It all started in the early 1970s.
Bobby Orr and the Big Bad Bruins were winning Stanley Cup championships, and kids all around the region wanted to be just like them.
The state built ice rinks across Massachusetts. Haverhill was lucky enough to get one of them — right behind the high school.
The Hillie hockey program was born. It had some lean early years, losing to high schools that had hockey teams for decades, but Haverhill eventually gained experience and momentum — and victories.
Through the ups an downs of those winning and losing seasons — more than 40 of them in all — the players made friendships that have lasted into their adult lives.
The former Hillie players celebrated their shared past and caught up on their current lives at a reunion game recently at Veterans Memorial Rink behind the high school.
It's an annual event that featured the game, plus food and drink for the players at a popular downtown nightspot.