HALLOWELL — Riley Boivin does not remember the hit that cost him two games earlier this season.

“I just remember seeing the video,” Boivin, a senior on the Cony/Monmouth/Hall-Dale hockey team, said of the hit in a Dec. 26 game against Gardiner. “It was kind of a bummer.”

Teammate Connor Perry also didn’t remember the hit he took in the final game of the regular season against Brunswick at Bowdoin College during his sophomore year.

“I was coming around the net, got rid of the puck and someone came in and I didn’t even see him,” Perry, now a senior, said. “I was done the rest of the game and the rest of the season.

“I remember seeing it on camera and it was not pretty.”

Perry missed not only the Rams’ quarterfinal playoff game against Lewiston that year, but also his entire junior season as a result of the hit. For both Perry and Boivin, the injuries have served as a reminder to savor their few remaining opportunities on the ice.

“I’m definitely not taking these games for granted,” Perry said. “We have three games left and I’m definitely trying to soak in everything.”

As first line forwards Perry and Boivin have each played a big part in the turnaround for the Cony/Monmouth/Hall-Dale hockey team. Last season the Rams missed the playoffs and finished last in the Class A North Heal points standings at 5-13-0.

This winter, however, the team finds itself at the other end of the standings. As of Monday evening the Rams (10-5-0) sat in second place in the Heal points in Class A North with just three games remaining.

“It’s been great so far,” said Boivin, who transferred to Cony from Kents Hill. “I’ve had an absolute blast and we’re going to try to keep the success going and keep it going into the playoffs.”

Cony/Monmouth/Hall-Dale head coach Chad Foye said it has been the speed that Perry and Boivin each play with that has helped elevate the team as a whole.

“(Perry’s) hustle adds a little bit of an element to us. He plays a little bit quicker than other guys,” Foye said. “His quickness and decision making really add a lot to us this year and his enthusiasm for the game, we’re happy to see that.

“…(Boivin) adds an element of speed to our team that makes everyone try to keep up with him and that makes everyone play a little bit quicker. That’s one of the things we had to work on this year.”

The journey to this point has had its bumps in the road for each player. Boivin said this last concussion in December was an eye-opener for him.

“I’ve had four previous concussions and that was my fifth one,” he said. “The first one wasn’t too serious but after that I did start noticing like some changes in the schoolwork and just my concentration level and everything else.

“…It’s definitely something we have to pay more attention to and limit the hits that cause them. There’s still way too many of those high hits and you see concussions more and more each year and they’re trying to limit them. I just think it’s a bigger thing than most people think.”

According to a 2012 study published in the American Journal of Medicine — ‘Epidemiology of Concussions Among United States High School Athletes in 20 Sports’ — an estimated 300,000 sports-related concussions occur annually. Of the 20 sports studied, football and boys ice hockey had the highest concussion rate.

As awareness of concussions has risen so, too, has an emphasis in proper technique such as heads-up tackling in football. Perry said his game has definitely changed in light of the concussion he suffered as a sophomore. While he could not play in any games as a junior, he continued to practice with the team and focused on seeing the ice better.

“I wanted to stay with them and practice every day, and then worked on keeping my head up and head up skating a lot,” Perry said. “That definitely helped me out with just seeing the ice better and not skating with my head down so much.”

It was a lesson that did not come easy for Perry, as the concussion had lasting effects in the weeks that followed.

“I wasn’t able to use my phone, I wasn’t able to go on the computer — no homework. I tried to go to school but when I looked up at the boards and the lights and everything it was pretty bad,” he said. “I missed a lot of school, I had to drop one of my honors classes just because the workload was so much and I had to battle just, one, not being able to play sports and, two, just trying to catch up on homework.

“It was a tough time but just working hard and staying with it was what helped me.”

Perry made an agreement with his parents and doctor that if he remained concussion-free for a year he could return to hockey for his senior season. Nearly two years removed from the hit and with only a few games still guaranteed in his final hockey season of high school, Perry is making sure to enjoy every minute of it.

“Like I said before, don’t take these things for granted,” Perry said. “In a couple weeks we’ll be done with hockey and that will be it for me. Just missing a year makes these things sweeter.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.