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The Yankee Express

Teammates Come First

By Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer

Many parents sign their children up to get them on the ice to learn to skate at a very young age. While a lot of those kids enjoy the learn to skate programs just to skate, some gravitate toward ice hockey with their new found skills. In the case of Grafton’s Olivia Viens, she was put on the ice by her father to eventually play hockey like her older brother.
The now junior found that she really enjoyed the sport of hockey and had an amazing time with her experience on the ice. Viens soon found herself playing youth hockey for Grafton before moving onto club teams. First she hooked up with the Lady Crusaders out of Worcester and then the Minuteman Lady Flames in Marlboro, a team she still plays for today.
The Grafton native gravitated toward the forward position after trying out all the other positions and although she can play all three positions on the offensive side of the puck she prefers center. Growing up playing the sport, she knew that she wanted to eventually play high school hockey. Unfortunately, Grafton did not have a team of its own.
“I knew going in that Grafton was part of a co-op team in high school and that was ok as long as I got to play hockey on that level,” Viens said. “The opportunity would be there, and I planned on trying out for the team as hockey is my sport.”
Viens also plays field hockey for the high school and enjoys it as well, but she has been playing ice hockey longer and has a deep love for the sport. She has tried lacrosse and dance, but just wasn’t into either of them. Field hockey is very similar to ice hockey, just played on a different surface and she believes that is why she likes the sport as well. 
However, while she enjoys playing the game of hockey she also enjoys doing it with her teammates.
“I think I like the sport because it has a lot to do with my teammates,” she said. “The connection that we all have while laying the game is special and I really enjoy it.”
Playing hockey for a co-op team can be difficult, especially if the home team is not your home town. Viens plays hockey for Auburn High School and although there were some minor issues in the beginning, it doesn’t bother her anymore.
“It is tough having to go to another school for practices and games, but it’s only 20 minutes away. The toughest part was not knowing anyone on the team except for the girls that came from Grafton,” she said. “After making the varsity team it was definitely scary not knowing anyone or what to expect, but as the season went on I found that the girls on the team were welcoming and very friendly.”
As a freshman Viens found herself playing a considerable amount of time for the Rockets and while she does enjoy the occasional goal she would much rather be setting up her teammates for success.
During her freshman campaign the Grafton hockey player was able to notch 20 points that season and then upped her total to 31 points during her sophomore year. At the time of this writing, which was nine games into the season she already had accumulated 21 points. The pace would most likely put her over the 40-point mark by the end of the year leaving her just short of her ultimate goal.
“When I entered high school I set a goal for myself – to score 100 points before my high school career came to an end,” Viens said. “Right now, I’m at 72 and with more than a season and a half still to play; I think that I should be able to accomplish that goal.”
Viens went on to say that reaching that milestone would mean a lot to her as she set the goal up some time ago and she has been working extremely hard to achieve it. She knew that the goal wouldn’t be easy, but she wanted something that she could challenge herself with. It is rather possible that she could accomplish the feat by the end of her junior season, but most likely the mountain will be climbed in the early part of her senior campaign with Auburn.
Prior to this season getting underway Viens continued to play in the fall with the Lady Flames and found herself going to the gym a lot more, especially during the summer when she had no hockey going on. 
In playing both field hockey and ice hockey she feels the two sports help improve her skills. She noted that while on the field they use the stick to toe drag the ball and that in turn has helped her on the ice with her stick handling.
In addition to eclipsing the 100-point plateau, Viens also wanted to come into the season hoping to lead her team and have a positive impact on them. She would very much like to get this team back into the State Tournament and win. 
Over the past two season’s Auburn has been able to punch their ticket to the Division 1 State Tournament only to find themselves heading home after the first round. The Rockets have been the 27th and 26th seeds going into the tournament over the past two years but unfortunately were eliminated by Shrewsbury and Bishop Feehan before they could get anything going. Currently sitting at 4-5 Viens strongly believes that Auburn will advance into the post-season and win a game or two.
Although still having a year and a half to play for the Rockets and many games still ahead on the schedule Viens has been thinking about the future.
“I would eventually really like to play hockey in college,” she said. “II like going to college hockey games and have been aspiring to play at that level since about middle school.”
When she does get to play on the collegiate level, she knows that there will not be a lot of time left for field hockey. If she does get a chance to continue with that sport, it will most likely be with a club team. 
For now, she has her sights set on reaching 100 points and helping to get her teammates into the post-season and winning at a few games.