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A strong beginning sets the stage for a bright future
2022-23 Norwich Hockey Club team photo
When the Norwich Hockey Club took to its home ice for the first time in September 2022, there were more questions than answers.
How good could a team be in year one? Would the players gel together quickly enough? Would people come and watch? And, perhaps more importantly, would a year or more of planning for a moment like this prove fruitful and show that not only Norwich Hockey Club can exist, but that it can do so while competing at a high level and prepare its players for a future in the game, all while ensuring they receive an unparalleled education. 
And then, when junior forward Felix-Antoine Laflamme scored the first home goal against an overmatched 95 Giants team, not only did the arena erupt in euphoria led by an energetic student section, but those responsible for planning the launch of the club, the players, their host families and real families who traveled hours to witness this historic moment all had the same feeling – not only was Norwich Hockey Club real, but this could turn into something special. And it did.  
The first season – one that set the tone for a promising future for the program – ended in March with 34 wins and 15 losses, the last being a hard-fought 3-2 setback to American Hockey Academy in a fast-paced, well played championship game in the United Tier 1 Hockey League. While it was a tough loss, that defeat reminded teams in our region that our program could compete at a high level in the first year, setting the stage for future success. 
The first dream season opened with six straight wins, raising expectations, drawing more fans and making some continue to ask, how good is this team? After a tough three-game losing streak in mid-October, the squad bounced back to win 15 of its next 18, including 10 straight.
Home fans, who continued to support the team at all games, only witnessed one home loss all season. The fan support in the arena, as well as the internet broadcasts helped the fanbase to grow and stay connected to the team. 
Scoring goals was not an issue for NHC, and three of our players were national leaders in scoring. 
In fact, Tyler Pazin led all U18 AAA hockey in scoring with 66 goals and 120 points in 49 games. He was joined in the nation’s top 10 by teammates Felix-Antoine Laflamme and Jacob Martineu who had 93 and 92 points respectively, finishing eighth and ninth in the country.
Martineau had the honor of scoring the club’s first overall goal, as well as notching the first hat trick. Noah Koscher earned the first win in goal with Nico Halle-Tanco delivering the first home win, as well as the first shutout. 
While Pazin led the team in goals and points, Laflamme had the most assists with 60. Julien Avignon-Bourque tallied the most points from a defenseman with 48, including 21 goals. 
Halle-Tanco had four shutouts in his 18 wins and made a season-high 738 saves (a percentage of .921). 
While five members of this inaugural team will depart after year one having earned a diploma from Norwich Free Academy, five players have already committed to join the program, including the first European to sign with NHC.
The second season will be underway soon, with players taking the ice in late August to practice. Until that time, we are left with memories of an unreal inaugural campaign and expectations for even more success in year two.