Groton-Dunstable hosts its third annual Billy Woitowicz memorial game Wednesday
By Ed Niser
GROTON -- Four years ago, the Groton-Dunstable community lost a Groton son to the War in Afghanistan. Sgt. Billy Woitowicz, Groton-Dunstable High School class of 2007, was killed in action at the young age of 23. For the third consecutive season, the Groton-Dunstable hockey team will honor Sgt. Woitowicz's memory when it hosts rival North Middlesex on Wednesday at Groton School.
All of the proceeds raised from the memorial game will be donated to the Sgt. Billy Woitowicz Scholarship Fund that was setup by the fallen Marine's parents, Rosemary and Kevin Woitowicz. The United States Marine Corps. 25th regiment, where Woitowicz served, of the Garrison at Fort Devens, will present the colors prior to the start of the game.The North Middlesex Jr. Officer Training Corps. will also be in attendance.
The Groton-Dunstable Athletic Boosters Club is sponsoring a 50/50 raffle with the top prize being the same camouflage jerseys the players will wear during the game.
Senior defenseman and captain Connor Maguire was a sophomore when the Woitowicz memorial game was in its infancy.
"That first year was the season after Sgt. Woitowicz was killed in Afghanistan," Maguire said. "So, the first year, it was in the memory of him. More specifically, in the first year.
"Last year, we branched out and made it an entire military night," Maguire said. "All branches, active duty and veterans, were honored. This is the third year, and all the captains remembered our sophomore year when it was all for Billy. We really wanted to bring it back to benefit his fund this year. All of our funds raised are being donated to the Sgt. Billy Woitowicz foundation."
The athletic boosters will be selling baked goods with all sales being donated to the Woitowicz scholarship fund. Groton-Dunstable athletic booster Jackie Maguire is hopeful that this year's event will be successful.
"When we did it for Billy the first year, it was so huge that people were being bussed over from the middle-school," Jackie Maguire said. "North Middlesex is always a great game for us. It is nice to share the night with them, too. We are hoping that the veterans come out to the game. We would like to shake their hands and just thank them for their service."
This year's rivalry game will be interesting with the recent merger of the Pepperell Ashby Townsend and Groton-Dunstable youth hockey programs.
"It is definitely going to be a bit different," Groton-Dunstable head coach Phil Rowley said. "The kids will play together in the youth program and then go to different schools. The rivalry is going to grow and grow. With it being our military night, there are going to be a lot of people there. It should be a fun night for everybody."
North Middlesex comes into Wednesday's game fielding one of its best seasons to date with an overall record of 8-3-2 at the time of publication. Connor Maguire, and the Crusaders, are ready for the upcoming clash.
"All the players and coaching staff are really excited to be a part of it," the senior captain said. "To have another military game, it has certainly become a tradition. We all love it and think its awesome, so it should be another fun night."
Face-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Raffle tickets for the camouflage jersey can be purchased at the door for $10 for an arm's length.