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Franklin - Local Town Pages

Hockey from an Unlikely Source

Junior captain Julia Flynn, having moved from wing to center this year, will play a key role if the Panthers are to get to the Division 2 State Tournament again this year.

By Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer

Franklin’s Julia Flynn came from a basketball family, but around the age of 7, she started to play street hockey with her new stepfather. Not too long after being introduced to the sport, she joined the Franklin Youth Hockey Program, and eventually would lace up her skates for the Spitfires, a club team out of Foxboro.

“I’ve always seemed to be competitive and picked the game up rather quickly,” Flynn said. “It was a fun, fast paced game that I really enjoyed being part of.”

A few years later, she joined a club team. where the adjustment from youth to club hockey was a bit intimidating at first for the Franklin native, but with the help of her Spitfire Coach, she was able to make the necessary modifications to bring her game to the next level.

“Playing on the Spitfires was totally different, and it forced me to improve my game to keep up,” she said. “Effort is key, and if you’re losing, you still need to put forth the effort.”

Tryouts for the Franklin High School team brought nervousness going in, as she really didn’t know what to expect, but found that there was no reason to worry as all the girls were welcoming. Upon the completion of the tryouts, not only did Flynn find herself on the varsity squad, but she also found herself playing on the second line. 

“I really thought that I was going to doing a lot of watching that year, but I was a big part of the team playing on that second line,” Flynn said. “I think our line that year led the team in points.”

According to Coach Mike Lubin, Flynn has been one of the team’s best players since her freshman campaign. During that initial campaign, Flynn scored 16 goals and 7 assists for the Panthers.

“She has everything; brings a high skill and talent to the ice with a hard work ethic,” the Panther Coach said. “She also has had complete confidence in herself and her game since day one.”

Having such a successful first season, Flynn knew coming into her second year that she had a role to fulfill, but she wasn’t ready for all the attention that other teams were going to throw at her on the ice. However, while teams were aware of her presence on the ice, she was still able to net 16 goals and add 7 assists.

“Other teams were now focusing on me more, as they knew who I was, and what I could do. It was definitely different with players matching up on me and playing me tough,” she said. “It’s easy to get rattled, and I wanted to retaliate, but I had to learn to keep my composure. I began to use it as motivation: I am a better player on the ice than in the penalty box.”

Coming into this year, Flynn found herself named a junior captain of a young team. 

“There was a lot put on me as I had to be a leader on the ice as well as off it,” she said. “I had never been put into this type of position before; it was an honor, but an adjustment. As a captain I want this team to play as one with chemistry.”

In addition to being named a captain, Flynn also found that she was going to be moved off her normal wing position and placed at center, a position she was not looking forward to playing.

“It was not my choice, and at first, I was really against it, as I was much more comfortable playing wing,” Flynn said. “I thought that the transition was going to be worse than it was, but two or three games in, it seemed to click, and now I am happy with the position.”

Although Flynn was against the move at first, it was something that Coach Lubin needed to do.

“She’s a natural winger, but we needed to move her to center this year,” the Coach said. Although Flynn had never played the position before, “the coaching staff knew that she was good enough to take over the position,” he said.

With the movement, another issue was brought to the forefront of Flynn’s game – she had never really taken a faceoff. However, she is now feeling pretty good at the dot, although she is not super confident in her ability just yet. At the time of this writing, it looks as though things have not really changed for Flynn, as the junior has already found the back of the net 17 times while dishing out 11 assists for Franklin. 

Prior to entering her junior year, Flynn wanted to focus more on the team – not only spreading out the assists amongst the players, but beating neighboring rival, King Philip (the two teams split this year). Individually, the junior center wanted to notch a 20 goal and 10 assist this season. At the time of this writing, she already had found the back of the net 15 times, while adding 8 assists enroute to her goal.

Following her high school career, which still has a year and a half remaining, Flynn would like to take her hockey skills to the next level. 

“I would like to continue playing hockey if given the chance after high school,” she said. “I would love to pursue hockey further, but right now it’s a ways away so we’ll see where it goes when the time comes.”

Lubin believes that collegiate hockey is something that Flynn can definitely play, but for right now she is fully concentrated on getting the Panthers to the Division 2 State Tournament once again, only this year they would love to get out of the first round, unlike the previous two seasons.