Yarmouth, Maine, April 24, 2023: The North Yarmouth Academy (NYA) Girls Ice Hockey Team, along with teams from five other independent schools, will form the newest conference in the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC). Other programs in the yet-to-be-named conference include Austin Preparatory School (MA), Kents Hill School (ME), Northfield-Mount Hermon School (MA), Pomfret School (CT), and Worcester Academy (MA). For the first time since the NYA girls team joined the NEPSAC ranks, they will be eligible for conference postseason play and conference awards.
NYA Varsity Girls Ice Hockey Coach and Associate Director of Athletics, Matt Poulin, was the architect behind this new conference formation and petitioned NEPSAC for the addition. “I am beyond thankful to NEPSAC for approving our conference proposal, beginning in the 2023-24 school year,” said Poulin. “This will be a monumental experience for our program and our girls hockey student-athletes. While individual and team development, a positive prep hockey experience, and collegiate advancement are key focuses of our program, I also know that playing for something at the end of the season is an important part of being a high school athlete. This conference will achieve all of this with regular season conference games and a postseason tournament,” he explained.
That “something” the girls will be playing for goes far beyond a trophy. For Kailyn McIntyre ’24 and Lyla Casey ’25 (both from Brunswick), they and their teammates feel seen. “Since I joined the team in eighth grade, we have never had the chance to participate in a playoff or play for anything other than the pride of winning,” said McIntyre. “For the North Yarmouth Academy Girls Hockey Program, it is a huge step. Players will be able to create new goals and now have something to strive for throughout the year. I’m sure the motivation of the team will be increased significantly knowing that every game now has a true purpose. I think this will create a new name for NYA and leave being known as “small NYA” behind. In the long run, this is what the girls hockey program at NYA needed, and I believe Coach Poulin has done an incredible job since day one,” she continued.
Casey reflected her teammate’s sentiment and vision for the future of the NYA Girls Hockey Program. “Going into my sixth year playing for NYA, this is a huge accomplishment and a great opportunity for our team and the NYA Girls Hockey Program,” said Casey. “By adding this conference, we will be given the opportunity to compete with teams inside and outside of our conference and receive exposure for players who may want to play in college. Also, this transition will give leverage to the [NYA] Girls Hockey program when recruiting the best player, teammate, and family. I’m super excited to be a part of this new conference as it gives the team a goal and closure for the season, and I look forward to the great things the NYA Girls Hockey Program can accomplish,” she said.
All six conference teams will play each other twice a season in a home and away contest, along with their out-of-conference scheduled games. Only conference games will count towards postseason seeding.
“We are beyond thrilled in the creation and approval of our new girls hockey conference,” said NYA Athletic Director Kelsy Ross. “The opportunity for an end-of-season tournament experience is one that our student-athletes deserve and enjoy. We are eager to grow league comradery and rivalries beginning with game play in the 2023-24 season.”
Poulin would like to thank all those who supported the effort to create the conference. “This would not have been possible without the support of Athletic Director Kelsy Ross, Head of School Ben Jackson, and the entire NYA administration. I would also like to thank our partners in the conference for all their work and support,” expressed Poulin.
Ross added her appreciation for her colleagues, “I want to thank NYA Girls Hockey Coach and Associate Director of Athletics, Matt Poulin, for spearheading the conference creation effort. Without the support of our new conference peers, this would not have been possible, and we are grateful for their partnership as well.”