It is a commonly known fact that ice hockey players spend a lot of time on the golf course when they’re not on the ice.
In fact, when a team gets eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, it’s generally assumed players will be out on the golf course before the ice in the rink melts.
So, it was rather unusual when St. John Paul II senior Ben Baxter, who was slated to be a captain on the Lions’ golf team this fall, opted to stash the clubs for some hockey preparation.
“I wanted to help the (hockey) team out and get in the weight room as much as I could to get ready for hockey season, so I didn’t play golf this year,” Baxter noted. “I think it was a good choice, and it’s definitely helped me.”
A right-wing with the Lions this winter, he has carried a good chunk of the scoring load for the 15-2-1 playoff-bound squad. He has had eight multi-goal games this season as well as a high of four goals in an 8-0 win over Sacred Heart.
He kicked off the season with a hat-trick against Stoughton and later got another hat trick, 40 seconds into sudden-death overtime, to beat St. Joseph’s, 4-0.
Baxter began playing hockey when he was five-years-old in the Barnstable Youth Hockey program. He has been a part of three state championship teams over the years including a state championship last fall, and he will be going out to California in the spring to compete for a national title.
“There’s nothing like high school hockey to me,” he said, “and I just want to enjoy every moment. Every minute, every practice, you can’t take it for granted.”
As a freshman, while playing for Barnstable High School, he separated his shoulder and was forced to miss the season and undergo a lot of physical therapy.
The following year, he opted to attend St. John Paul II and as a sophomore played defense where he picked up 4 goals 5 assists. The next year, he was also a defenseman and forward where he had 12 goals and 18 assists, becoming the program’s single-season assist leader and won the team’s Top Gun Award.
“From his sophomore to senior season, he was very instrumental in offensively leading the team in points, as well as playing very defensively preventing goals,” said St. John Paul coach Chris Kent. “A respectful young man who is a pleasure coach, he’s a great example of a student-athlete and a great role model for the younger players.”
At the present time, he currently has 27 goals and 12 assists and – like his hockey hero Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning – he was named captain for the current season.
“I’ve always been a fan of (Stamkos) ever since he got drafted. I just like his shot,” he said. “Everyone who knows me, knows I’m a big Stamkos fan. I’ve got a lot of his jerseys. I really like the way he plays.”
He added, “It’s really an honor to have been chosen as one of the captains of the team this year,” he added.
In addition to his role on the hockey squad, he is also a member of the defending South Division 4 Sectional champion Lions baseball squad where he can play first base, third base, and outfield.
20 Questions with Ben Baxter
1. Favorite subject: English
2. Favorite book: “The Outsiders” by S. E. Hinton.
3. Favorite food: Fettuccine Alfredo
4. Favorite movie: “Miracle”
5. Favorite TV show: “Impractical Jokers”
6. Favorite Cape restaurant: Baxter’s Fish & Chips
7. Favorite Cape hangout: Olde Barnstable Golf Course, and HYCC rinks
8. Favorite sports team: Boston Bruins
9. Favorite athlete: Tom Brady
10. Favorite ’pump-up” music: Rap
11. The best advice I’ve received: Prove people wrong and stay humble.
12. The person I’d most like to meet: Steven Stamkos
13. Hobbies and interests: Hanging out with friends, and playing hockey, baseball, and golf.
14. Own greatest sports moment: Winning a State Championship in hockey getting to represent Massachusetts in the Nationals tournament in California next April, and winning a state championship in baseball playing in Regionals.
15. Most inspirational person: My dad
16. Pregame rituals/superstitions: Shooting pucks with my friends and brother at my house and taping my stick.
17. Bucket list place to visit: Hawaii
18. Biggest sports setback or obstacle: Separating my right shoulder freshman year in hockey.
19. College plans/major: Doing postgraduate year for hockey at Bridgton Academy
20. Advice to young athletes: Enjoy every minute of high school sports. It really goes by fast, so do everything you can to work hard and make memories so that people will remember you.