When Matthew Boldy was chosen 12th by the Minnesota Wild at the National Hockey’s annual draft in June, the town of Millis suddenly was front and center when the talented 6-foot-2, 196-pound left wing became a first-round selection.
As the draft progressed into the sixth round, Millis again was in the spotlight after Patrick Moynihan was chosen by the New Jersey Devils. Both skaters, who live in Millis and are good friends, have scholarships to Division 1 colleges — Boldy at Boston College and Moynihan at Providence College. Boldy, a left wing, and Moynihan, who can play center or right wing, will play for their respective colleges this winter.
The town of Millis isn’t exactly a hotbed for producing pro hockey prospects. Its high school, which once fielded a varsity squad in the Tri Valley League in the 1970s, had to dissolve that program. Now, if a Millis High athlete wants to play ice hockey, the school offers prospective players a chance to compete in a co-op venture with Hopedale High.
When Boldy and Moynihan had their names called at the draft, their hometown not only was publicized, but also was mentioned in a plethora of Internet stories.
Neither Boldy nor Moynihan played for Millis High, but after the draft, they noted how unusual it was for a small town to be thrust into hockey’s limelight. “It’s crazy how a small town has two hockey players going to Division 1 colleges, and both getting drafted by NHL teams,’’ Boldy emphasized. Moynihan said: “It doesn’t matter where you’re from. If you’ve got passion for a sport and an intense work ethic, good things happen.’’
The 18-year-old Moynihan is a native of Millis. He attended the Clyde Brown Elementary School (K-through Grade 4) and his middle school years (Grades 5-8) were at the junior-senior high school. He later attended Noble & Greenough in Dedham as a freshman and sophomore before leaving for the National Team Development Program in Michigan.
Also 18, Boldy was born in Millville and attended elementary school there. He later lived in Hopedale before moving to Millis. While in Millis, he chose to attend Medway schools (Grades 4-9). As a freshman at Medway High, he hit .400 in baseball on the frosh squad and he was the No. 3 golfer on the varsity. As a sophomore, he enrolled at the Dexter School in Brookline before joining the national development program.
Boldy, who played youth hockey for seven years with the South Shore Kings in Foxboro, developed a love for hockey by watching his older brother (Mike) compete. Moynihan played nine years of junior hockey in Marlboro with the Minuteman Flames.
Both were excited to be drafted after spending two years in the national program with the under-18 team that competed in the United States Hockey League. They both battled junior league competition and also faced off against colleges like Harvard, Boston University, North Dakota and Dartmouth. The 6-foot-2, 196-pound Boldy scored 33 goals and had 48 assists in 64 games last season while Moynihan scored 19 goals and assisted on 27 others in 64 contests.
“I was a bit nervous,’’ said Boldy, who attended the draft in Vancouver. “I wasn’t sure where I’d go but it’s a dream come true. I’m super excited. Minnesota is an awesome place to play and to live. But, what’s important is to establish myself as a quality player at BC. I’ll take it one year at a time and see what happens.’’
Moynihan, who’ll be facing Boldy when PC battles the Eagles in Hockey East action, was thrilled to be selected by New Jersey. “It’s an unbelievable feeling,’’ he said. “The Devils are a great organization. I grew up as a Bruins fan and thought about a pro hockey career since the fourth grade. But, I’ll go one day at a time and strive to be the best I can be at PC. I’d like to help them win a championship.’’
The 5-foot-11, 183-pound Moynihan watched the draft with his parents (Patrice and Michael) and twin sister (Ciara) in Millis. He rates a victory over Canada in the Under-18 World Championships in Sweden as his most memorable game. “It was my last game for the national team and the U.S. beat Canada for a bronze medal,’’ he recalled. “Canada is our rival and it’s always a challenge to defeat them. I didn’t get any points but it’s a game I’ll always remember.’’
Boldy’s effort in the All-American Prospects Game in Minnesota during his second year with the development program rates No. 1. He scored two goals, including the game-tying tally with 1:07 left in regulation, and assisted on the game-winning goal with just 36 seconds left in the game. The then-17-year-old had a team-high six shots on goal in a 6-4 victory in the annual game that showcases top American-born NHL draft prospects.
“I was chosen as the MVP,’’ he noted. “There were a lot of scouts at the game and it was kind of ironic that the game was played at the XCel Energy Center, which is the Minnesota Wild’s home arena.’’
Boldy said that getting selected 12th in the draft is “cool’’ but he’s acutely aware that it doesn’t mean much. “It’s what happens later,’’ he emphasized. “It’s about what you do after signing a contract.’’
Both skaters have similar strengths that should be factors as they progress through college and more than likely in a minor-league affiliate after they sign contracts. Boldy is skilled and technically solid. He’s also mentally and physically tough, has a high hockey IQ, his shot is hard, and his release is quick. Moynihan is also a high IQ player who’s versatile, focuses on leadership and also has a hard shot. Mentally tough, he’s also quick on his feet.
Immediately after the draft, Boldy attended the Wild’s rookie orientation camp. “It was a five-day stretch,’’ he said. “The days were all good and I had fun. We were watched closely.’’
The 2019 NHL draft had a Millis flavor in the first and sixth rounds. Boldy and Moynihan pursued their dream to play hockey in college and in the pros by competing in a national program, and they both were drafted.
But, best of all, they know their roots. As Moynihan concluded: “Going to Millis schools was a good time; it’s a small town where everyone knows each other. And, I’ve got a great group of friends.’’
Matthew Boldy and Patrick Moynihan should be top-notch college and pro hockey players going forward and they’re already outstanding ambassadors for their hometown.