Dapa Conneely. His Journey from Arlington to Andover Academy.

Dapa Conneely, an Arlington native and recent addition to the Assumption Greyhounds had a great year in Prep this year averaging around a point per game. He is best remembered in the Massachusetts High School world from Arlington’s Super 8 Championship campaign back in 2017, when he was only a sophomore. A two-sport athlete who excels on the baseball diamond and in the hockey rink, he started his hockey journey getting on skates as a young kid and falling in love with the game.

“I was on skates for the first time in preschool”

When asked about his favorite hockey memory, without hesitation, he responded with winning the 2017 Super 8 Title. Being a part of a championship team is hard to beat. This is especially true in the state of Massachusetts when it comes to a Super 8 TItle. It is also very rare for a public school to go on a run like Arlington did in 2017. Three years later in 2020, Arlington (and many of Conneely’s former teammates) found themselves undefeated in the winners bracket of the Super 8 and were awarded a co-championship due to COVID-19. It speaks to the character of the players and coaching staff because they have two Super 8 titles in four years. A championship team creates special bonds that last for the rest of your life. In this case, getting to achieve this dream with your childhood friends seems like something out of a storybook and Conneely was able to live it.

“100 % the Super 8 my sophomore year, playing in the Garden was pretty cool”

“It was pretty special. I had grown up with all those guys. It was the closest locker room that I had ever been in. Seniors and Freshman were friends. Juniors and Sophomores were friends. The whole team was friends with each other. It was the closest knit team that I had ever been on.”

After his tenure with Arlington, Conneely decided to attend Phillips Academy- Andover for a post graduate year which allowed him to grow as both an athlete and a student. The transition created a different environment from being at Arlington High School. It was different, but he enjoyed his time at Phillips. It created a whole new window of opportunity for him.

“School wise they do a very good job at Andover with the PGs. They do a lot with the PGs to get them together and involved. The class sizes are smaller compared to a public school. It created a more personal experience in school which was cool. My advisor Ms. Fritz did everything for us on campus. She was like a second mom and would make sure I got my stuff done. Some of my friends would actually call her mom”

“Hockey wise the pace was night and day the pace was faster and some of the kids were legit you don’t see as many kids like that in public school”

Conneely’s hockey development started well before attending Phillips Academy- Andover. He credits the coaching staff of both Arlington and Phillips for helping him to develop into the player he is today. They were personable and helped to get the best out of him. He also credits his summer training working out with Real Speed in Salem, NH to help him grow as a player and jump into Prep Hockey.

“Playing at Andover and Arlington helped me develop as a player because I always had coaches around me that cared about me. Also a big part of my development I think happened last summer when I worked out at Real Speed in Salem, NH.”

Conneely is not just a great hockey player, but also excels on the baseball diamond. After a decorated public school career, he earned a spot on the baseball team at Phillips Academy and was excited for the season to start up. The program is well known locally, having won the Central New England Prep Championship eleven times. Phillips baseball has shown a history of dominance, especially back in 2018 when they went 20-2. They take pride in sending their players on to the next level, with many Division 1 commits on the roster this year. It is a very competitive roster with a lot of talent on one team. With the situation of COVID-19 starting to ramp up right before baseball season, he unfortunately did not get a chance to play baseball at Phillips Academy.

“No, but I was really looking forward to playing baseball at Andover this year. The team is legit and I reached out to the coach to play in the spring and I was going to go down to Florida with them.”

Conneely will be attending Assumption College in Worcester next year to play hockey. He will be studying business and hopes to specialize in a business field in the future. Conneely states that he is excited to be attending Assumption. He credits the welcoming atmosphere of the school and campus as the driving factor of his decision. Conneely also praises the Greyhounds coaching staff as being straight up professionals and making him feel welcome from day one. He will be joining a playoff team in the NE10. Depending on how things go next year, you could see him on the baseball diamond for the Greyhounds as well. Only time will tell…

“I could tell right away with Assumption on the visit that they really wanted me there and talking with Coach Looney and Coach Tomassini helped as well. They are both straight up guys and that was important to me. I asked Coach Looney what he thought about my trying walk on the baseball team and he said that he could help me to get a tryout. So we’ll see what happens.”

“I’m going with business to start off and hopefully will branch out into something more specific. I could see myself in finance”

Conneely made it clear that he was excited to get going next season. It will be a step up from Prep hockey, with the pace and physicality of the game being more intense. He is ready to climb the mountain by working his way into the lineup and contributing as a freshman.

“I definitely want to try to break into the lineup and contribute as a Freshman”

Assumption is receiving a quality student-athlete in their program next year. NZ wishes him the best in his next chapter of his hockey career and school.

Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images