A Bumpy Road to the Bobwhites’ State Championship


The Bobwhites celebrate their success. Photo Credit: Messenger Photographer Ari Beauregard

Rachel Needleman, Writer

The Bellows Free Academy, St. Albans’s Bobwhites are the new 2021 Division 1 state champions. The Bobwhites are now back-to-back champions as they beat the Essex Hornets in a 3-2 win last Wednesday night at Leddy Park for the championship. This resulted in a great feeling for the team, but the road to the championship was bumpy.

At the beginning of the playoffs, with the quarterfinals around the corner, the Bobwhites were ready to play Stowe; however, Stowe had to forfeit, so the Bobwhites prepared for the semi-finals against Champlain Valley Union High School.

Head Coach Toby Ducolon, and the players, were informed the day of the game, March 20, that they were playing CVU for “the championship game,” Ducolon said.

However, after the thrilling 1-0 win the Bobwhites had over CVU, the following Monday before practice, Ducolon said they were then told “they were playing for the championship game” against Essex that Wednesday night, March 24. 

Junior Assistant Captain Mattheau Merrill (’22) said that “[They] had a rough week,” since they thought they were named champions after the CVU game.  However, Merrill added, “[After] finding out that we were playing again, we were all really excited, especially being able to play Essex for the championship because we knew we had something to prove.” 

After the shocking news, “everyone was able to deal with the surprising news, and we all responded well [to it],” Senior Captain Christian Vallee (’21) said. 

Ducloun said that the team “Did unbelievable [responding] and handling the confusion [about playoffs],” and on “Tuesday and Wednesday [they were] focused and energized [for the championship game].”

After the crazy week of news, the team was ready for the championship game, winning 3-2 over Essex.

Merrill shared how the team felt after the game:  “It was really surreal and a really good feeling, especially with the group of guys we had.” 

Even though the road to the playoffs was a bumpy one, Merrill added how proud he was in his team to “overcome adversity.”  It “shows what BFA hockey and the community is all about,” Merrill said.