When Massena senior Tyler Young was in the sixth grade, his favorite hockey player was the captain of the varsity team, Matt Hatch.
Tyler watched Hatch, who now plays for Union College, lead his team to a Section 10 Division I championship in 2008 and eventually the Red Raiders went on to win the state championship.
Six years later, it was Youngs turn to be in that position, as he helped the Red Raiders win their first state title since that 2008 season, earning state Player of the Year honors as well as being named the Most Valuable Player of the Times All-North team.
Its such a great feeling, Young said of the championship. Since Ive been a little kid, its been my No. 1 goal to win a state championship with the varsity. I looked up to the varsity teams so much, especially the (2008) team.
Current Red Raider coach Mike Trimboli was not on the staff in 2008, but he coached Hatch at other stages of his career and sees some similarities in the captains of the most recent Massena state championship squads.
Matt was a great penalty killer and Tyler is a great penalty killer, Trimboli said. Matt was a gritty player and he had great speed. Tyler has great transitional speed, and thats one of his strengths. He has the ability to control the speed of the game at any time. Matt was never overbearing, and Tylers not (overbearing) either. They are the kind of kids who lead by example, who say the right things at the right time.
Massenas 2008 squad won its state title with an overtime goal. The current team had an easier final game, downing Ithaca 4-1. But Massena did need some overtime heroics from Young to defeat Section 5s Fairport 2-1 in a semifinal.
I didnt even know what to think, Young said of his goal. I just started skating around, I was so excited. I didnt know what to do, it was so indescribable.
Young finished the season with 18 goals and 15 assists, but his value was beyond mere numbers. Even the overtime goal he scored was a play some players may not have made.
Early in the season he seemed snake-bit, Trimboli said. He was missing chances and he reached a point where he could give up or keep working. He kept working hard and worked through adversity.
He was the kind of kid you hoped scored those (overtime) goals. You knew he had the potential to do it. He knew where to be at the right time. He was at a point in the shift where he could have (gone to the bench) or continued in because a shot was taken. There would have been nobody there (for a rebound) if he would have gone to the bench.
He manages the speed of the game, tempo is the best way to put it. He has great vision. Hes a two-way player who backchecks as hard as he forechecks. Hes a kid who never takes a shift off. That goes back to leadership and people see that and know hes giving it all on every shift.
As soon as the season was over, Young posted on Twitter how much his relationship with Trimboli meant to him, calling him the best coach he ever had.
Hes just a great role model for me and for everybody, Young said. Day in and day out hell do anything for any of us. He works around the clock to make us successful. He talks with coaches all around the state and gets feedback, so we are well-prepared. Hes even been burning (DVDs) for me so I can make a highlight show for a recruiting website. During the offseason hell be there to train you.
Said Trimboli, He would understand if he made mistakes and I got on him. It would always be in his best interest. Hes made mistakes, but hes learned from them. You can tell when he made mistakes that it affects him emotionally. He didnt want to do anything to let the team down, or let me down, or the other coaches. Hes great for the young Raider nation to look up too, a great role model.
High school hockey is done and now Young will begin to focus on his future.
Like Hatch, Young is hoping to someday play NCAA Division I hockey, but it will take a few years of junior hockey before hes ready to find out if hell make it. But he does have a dream school in mind.
Im interested in St. Lawrence, Young said. I toured (SLU) with a class in my school and it was beautiful there. I loved it.