Sitting in the locker room at the old Boston Garden on a mid-March day in 1993, first-year Gloucester hockey coach Dana Knowlton did not mince words when giving his team a pep talk in between the second and third periods.
Gloucester was tied 2-2 with North Middlesex in the Division 2 state championship game 20 years ago this week, taking momentum late in the second period in a game, where it had been playing catch-up for the majority of the first 30 minutes. Knowlton simply shot his team straight.
“I told them ‘20 years from now nobody is going to remember the team that came in second today, but they’re going to remember you,’” the former Gloucester head coach said.
“It was incredible the look they had after I said that, I knew there was no way we were losing that game. There were a lot of great memories from that season and I’ll never forget the look on their faces in the locker room.”
The Fishermen would come out flying in the third period, and thanks to two goals in the final 15 minutes of play, they celebrated a 4-2 win and the school’s first ever state championship in hockey.
Fast forwarding to 2013, Knowlton’s words ring true. The 1993 Gloucester hockey team is still remembered and revered for its incredible state championship run that year.
Time for a turnaround
Heading into the 1992-93 season, the Gloucester hockey program was a program on the rocks. Gloucester hadn’t registered a winning season in a decade, hadn’t made an appearance in the state tournament since 1983 and hadn’t won a postseason game since 1968. Just one year prior Gloucester finished with a 4-13-3 record.
The city of Gloucester was also going through a rough patch at the time. Gloucester was mourning the deaths of three young residents who had all passed away in the last four months. A teenager away at college was shot and killed by another student on a shooting spree. A woman took her own life by jumping off the A. Piatt Andrew Bridge and a Gloucester high school student took his own life with a gun in a crowded GHS cafeteria.