EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 17, 2013

Sports in a Minute

David Willis
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Hockey boom continues

Add another name to the recent surge of locals committing to play Division 1 college hockey.

The newest member of that group is North Reading resident and Austin Prep star Nolan Vesey, who committed Monday to play in the Hockey East at the University of Maine.

Vesey was the Catholic Central League Large MVP last winter, finishing with 22 goals and 40 points, leading Austin Prep to the Super 8 title game.

The Vesey family is no stranger to big-time hockey. Nolan’s brother Jimmy Vesey is heading into his sophomore season at Harvard and was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the third round of the 2012 NHL Draft, and his dad Jim Vesey played for the Bruins and Merrimack College, which recruited Nolan.

Coke all smiles

With college football season on the horizon, former Andover star and two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star Andy Coke is primed to compete for the starting running back job at Brown University.

Coke, who is currently training in Providence to prepare for the season, said he is very optimistic 2013 will be a big year after red-shirting last season.

“The coaches have told me I am tied for the starting job right now,” said Coke, who scored a touchdown in the spring game. “I feel like I made a good first impression last year and am working hard to play at the best of my abilities this season.”

Coke, who rushed for 2,995 yards in two seasons at Andover, will be joined by fellow former Golden Warrior and two-time Eagle-Tribune Will Heikkinen with the Bears this season.

Utter outrage

Add this reporter to the list of people that are strongly opposed to the NFL Hall of Fame’s decision to take down Eagle-Tribune photographer Mary Schwalm’s photo of Aaron Hernandez that was honored as Photo of the Year in 2010.

No question, the accusations against Hernandez are horrific.

But that photo is hung to honor the achievement of Schwalm — the first woman ever to receive the award — not Hernandez. It’s her award, not his.

It begs the question, why is this photo removed and O.J. Simpson remains a member of the Hall of Fame? And what about when Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is no doubt selected to the Hall?

Following in footsteps

Merrimack College goalie Sam Marotta continues to follow in the footsteps of Warrior legendary netminder Joe Cannata.

Marotta has been participating in the Vancouver Canucks’ prospect development camp, where he is joined by current Canucks goalie Cannata.

The two goalies have a long history together. Marotta previously served as Cannata’s backup at Merrimack and at BC High.

Betcha didn’t know

Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis has delivered an eye-popping 37 home runs this season, tied for the second most ever before the All-Star break.

But did you know he pitched against the Red Sox last season? He, in fact, was the winning pitcher against the Sox on May 6 of last season, pitching the 16th and 17th inning after the O’s had exhausted their bullpen. He even struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Adrian Gonzalez during the outing.

The losing pitcher in that game, which lasted over six hours? Then-Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald.