like the (Tommy) Bishops and (Drew) Dawsons basically made an impact their freshman year and kept going ever since. Good coaches have good players. You don’t forget a lot or learn a lot year to year. Kids play hard and good things happen.
How wide open is the Division 1 tournament field this year?
Any given night you see a team getting knocked off that you think they would win. There’s a lot of parody and it seems the higher percentage teams are coming out of the South. So if we can position ourselves as high as we can in the North, we’ll be in pretty good shape.
How would you describe yourself as a coach?
Firm but fair. I get a ton of help from these guys (assistant coaches Scott Trahan, Zach O'Steen and Scott Moran). All of us work well together extremely well. We try to teach kids life lessons along with winning hockey games. There’s more to it than just the day to day hockey stuff.