MVP Swan Song: Andover’s Lachance ends hockey career as NESCAC Player of the Year at Wesleyan | sports
Jake Lachance didn’t follow what has become a common path to college hockey greatness, but he certainly ended up on top.
He stayed at his public high school – Andover High – for four years, and now the defenseman born into hockey royalty has finished his career as one of the greatest players in the history of Wesleyan University.
This winter, Lachance won the NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference) Player of the Year – becoming the first defensive back to earn the honor since 2016, and the fourth player overall to receive the award since the conference’s website (nescac.com) began maintaining it. records in 2000.
He also became the third Wesleyan player to win NESCAC MVP, and the first Cardinal defensive back in program history to earn first-team All-NESCAC honors.
“It was definitely an honor to receive the award,” said Lachance, who was also a semifinalist for the Joe Concannon Award, which is awarded annually to the best NCAA Division II/III ice hockey player born in New England.
“The (NESCAC) award was never something I thought about during the year. The only thing on my mind was trying to win games and make sure I was playing well to help the team win. I found out about a week before it was released on the website. Coach (Chris) Potter took me into the office and told me. It was a nice moment. He was very happy for me.”
Lachance finished his senior winter tied for second at Wesleyan in points (26) and assists (19) and tied for fourth in goals (7), leading the Cardinals to a 15-7-3 record and first place in the NESCAC Tournament.
“Obviously, I would trade that award for a deeper playoff run,” Lachance said. “But it was a great regular season for our team, winning the first regular season championship in Wesleyan hockey history. It was something special to be a part of that and to be surrounded by such great people. It was an honor to be recognized in this way and it also shows that you have talented players around you.”
It’s been quite a hockey ride for Lachance, who was born with the sport in his blood. His father, Scott Lachance, played 13 seasons (1991-2004) in the NHL, and his maternal grandfather, Jack Parker, was the men’s hockey coach at Boston University from 1973-2013 and is a member of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. the fame
Jake excelled at Andover High. As a senior, he led the Golden Warriors to a berth in the 2018 Super 8 tournament – the only Eagle-Tribune area public school team to qualify for the tournament in its history (1991-2020).
“One of the most amazing things about LC is the path it’s taken,” Lachance High School coach Chris Kuchar said. “It’s all been work, passion and patience. Played JV as a freshman, didn’t quit, didn’t complain, didn’t transfer. He then becomes captain of a Super 8 team his senior year. During his four years of public high school he became the best defensive player in our league. That is rare these days, the child leaves too early. LC stayed. And he’s the conference MVP here.”
Lachan is grateful to have been at Andover High for four years.
“I had a great experience at Andover High, and I’ll never forget the Super 8 team we had my senior year,” he said. “Physically, I developed late, so I never had the opportunity to leave high school early (for training or junior), and it worked out really well. Being able to play with my brother Shane is something I will remember forever.”
Lachance then spent a graduate year at the Berkshire school — which he said was critical to his development — before choosing Wesleyan.
In three seasons on defense for the Cardinals, Lachance had 10 goals and 27 assists to go along with his outstanding defensive play.
“I gained more confidence throughout my college career as I grew more confident in a larger role,” she said. “Over the years I developed more attacking skills. It’s about being smart with the puck. You want to be strong defensively and make sure you are never out of position. Having a lot of points is about going up to our skilled forwards, and they make good plays to put the puck in the net.’
With his college career over, Lachance has reached the end of his competitive hockey career. While he has made peace with that, he knows he will miss the sport he loves.
“You can’t play forever, and it’s been a long and memorable career,” he said. “So I’m fine that this is the end. Maybe in the future I could see myself coaching or being involved in the game in some way. But for now I’m starting my first job in July and I’m excited.
“I’m going to make it a point to come to the rink every day, and hang out with the guys off the ice as well. Some of the best friends I’ve made have come from the game, and I’m going to miss being with these guys every day. The best part of hockey is the people you meet and the friends you make, and that’s really what makes the game so special.”