Program HistoryUpdated Tuesday March 8, 2016 by Brian Boisson.
HISTORY OF LYNN YOUTH HOCKEY
The City of Lynn is a diverse community that holds approximately 100,000 people within the city limits and is bordered by Nahant which has a population of around 8,000 and is connected to Lynn by one means of entrance and egress which as we know it is called the Causeway. We are also connected as part of an organization known as Lynn/Nahant Youth Hockey. In the height of the Boston Bruins and the Bobby Orr era hockey in New England was booming, especially on the North Shore. It was then that the founding fathers of Lynn Youth Hockey decided to put together an organization that could compete amongst the other surrounding communities which is now know as Lynn Youth Hockey.
It is not documented or known when the pride of the city the Lynn Jets were born. This was a well known independent traveling team comprised of Lynn/Nahants finest Bantam age players who competed against the best competition in the state. It is believed that the name "JETS" came from the city's biggest employer the General Electric and had the patriotic colors of red, white and blue. In it's hay day GE employed as many as 20,000 people who produced jet engines for the military, although the city of Lynn had another large industry and were one of the first manufactures of shoes, the Jets seemed to be a better fit for a name rather than any connotation that could be given to the shoe industry.
Back in 1969 - 1970 dates back to when the first documentation of the newly organized Lynn youth hockey was established. This was primarily made up of all aged players who wanted to play organized hockey. It's been said that when the program started that it was comprised of just In-house teams with the exception of the Jets who were integrated as part of Lynn Youth Hockey. To become one of the jets was the pinnacle of playing hockey in Lynn. As the organization grew (It has been documented that there were over 400 kids participating in the in-house program alone) so did the traveling satellite teams and as each travel team was added a new identity was also given to them as well as adopting the color scheme of red, black and white similar to the Blackhawks.
In keeping with a theme, celestial connotations were added to each team as they developed. By the mid-70's there were basically two travel teams at each level and could be identified by their given names. There were two Bantam teams called the Jets and the Rockets respectively, then there were two Pee Wee teams known as the Comets and the Astros and a Squirt team known as the Voyageurs. Each of these teams competed in several different leagues and rinks around the North Shore area. There were games being played locally out of now defunct arenas such as Revere which is now a gym, Beverly twin Rinks which today is where indoor soccer is played, Danvers twin Rinks located on 114 is now a mall and the Boston St. Arena here in Lynn which burnt down in the mid 80's and now houses a strip mall.
Needless to say these were not the only venues that the organization would participate in, there were several trips made to Canada in which all eight travel teams would play a home at home series against their counter part from Canada. This went on for years and became an intrical part of the programs success as each player who participated in the event was a part of a cultural exchange that allowed players to be paired up with families from Canada, which proved to be somewhat of a challenge with the language barrier.
As time past so did the names and the faces of the organization. Lynn Youth Hockey went through several transformations and struggled to find an identity as each new elected board put their own spin on the program. Because there were four high schools in Lynn each having a hockey team, the organization tried it's best to not show favoritism by adopting any of the color schemes and mascots used by any one school. Shortly after the Blackhawks uniforms were adopted, the organization quickly changed it's colors to maroon, black and white, which seemed to fit for a couple of years. It then transformed it's colors into orange, black and white which was easily recognizable but obviously not widely popular as the organization changed it's colors once again to yellow, red and white. Once again like a camelion the colors were changed to black, red and white and the organization was now referred to as the Sabres which at least was an identity but really didn't have any relation or history with the city.
At present the demographics of the city has change with the times. Hockey is no longer as popular as it once was and the days of representing your town team has given way to select and elite programs. Our three public high schools were forced to merge in the wake of the changing times and in doing so have opted to call themselves the Lynn Jets, certainly a throw back to the original Bantam team and kept the original colors. Following suit, our four public Jr. High Schools have also joined forces and developed one team now and now use the Rockets as their slogan. That is why the current board of Lynn Youth Hockey would like to pay homage to the fonding fathers of Lynn Youth Hockey and stay with tradition and announce that as of today we will be called the Lynn Comets and now wear the colors of the Red, White and Blue. It seems to be fitting that with the past history of the organization and the realization that the steady decline in numbers will ultimately lend to a more regionalized team combining several other communities. This in itself has proven to be a hard pill to swallow because of the pride and dedication that was and has been put in over the years to establish a once competitive and thriving program. It is hard to relinquish and succumb to the fact that town hockey as we once knew it may soon be a thing of the past .