Aug. 25, 2006
The NHL’s loss is the Warriors’ gain.
As we all know, the league’s lockout turned the 2004-05 into a total loss for hockey fans everywhere. But, as things worked out, the loss of that season turned out to be a major gain for the Jr. Warriors.
Bobby Carpenter decided to come home – and now the Warriors have him!
“During the lockout, I started to think about whether I really wanted to go back,” the Peabody native at St. John’s Prep product said recently, talking about his coaching duties with the New Jersey Devils. “I had been thinking the whole time, I don’t know if I want to do that anymore.”
So, the first American to score 50 goals in a National Hockey League season decided to pack up and come home, to the North Shore of Massachusetts. He wanted to be here with his wife, his kids, and with his dad, who was in the midst of serious medical problems.
The NHL’s loss turns out to be the Warriors’ gain – Carpenter, the owner of three Stanley Cup rings (one as a player, two as an assistant coach), is the new Director of Program Development for the Jr. Warriors.
“You don’t get a guy like Bobby Carpenter to come work with your program every day,” Warriors player development head Fred Devereaux said. “When we had a chance to add someone like this, with the great hockey and local background, it was a no-brainer. We’re just thrilled to have him here with us.”
And Carpenter, the third pick of the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, isn’t the only former Bruin to climb aboard – Bob Sweeney will be coaching the Squirt Major Elite Warriors. Carpenter will have one of his three kids playing for Sweeney and another playing for Paul Kurker’s Peewee Major Elites. Note: the youngest of Carpenter’s three kids is a karate expert – at age 8 – and isn’t playing hockey.
Carpenter’s role? “I don’t really know – we just got this together a few days ago,” he said. “I’m here to spend time with my kids and do whatever they need me to do here. I can be on the ice with the Junior team every morning. That’s perfect for me. If the Bantam team needs a little work, if the Junior B team needs some help, I’m there.”
Says Jr. Warriors coach/general manager Andy Heinze, whose brother was a teammate of both new additions to the Warrior staff: “I don’t see how any kid in this program won’t benefit from having someone like this working here. Just look at his record.”
Carpenter scored 320 goals in an NHL career that went from Washington to the New York Rangers to Los Angeles to Boston back to Washington and finally to New Jersey – and became a strong two-way player as his career evolved. He got into coaching with the Devils, both as an assistant in the NHL and minor leagues and spent one year as the head coach of the Albany River Rats.
Now, he and his family have moved to North Reading. His dad is strong again, the kids are settled. All is well. “We were in a position where we were going to be stuck in New Jersey 10 more years because of school,” Carpenter says. My wife (Julie) is from here and we decided we wanted to come back home. It’s unbelievable to be able to come back to where you were born and raised.”
And the Warriors?
“We did a lot of homework,” Carpenter said. “I’ve talked to a lot of people, I talked to everybody I know and this was definitely the most comfortable program for us, due to the fact that they like to develop their players. We were with the New Jersey Colonials down there and we were very happy. But I love the concept here – trying to develop kids into the best players and people they can be.
“It’s not all about hockey 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”