By Jean DePlacido
---- — What better time for a high school hockey player to be on fire than during the Super 8 tournament? Ara Nazarian of Boxford, a Malden Catholic sophomore, played a huge role in helping the Lancers win their third straight Super 8 title and second of his young career.
Shortly after winning it all at the TD Garden last month, Nazarian verbally committed to play hockey at the University of New Hampshire. The 5-foot-10, 170 pound center scored nine goals and had five assists in the tournament, including four big short- handed tallies. During the regular season he led the team in scoring with 26 goals and 22 assists.
“I felt UNH was the perfect fit for me,” said Nazarian. “I had talked to the coaches and when I went up there to visit I really liked their style of play. I know it’s very early, but the whole process started my freshman year. I think I made the right decision.”
Other colleges were looking to land Nazarian including a couple of ECAC schools and a few in the Midwest. Following his spectacular performance in the Super 8 interest definitely grew.
“About two or three weeks after the tournament ended I commited,” said Nazarian. “It feels great to get it over with and focus on getting better. I skate with my dynamic training program and also work with Mike Boyle’s strength and conditioning program four nights a week.
“I want to keep improving, especially working on speed and foot work. My goal is to keep getting better all around.”
Nazarian began skating when he was three-years old and played in the Masco Tri-Town house league. He went from there to the Islanders, and was coached by Fran Murphy and his MC coach John McLean. Nazarian played for the Valley Jr. Warriors in the Empire League and then spent time with the Middlesex Braves under McLean.
“I’ve been with coach McLean almost my whole life,” said Nazarian, who said he plans to stay at Malden Catholic next year. “I’ve always been a center, although I have played wing here and there. I really like being at center; that’s where I feel most comfortable.”
Nazarian played baseball for the Lancers as a freshman, but is now devoting all his time and energy to hockey. He skates with some Malden Catholic teammates and a few players from St. John’s Prep at Dynamic Skating (McLean is the program’s director) in Wilmington. This summer he will continue skating, but it will be at Merrimack College.
“We’re going to have a really good team at Malden Catholic next year,” said Nazarian. “Our young guys on the third line will step it up, and I’m hoping we can keep the championships coming. After that I want to play good hockey at UNH, and then see what happens from there.”