With the 2021-22 boys hockey season officially over, first-year head coach DJ Pinkham reflects on the challenges and joy of coaching the Matignon Warriors.
Daniel Liu: When were you offered the opportunity to be the head coach of the boy’s hockey team?
Coach Pinkham: I interviewed for the job in the early spring of 2021 and was officially named the coach at the start of the summer.
Daniel Liu: How long have you been coaching in hockey and for what teams?
Coach Pinkham: I always helped coach at the goalie school that I went to and helped with summer camps while I was still in high school and college, but I really started to take it more seriously after I graduated college and was finished with my playing career. I was the goalie coach for the Lynn Jets high school team for the last 8 seasons along with being the head coach of several club teams throughout the year. I have coached with the Boston Imperials split season teams since they were founded in 2019 and I also coach for the Winthrop Middle School team as well as a summer team called the North Shore Stingrays that play in the FMC Future Stars league.
Daniel Liu: What made you decide to accept the opportunity of becoming the head coach?
Coach Pinkham: Getting offered to be the head coach of a program like Matignon is a huge honor and it has always been my goal to get a head coaching job at a Catholic Conference school since I started coaching so it is a dream come true.
Daniel Liu: What was your initial impression of the team?
Coach Pinkham: Prior to the season I made it a point to get to know a lot of the kids so I knew we had a good group of guys which having a good attitude and being coachable is a huge part to having a successful team.
Daniel Liu: What were your hopes and expectations from the team?
Coach Pinkham: I always have high expectations of my players and myself and I wanted to set a standard for the future. Expectations for my players this year was that they take care of business in school first and foremost and I am proud to say that we didn’t run into any trouble with grades and that everyone put their studies first. Secondly, I want my team to embrace challenges and show up ready to work every night and we definitely put in the time and effort as a group. Lastly, I wanted to make it known in the hockey community that Matignon was back.
Daniel Liu: Did the team meet your hopes and expectations?
Coach Pinkham: The team definitely surpassed my expectations. We had a group of a lot of guys who never played together before this year and had a pretty successful season. We fell one win short of our goal to make the playoffs which stung a little but there were a lot of positive things we can build off of.
Daniel Liu: What was your favorite moment from the season?
Coach Pinkham: There were a lot of great moments throughout the season and I could list a bunch but a few stick out more than others. Not just saying this because Danny is writing this article but seeing him work his butt off all season and being rewarded by getting a goal was pretty awesome to be a part of. Getting my first win as a head coach at home against Cardinal Spellman was something I will always remember. Starting the season 0-4 and then finishing 9-11 was pretty great, but I think one of the games that sticks out the most was how we really came together as a team against Concord-Carlisle. We really rallied together after they took a run at one of our guys and made them pay on the scoreboard in a tough road battle.
Daniel Liu: What was something you wished you could have done differently?
Coach Pinkham: I wish we could have made the playoffs, but I have no regrets. It was a great experience that I learned a lot from and we will continue to push forward and grow the program.
Daniel Liu: What are some words of wisdom you would like to share with the seniors?
Coach Pinkham: I sent this out in our team group chat after our last game but for them to enjoy the journey because the journey is the reward and not the destination. I couldn’t have asked for a better first senior class as they all contributed in their own ways and were just a great group of young men. I wish them the best of luck in whatever their next journey is and they will always be part of our Matignon Hockey family.
Daniel Liu: What are you looking forward to next year?
Coach Pinkham: I am looking forward to picking up right where we left off and to continue growing the program. We have a solid core group of players returning as well as some new faces coming in. We will continue to build the team up on and off the ice and win some more hockey games.