Calli Pineau Finding A Role On Abington Boys’ Hockey Team

Printed from:

If you watch an Abington High School varsity boys’ hockey game, you may notice that Number 8 has a ponytail.

That’s because the Abington Green Wave have a girl on the team:  sophomore Calli Pineau, a second-year varsity player and regular contributor.

Pineau plays left wing on the third line. he has played in each of the team’s nine games this season and has one goal and one assist. Her goal came in the team’s 6-1 opening win against Cardinal Spellman. Abington was 4-5 on the season as of Friday, January 14.

“I think it’s awesome,” Pineau told NewBostonPost of her first career varsity goal. “It was a really great moment and I think it’s a great opportunity to be seen and all that.”

This is Pineau’s second year on the team. As a freshman, she saw limited playing time, but she was teammates with two of her brothers. Kyle Pineau was a senior defenseman for the team and Michael Pineau was a junior forward.

Going into high school, Pineau wasn’t sure if she’d continue playing hockey. Abington doesn’t have a girls’ hockey program, which meant her only option to keep playing the sport was to play with the boys. She’s glad she kept playing and said her teammates have embraced her as one of their own.

“At first, I didn’t, but I did realize that I wanted to continue playing and skating, so this is my opportunity,” she said

“They’ve been all respectful and kind,” she added. “They’re like friends and family.”

Abington head coach Bryan Woodford said he’s glad she joined the team last season.

“She’s doing a good job controlling the third line and the pace of play there,” Woodford told NewBostonPost. “She brings a lot of energy. Due to her size, she’s gotta work twice as hard to make up for things. She’s very impressed. She’s doing great. She came up to me at the end of practice yesterday and asked what she could do to get better. It caught me off guard because not a lot of people do that. She wants to learn, she wants to get better, and she’s only in year two. She’s working hard, she’s seen a ton of ice and has a ton of responsibility.”

While Pineau is no longer teammates with her older brothers Kyle and Michael, as Kyle graduated last year and Michael plays Tier III Junior A hockey for the South Shore Kings, she has a younger brother as a teammate:  freshman forward Cam Pineau. He serves as center on the second line for the Green Wave.

“I love it,” she said. “I love playing with my brother, seeing him happy on the ice and watching my other brothers in the past, too.”

Woodford said they get along well.

“It’s always good,” he said. “They root for each other. They also know how to be teammates, give each other a hard time, compete for ice time in certain scenarios. It’s fun to watch. I’ve always had a few Pineaus on the team, so I’ve always been used to them rolling together.”

It’s not the only sport where she has competed against boys, either. Pineau played baseball until she was 12 years old. In her final season, she hit an over-the-fence home run in Whitman.

“It was awesome,” she said. “The feeling was great.”

Pineau doesn’t play baseball anymore, but she was a South Shore League All-Star in softball as a freshman last season; she hit .500 last spring.

As for hockey, Pineau said that she looks forward to having more highlights on the ice.

“I’m pretty psyched to score a lot more goals in the future,” she said.

Over the past 50 years, girls have been able to play on and try out for boys’ high school sports teams throughout the United States because of Title IX of the federal Education Amendments of 1972. It says that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

The federal government provides 7.8 percent of public K-12 education funding in the country, with the rest coming from states and municipalities, according to the Education Data Initiative.

While girls have played boys’ ice hockey in Massachusetts over the years, it’s less common than participation in other sports.

Girls playing boys varsity sports are more common in both wrestling and football in Massachusetts; during the 2019-2020 school year, there were 145 girls wrestling in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association and 71 girls playing football, according to the organization’s web site. The MIAA has not provided more recent data during the past two years, citing the coronavirus pandemic. The organization provides no data on how many girls play boys’ ice hockey.

Danielle Coughlin of North Andover High School was the most successful female wrestler in Massachusetts in recent times. The 2013 graduate won the individual Division 2 state championship for the 106-pound weight class in the 2012-2013 season; it was the first and only time to date that a girl won the state championship for boys’ wrestling in Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, Central Catholic High School (of Lawrence) junior Jackie Dehney (113 pounds) is a key contributor to her wrestling team. While she only had four matches as a sophomore due to the coronavirus-shortened spring season and her preparation for the Pan American games, she won the gold medal at the Pan American Games for the 53 kilogram (116.9 pound) weight class in the cadet women’s freestyle bracket last year (ages 16 to 17). As a freshman, she went 29-14 in varsity matches at Central Catholic in the 120-pound weight class.  

There is also an NCAA Division 1 college wrestler from Massachusetts who is a woman:  Marisol Nugent. The Boxford native graduated from Phillips Academy (of Andover, Massachusetts) in 2020 — competing in the Independent School League (a league consisting of 16 New England private schools). She was a three-year varsity wrestler (145 pounds) and served as a co-captain her senior year. She is now a redshirt freshman on the University of North Carolina Tar Heels wrestling team.

And on the South Shore, Colleen O’Toole made Bay State history on the gridiron five years ago. She played football as a freshman at West Bridgewater High School in 2017 – as a quarterback. Although she was a third-stringer, she became the first girl to ever play quarterback in a varsity high school football game in Massachusetts, with a little more than a minute left in a game against South Shore Regional Vocational Technical High School.

O’Toole had been her team’s starting quarterback in youth football but did not play football after her freshman year, instead focusing on basketball and softball.

There have also been a handful of girls who served as football field goal kickers in recent years. 

Plymouth South had two in the 2010s:  Katie Buker in 2012 and Emma Sampson in 2017 and 2018. Buker was a former soccer player while Sampson was a former volleyball player. 

Meanwhile, on the North Shore, Anna Zerilli excelled as a kicker at Manchester-Essex. She served as a backup in 2015 and 2016 but earned the starting role in 2017. She transferred to Proctor Academy (Andover, New Hampshire) as a senior, but didn’t play football due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Zerilli went on to play a year of college football at Lake Forest College (NCAA Division 3) and made one extra point on two attempts in 2019. She didn’t appear in any of the team’s three games in its coronavirus-shortened spring 2021 season and was not on the team this past fall.


New to NewBostonPost?  Conservative media is hard to find in Massachusetts.  But you’ve found it.  Now dip your toe in the water for two bucks — $2 for two months.  And join the real revolution.