High school hockey fans who were following the sport locally about 10 years ago may recall that Classical High had quite a team during the 2004-2005 season.
The Rams (Classical and English had yet to combine to form the Lynn Jets) had a young first line comprised of three of the most talented players to come through the program in years – Tommy Adams, Ryan Duggan and Chad Johnson. The trio racked up an impressive 214 points that season, which was tops in the state that year.
Johnson left for The Tilton School the following year and Adams, who was also a freshman, moved on to prep school (Winchendon) his junior year and St. Mary’s his senior year. During his two seasons with the Rams, Adams had 49 goals and 54 assists for 103 points.
Adams was in back in Lynn last week visiting his family only now it’s U.S. Marine Sgt. Thomas Adams Jr. and he was with his wife, Ashleigh. The couple had made plans before leaving Hawaii, which is where Adams is now stationed, to take in a Red Sox game while they were in the area. Adams had asked his former hockey coach Mike Shalin if he could get him two tickets and by the time they got here, it had evolved into much more than just a night at the ballpark.
At the Red Sox-Texas Rangers game on Wednesday, May 20, Adams was honored for his military service as part of th Sox Hats off to Heroes program.
They attended the Red Sox vs. Texas Rangers game on Wednesday, May 20, and although the Sox lost, it was a night Adams, his wife, mother Pam Madruga and grandfather, Ron Madruga, will likely remember for a very long time. The Red Sox rolled out the red carpet. Adams and his family watched the game from the second row behind the dugout and around the fourth inning, the Sox announcer introduced Adams to the crowd, put his picture on the scoreboard in centerfield and thanked him for his service. Adams and his family also got to go in the Red Sox dugout before the game, get their picture taken and they got some signed baseballs.
“It was pretty exciting,” Adams said. “It was definitely a really cool feeling. I don’t know how many people were there, cheering and clapping. It was very moving to be honored, especially (heading into) Memorial Day Weekend.”
Adams said envisioned himself having a military career when he graduated from St. Mary’s in 2008.
“I was playing junior hockey (after graduation) and I took a bad hit. I hurt my knee.”
Adams said that was the moment he decided he really wasn’t going much further in hockey and it was time to make plans for the future. His grandfather had been a Marine and Adams said although he never talked about it all that much, he knew about it.. A year later, when his knee had healed, Adams enlisted.
Adams said his grandfather has always been his biggest fan and having him at the game was very special.
“I think there was a tear in his eye,” Adams said.
Adams has been in the Marines for nearly six years. He has done two tours in Afghanistan, the second one confirming his decision to pursue a career in the military. On the second tour, Adams was part of a security force advisory team that assisted in training the Afghan army and the SWAT team. Adams said the people had nothing, no military skill, and that meant it took a lot of patience.
“There was a sense of accomplishment,” Adams said, describing how when he returned home, he realized how much the experience had taught him about himself, how to have patience and how to be a leader.
Although Marines have to be ready to be called up on short notice (24 hours), he has been able to do some things he loves while being stationed first at Camp Lejeune and now in Hawaii. He played on the Marine Corps hockey team at Camp Lejeune and was a captain. He’s currently coaching Little League and plans to coach Youth Hockey in the fall. He’s currently a rifle coach in the Marines.