Incoming Bishop Fenwick senior Ian Worthley (6’1″ 160) made a big splash last season as the primary goal scorer for the Crusaders (and this summer at the Mass HS Showcase in Boston) but his love of the game developed at a very young age. He grew up just outside of Boston in Saugus, MA but he now attends Bishop Fenwick in Peabody. His parents did not play hockey growing up, however he would attend his cousin’s hockey games as a kid.
“My interest in the sport originated from my older cousins and neighborhood friends,” said Worthley. “I was fortunate to grow up in a neighborhood where we had an abundance of kids who were all within a few years of each other. The sport of choice just happened to be street hockey and we found every excuse to play games as much as possible which I found myself wanting to play more than the other sports we played.”
For a young, impressionable fan, those high school games in town took his interest in the sport to another level:
“In addition to playing with my childhood friends, my parents took me to watch my older cousins play in their high school hockey playoffs. I remember how loud the crowds were and the intensity of the games. I would say the combination of playing with my friends and seeing these intense high school games really planted the seed for my love of the game.”
It didn’t take long before Worthley was playing meaningful games of his own in the youth hockey ranks. He had a successful youth career and even won a state championship with his Saugus team. He played up on his older brother’s team when he reached that milestone. It took only a few years before he worked his way through the development process and was ready to start his freshman year of high school. But before getting a chance to play under the bright lights, there were tough times ahead which altered his course.
“I went to Saugus HS my freshman year even though I had planned to go to Bishop Fenwick as a freshman. Unfortunately, in May of my eighth-grade year (2016) my father had been diagnosed with cancer for the second time in two years. Since we were not sure how the long my father would be laid up, we decided as a family that I should go to school with my older brother where he could take me to school and practice since we played the same sports. The good news is that my father was able to recover much quicker than he did his first time and we once again, decided as a family to transfer to Bishop Fenwick for my sophomore year as originally planned.”
With that diagnosis in the back of his mind, Worthley’s success continued by playing D2 varsity for Saugus HS as a freshman. He was a key role player for the Sachems over the course of the year and his team qualified for the state tournament and made a nice run. As a freshman, Worthley contributed during the tournament run netting some big goals – a sign of things come as his game would grow.
As a transfer sophomore at Bishop Fenwick he put up balanced totals of six goals and nine assists over 20 games: not bad for a first season spent playing at the D1 level. Last year, he was voted the assistant captain of the team as a junior and his game grew as a result. He led the team in goal scoring, using his big body to put a bigger dent on the scoresheet. More importantly though Bishop Fenwick made some noise in the MIAA state tournament.
“My favorite memory was this past season, where Bishop Fenwick had made it to the second round of the Division 1 state tournament. Nobody gave us a chance to do anything in the tournament but with hard work and playing great team hockey, we were able to beat Reading in the first round and lost in a shootout to Winchester in the second round (who made it to the State Championship).”
The past season’s playoffs meant that the Crusaders had something to prove, which certainly motivated Worthley.
“Anyone who watched these games knew that not only was Bishop Fenwick no longer a pushover, we all knew that nobody wanted to play us and that left a hungry feeling in me that I still have today!”
Heading into his senior season, and likely wearing a letter once again, Worthley will be prepping for his final HS campaign in the New England Fall Prep Hockey League this fall. The NEFPHL is a league he has played in during previous seasons and he is a big advocate: crediting much of his development as a player to the tough prep and HS competition.
“I have been exposed to great hockey and great players that I have played with and against. The skill level required to play in this league is very high and in order to keep up you need to work on your game both on and off the ice!”
Neutral Zone is intrigued to see how Worthley looks to grow his game as a senior, and he will be one of our top watch candidates throughout the season. When asked for who he looks up to at the next level, he picked an NHLer who competes all 200 feet.
“A player I really model my game after is Patrice Bergeron. His style of play is something that I believe strongly in; how he plays all three phases of the game. Also he has a very high hockey IQ. Also as a center I focus a lot of faceoffs and there is no better person to watch and learn to improve in that area.”
The big forward has more strength left to add to his frame, but he has already drawn the attention of top local scouts and that interest should reach it’s zenith during the regular season as Jim Quinlan’s Crusaders are poised for another strong season. With Worthley leading the charge, we wouldn’t bet against his perseverance.