As part of this new season of MIAA hockey, the pandemic has led to a very different reality for most high school athletes, especially the seniors. Obviously the rules and regulations are new, but for the 2021 senior class this is their last ride of high school competition. Some may not have another chance to play competitive hockey while others will be able to move on to play juniors, prep or even collegiately. There are lots of great storylines this season that we want to shed some light on and recently we spoke with Paul Forbes, senior captain of the Hingham Harbormen. Forbes not only is one of the leaders and top scorers for the hockey team, he is a top scoring option on the soccer and lacrosse fields. If that isn’t enough? He’s also a gifted student, maintaining a 4.00+ GPA in the classroom. We sat down with him to talk about balancing all four plus what representing his hometown for four years has meant to him. Here is what he had to say:
Let’s start with the obvious: what does it mean to you to get to play your senior year of hockey, even in the midst of this pandemic?
It means a lot to not only me but to my entire team. It’s hard to spend time with friends and new people you would meet during school because of the pandemic, but the hockey team has become a family of brothers that we are able to hang out with basically every day. I have made a bunch of new friends, many I will be friends with for life, thanks to the hockey season we were able to have this year. It was great to have such a successful senior season with a great group of guys.
The Patriot League is one of the few conferences that has organized a playoff in this truncated season: how is this playoff series different from what the team is used to, contending for the Super 8 each year?
This playoff series is undoubtedly different than contending for the Super 8 because it is all public schools from the South Shore. Usually, we are playing the top Catholic and Public schools in the state, but that doesn’t change the competition level. Every team we play in the Patriot Cup playoffs is going to compete and want to beat us, especially because we are always one of the best public schools in the state.
Hockey isn’t the only sport you play for Hingham: tell us more about what you’ve done on the lacrosse and soccer fields. What position do you play in both sports and what skills that you’ve acquired from each translate best to the ice?
On the soccer field, I played striker where my job was to score goals. I played alongside another hockey player, Aidan Brazel, and we scored a bunch of goals this year and were able to win the Patriot Cup for Hingham in the Fall season. I think some skills I’ve acquired from soccer would be selflessness and quick decision-making. Soccer is all about strategy and possessing the ball so it takes a whole combined team effort to be successful. It is also sometimes useful in hockey when I get a puck stuck in my feet and am able to kick it up to my stick with ease. In lacrosse, I am an attackman/middie and my job is also to score goals. Some skills I have acquired from lacrosse include improving the coordination of both of my hands because in lacrosse if you can play with both hands you have an advantage over most players as they don’t know which way you will dodge. Also, our lacrosse coach always says, “We not me” and that saying has been instilled in my mind and really emphasizes selflessness and putting the team’s goals before individual goals. I think playing three sports in high school is becoming a less and less common thing as people are starting to focus on just one or two sports, but I would thank each one of these sports for improving my coordination, athleticism, and introducing me to many great friends.
Can you pinpoint moments on each field of competition: soccer, lacrosse and hockey that stand out to you over your four years as your fondest memories?
My fondest memory on the soccer field would definitely be winning the Patriot Cup this Fall season. We were the underdogs and came out on top and that was just a great experience. My fondest memory in hockey would be scoring two goals in a 2-1 win over Pope Francis last year. We had never beaten them at their home rink and they were laughing at us as we walked in the rink yet we came out on top. For lacrosse, my fondest memory would have to be defeating Duxbury in the Semifinals in overtime. Duxbury is always our biggest rival in lacrosse and it felt great to beat them in overtime, especially to send us to the State Championship.
You’ve had a chance to be part of championship teams at Hingham, winning the Patriot Cup in soccer this season and on the lacrosse field in 2019. What attributes have those special teams possessed that opened the door to winning titles?
I think some attributes that those special teams possessed that opened the door to winning titles were just great camaraderie among the team and everyone playing with pride for our town. We also had great leadership from the captains and upperclassmen in each of these years. Every day in practice we competed at 100% and for that reason, we were always improving. Also, on these teams nobody was point chasing, we were playing our systems and letting the game come to us. I think the most successful teams are always the most selfless and have great leaders who set the example.
People often see what student-athletes do on the field or on the ice, but the student aspect is an important one that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. We understand that you are holding down a 4.00+ GPA and playing three varsity sports: do you have a favorite subject and how are you able to balance all four of those in a year?
My favorite subject would be economics and I think I am able to balance all four of these aspects of being a student-athlete by just working hard and not procrastinating. I never really sit around and do nothing, I am always doing something whether it be school work or practicing sports.
Back to hockey: you grew up in Hingham, which has a longstanding tradition which we have written about in the past. How would you describe what it means to pull on the Harbormen sweater and what the local support for the school is like in town?
Pulling on the Hingham sweater has meant the world to me in my high school experience. There really is nothing like playing in front of your hometown with all of the kids you grew up playing hockey with. Playing for a town like Hingham where year in and year out we are one of the best public schools in the state, it is all about playing with pride for your town and representing the culture that Hingham hockey has created. I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything as Hingham hockey not only gave me a band of brothers for life but also made me a better person overall. I was lucky enough to make the team my freshmen year and every year we have gotten what seems like more and more support from our town. It was certainly different this year as we usually have a “packed barn” but our friends and family weren’t allowed into the rink like usual. This experience with limited fans only improved the camaraderie among us as every game we have focused on playing for each other and with pride for our town.
You are a senior captain this season on the hockey team: what does that honor mean to you personally and what are some of the responsibilities that come with wearing the “C”?
The honor of wearing the “C” means that I have had the privilege to represent Hingham Harbormen on and off of the ice, not just based on my skill but also on my character. Personally, it puts myself in a category with hockey players that I looked up to as a little kid, and with that comes a lot of responsibility. I hope I am one of those hockey players that kids in Hingham can look up to in this era. Some of the responsibilities of wearing the “C” include competing and giving it my all every day whether that be at practice or games. It means that every day we need to come focused and prepared for practices or games bringing good energy and helping out teammates when we can. This year we have had a bunch of kids step up as leaders, many leading by example, and that has made the job of being a captain easier.
For someone who has never seen you play hockey: how would you describe your game? Is there anything you are actively trying to work on?
For someone who has never seen me play hockey, I would say I’m a fast, physical player with a good shot and great vision for the ice. I would say that I am always trying to get stronger and smarter.
Finally, we understand you are looking to take a PG year at a prep school next season: do you plan to play all three sports in a prep setting, or just focus on one sport? Which prep schools have you spoken with?
I have spoken with Deerfield and Phillips Exeter and I would plan on playing hockey and lacrosse if I have the opportunity to do so.