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  • Writer's pictureTAS Hockey

Twice As Strong Hockey Program Celebrates a Decade of Character, Commitment, and Community...

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

Milestones are achievable and usually with a positive outcome when the people working to rise above the rest have character, moral courage and commitment that knows no limits in sacrifice. Meet Mr. James DeMarco, a high school senior attending Whittier Technical School, playing hockey for Amesbury-Whittier High School Red Hawks and Mr. Domenic Mustone, another senior who laces up for the Medford High Mustangs. We are just about to start our spring training season which also happens to be a decade since the inception of the Twice As Strong Hockey program that was created in the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon. The idea stemmed from program director Michael Brown who had two nephews sustained serious injuries to include both losing their right leg during the second explosion on Boylston Street while standing in front of the Forum restaurant. They were both there supporting their best friend and marine veteran who was running the marathon.

Twice As Strong is a hockey program that encapsulates all the characteristics of people that look to the positive and never dwell in the hate and violence that disrupted a city and destroyed families. Twice As Strong Hockey felt this was an important year to recognize, reflect and pay tribute to a program that has players that we are very proud to have as members of our family.

James, 18 years young, and beginning his third season wearing number 19 with the Strong. He brings lots of experience, hockey knowledge, and true leadership qualities to the program. James will again be the backbone of our defensive players and we expect him to have a big influence on his teammates and we are very confident that he will be forceful every time he takes the ice. James knows that Twice As Strong is a team that metaphorically arose from the ashes and as a way to give Brown’s nephews a chance to enjoy high school hockey. But more importantly, when asked, James replied, “ The Twice As Strong logo on the front of the sweater is very important to all the kids on our team, we strongly believe in our jersey’s logo and having last names on the backs of our sweater isn’t anyone’s concern.” “We know our team's identity is to play as a group and we talk about that when things get tough, often on the bench and in the locker room." James DeMarco is obviously making an impact on his teammates, coaches and the TAS family. One thing you should know about James, he plays hockey for fun, he plays for keeps and he’s well respected by his peers. He is a kid that believes in giving respect to earn respect and from what we are told, he has already gained the respect of his entire community.

Additionally, James is electric on the ice and knows how to light the goal lamp, but even more interesting and perhaps more impressive, he is studying to become an electrician. In our opinion a very solid career decision and even though we know he’s a student first, we had to ask, any NHL plans? James was quick to credit his former coach, Mr. Magnus Karlsson during his younger years and helping him become the player he is today. But his dream is to become an electrician and we don’t doubt that he’ll be lighting up lights in the real world soon enough.

Number 5, Domenic Mustone, a flashy forward and according to the coaches is able to play any of the three up front positions. Domenic is the type of kid that understands hard work, dedication, and playing discipline is the key to being an affective hockey player. He is the leader and mentor for both our younger and experienced players. He also agrees that Twice As Strong is like no other club team. Dominic told this interviewer that, “Our guys know how much the team logo means to each of us and how very proud the family is of the players that get selected to play for TAS.’’ Domenic does have plans to attend college after high school and if he can add hockey to a very demanding academic schedule, [Mechanical Engineer Degree] well, show him the rink. Mr. Domenic Mustone said, " he found the Twice As Strong program through word of mouth and says, I am grateful that I ended up playing for a team that treat their players as young adults, with true respect, and understanding of skill level." The players believe that winning is vital but enjoying the game as they develop into more productive players is the focus and mission of the TAS program. Our team doesn’t feel the pressure and demands that overshadow the true spirit of hockey.

Both these players are leaders for Twice As Strong Hockey. These two are trusted, respected, experienced and willing to lead by sacrificing personal achievement for the overall team success. Both players don’t need to appear braggadocios about their careers because these are young men of moral character. This was obvious when they both were extremely complimentary to their teammates and particularly to Goaltender Nico Babine, number 30, and his talent and leadership between the pipes. James pointed out, “Nico is a true leader and good friend” and on many occasions stepped up in play as well as giving enthusiastic support in between periods citing a great come from behind speech to win a particular game.

Twice as Strong is very proud to have these young men and their teammates playing for our program. The concept of our program and our athletes recognize that there are something's bigger and perhaps more important than winning hockey games. As we start our tenth-year anniversary let us remember and dedicate our efforts this spring to the 2013 Boston Marathon victims, survivors, and their families to include our first responders.

In the end, it’s not always about scoring goals, stopping pucks or even hockey itself. It’s about moving forward, becoming a better person and turning life or personal obstacles into positive experiences as our players morph into good productive people throughout our society. Both James and Domenic along with their teammates are doing just that.

We are excited to be in our 10th season in the VHL, and we hope you will continue to support and cheer on all the players. Thank you and Go Strong!

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