Published December 11, 2019


WAKEFIELD — Mike Geary is the new head coach of the Wakefield High boys’ hockey team.

Geary coached the Essex Tech boys’ hockey squad for the last three seasons, helping create the new program up from scratch. The Hawks’ first varsity season in 2016-17 resulted in a 2-14-3 record but Geary quickly built the program up as they finished 8-8-4 in ‘17-18 making the Div. 2 North tournament and went 8-7-5 last year, earning the 8th seed in the Div. 3 North tournament.

Geary, who stepped down from his post after the season, was chosen by Wakefield athletic director Brendan Kent to replace Jason Lawrence. According to Kent, Lawrence’s decision to step down — after just one season at the helm — came right before the start of the school year. Luckily for the Warriors, Geary was available and interested in the position.

“Wakefield has always been a community with a great athletic tradition,” said Geary when asked what piqued his interest. “Athletics and other extra-curricular activities have always been important to the school and the community. Wakefield hockey has a storied tradition and competes in one of the best high school hockey conferences in the state. Competing in the Middlesex League will make us better players, coaches and teammates.”

JUNIORS Cal Tryder (9) and Oliver Miller (2) will be playing their third season of varsity hockey in 2019-20. Mike Geary will be their third head coach. (Dan Pawlowski File Photo)

Wakefield will count on the health and physical education director of Lynn Public Schools to provide some stability to a program seeking a long-term plan to improve.

Geary believes that stability is one of the most important aspects in sports. It’s something the Warriors really need. Wakefield’s juniors will be playing for their third head coach.

“I would like to help grow the program long-term,” said Geary. “The best programs in any sport have stability. I’m most excited about getting into the grind of continuing to build the program. This includes setting good daily practice habits and continuing to work to improve as an individual and a teammate.”

The Lynnfield native shared two goals with his new team when practice started last week.

“The first is that I would like my players to have a special experience that they can look back on and enjoy later in life,” said Geary. “The second is to qualify for the state tournament. The experience of competing in the MIAA state tournament creates a special memory and builds even more school spirit for the student body.”

The Warriors made the tournament last year for the first time since 2013 with a 6-11-3 record. They fell to Wilmington 5-2 in the preliminary round. Wakefield was the last team in. They made it via the Sullivan Rule as they were above .500 against teams below Div. 1. The majority of the Middlesex League is D1.

Getting back to the tournament is certainly attainable for a group that featured plenty of young talent last year. Though Wakefield will miss the six seniors from last season, they will return leaders like forwards Cam Souza and Scott Elwell, defenseman Chris Coombs and goalie Luke Roberts.

Together, Geary wants them to set a good example on and off the ice.

CAM SOUZA (3) will captain the Warriors this season under new head coach Mike Geary. (Dan Pawlowski File Photo)

“Our expectation as a program is to best represent the Wakefield community, on the ice, in the classroom and in every day life,” said Geary. “I would like them to enjoy healthy competition in all aspects of their lives. Also, I hope that my players learn to embrace whatever role they have within the team to the best of their ability.”

Whether you’re a goal-scorer, penalty kill specialist or fourth line grinder, Geary wants you to commit to your teammates. The results will follow.

Helping the Warriors accomplish this will be Geary’s own staff including Bobby Liberge, who will work with the forwards.

“He has played and coached at a variety of different levels,” said Geary of Liberge whose coaching stops include two years as head man at Elon University.

Joe Markey will coach the defense. “He has played and coached under me at different programs,” said Geary.

The new coach is also excited to pick the brain of returning JV coach Dennis Melanson who will help him get acclimated to Wakefield hockey.

“We are thrilled to have Dennis Melanson returning to the program to work with the JV team,” said Geary. “Dennis has a wealth of coaching experience that I will look to draw upon during the course of the season.”

“We are excited to work with this group of players.”

The Warriors first scrimmage is tonight against Medford, 7 p.m. at Loconte Rink. Wakefield starts the regular season on Saturday, 7:45 p.m. against Reading at Burbank Arena.