It took just north of three hours and four overtimes, but on March 17, BC High senior forward Thomas Kramer achieved what so few players in Mass HS get the chance to do: repeat as an MIAA Super 8 Champion.
“It was a long game, we definitely started to feel it towards the end. We took just 20 second shifts and you had to get off the ice. That last goal I was actually on the ice with Dec [OT goal scorer Declan Loughnane], we went down 2-on-2 and I saw him make a move and next thing you know everyone’s yelling. I didn’t even really see it go in, but it was an amazing feeling.”
Let’s also be clear that this was a hardfought MIAA season just to get to that final game, with one of the deeper Super 8 fields in years. Things weren’t made any easier on Coach John Flaherty from the start of the offseason:
“If you look at our team dynamic, we graduated nine guys from last year’s Championship team and we lost two other ones, so it was a total of 11 contributors who went out the door. It speaks to the leadership of Thomas and the other seniors to make sure that the guys weren’t just satisfied to win last year. The challenge is not to have complacency, and our guys didn’t.”
Having won the previous season as a junior, Thomas decided to come back to Morrissey Boulevard for a chance to double up on his ring count as a Senior.
“I came back here for a reason: because I wanted to win another one. I think this one is a little more special because it’s my last year, I’m a senior and also this year I got to play on a line with both my little brothers. It was a lot of fun but BC High is a special place and I wanted to bring another Championship back here.”
It really all came together in Thomas’ final season in the MIAA: he formed a triple Kramer line with his 2002-born twin brothers (and recent Providence College commits) Joseph and Peter, who were both sophomores for the Eagles. They were one of the most dominant lines in the state this year: all three tallying 30+ point seasons but Thomas led the team in goals with 17. All three of the brothers have good puck skills, excellent vision and hard shots that they get on net regularly. The Eagles had depth at other positions and on other lines, but the Kramer line got them to the dance and ultimately scored the Championship game tying goal with just over a minute left to play to send the game into OT.
This second title was a culmination of four years of hard work by Thomas. He had options to leave, but he chose to stay and be a senior leader for this Eagles team and the leadership process has come full circle for the Bridgewater native:
“When I came in as a freshman, I didn’t know what to expect at first: I didn’t know where I was going to be in the lineup and there were a lot of strong teams that came before me so everyday I had to come in, be my best, work hard and earn a spot. As I got older, it was more about helping the younger kids become better, making them work harder in practice: teaching them what it’s like to be a hockey player at BC High.”
His impact on the program goes beyond a personal maturation as Coach Flaherty can attest to, the senior was on a mission:
“Thomas came in as a freshman and he earned his spot: he worked hard, played tough in all three zones. In that first year he was more of a complementary player because of his size, strength and work ethic. He evolved over four years into that go-to guy that you saw the last couple of years. Although he may have been slotted into the top of the lineup: he earned that and he just kept getting better and better. Thomas’ development is based on his work ethic: he was never satisfied with just being good. He wanted to be very good and then he wanted to be the best. I think the way he approached every practice and every game was with that mindset of just constantly getting better: arguably he’s leaving high school as the best player in the state.”
After convening all of our Mass HS scouts to agree on the top 10 players in the state, the consensus final vote came down to two players: Xaverian senior forward Josh Barton and Thomas Kramer. Ultimately, the vote was unanimous amongst our scouts that Thomas took his game to another level in the early rounds of the Super 8, and that ultimately led to his selection as Neutral Zone’s 1st @MassNZ Mr. Hockey Award winner, which was presented to him earlier this week.
So, what does the future hold for Thomas now that he’s ready to wear the cap and gown with Pomp and Circumstance playing in the background in a couple of weeks? That was our final question before we left the BC High campus on Thursday:
“I decided to go play Juniors next year: I have a couple of camps lined up this summer. My hope is that within the next two years I’ll be able to play Division 1 hockey: that’s the goal.”
Far be it from us to doubt Thomas, after a decorated MIAA career, and our Mr. Hockey Award winner for 2019.