Greenwood sets the tone for Keene High hockey
Tim Greenwood would take the picture only if everybody was in it.
So the Blackbirds piled around their captain, who stood in the center, holding a piece of Keene High hockey history in his right hand.
In an 8-3 win over Bow Saturday, Greenwood became the fourth Blackbird to reach 100 career points. The senior registered one goal and two assists to land directly at the century mark.
He refused to accept the spotlight alone.
“It’s not my style to be the center of attention,” he said.
The milestone was a shock, he adds, but he’s quick to play it down and pivot away from himself.
“I really can’t believe I did it,” he said, “but I’m still the same person. It doesn’t change anything. We still have a championship to get after.”
The Blackbirds are 12-1-1 in the final week of the regular season. They face a pivotal matchup against Goffstown (14-2) Wednesday at Keene Ice.
All Greenwood ever wanted to do was show up, skate hard and blend in.
Since he took over the ‘C’, Greenwood’s mentality has reverberated down the Blackbirds’ young roster and led them right back into the Division II contender conversation.
“He gave us the right tone,” said Coach Chris McIntosh. “It’s not what Tim says; there are no speeches. It’s what Tim does. He doesn’t have to say a bunch of things to his teammates. He goes out and he shows them what to do and what he expects. He is the right guy at the right time. He’s showing them what a true leader is.”
He does what he can to stay out of the limelight, but hard work is noticeable. Not many work harder than Greenwood, says Keene alternate captain Aidan Kane.
“He is the hardest working kid I have ever met,” said Kane, who’s known Greenwood since they were in kindergarten at Symonds School in Keene. “There’s no quit in him. … The grind keeps him happy. He has to have it.”
A third-period assist Saturday put his name in the record book, but Greenwood’s legacy was established at Keene High some time ago.
If you’ve watched Greenwood skate a shift, you’ve watched him skate a thousand. Every one of them displays the same hustle, the same toughness.
Undersized and slippery, he dares defenders to underestimate him. He’s infuriating to defend around the edge because he has a knack for dipping under checks and he is relentless in the corner boards.
“He’s the smallest kid on the ice … biggest heart … no doubt,” McIntosh said. “If you did a survey of the people walking out of the rink and asked them who their favorite player was that night, the majority of them are going to say No. 15. And not because he the flashiest or because he has the most skill, but because he has that grit and determination and he never gives up. He wins battles you never think he would.”
It’s a contagious work ethic, McIntosh says, and it has rubbed off on the Blackbirds’ underclassmen.
“He wills the people around him to be better,” McIntosh said.
The Blackbirds often practice mornings at 5:30 before school. Greenwood asks McIntosh to have the rink unlocked an hour early so he can get extra work in.
It was a routine he started with his former linemates Gaetano DeLonge and Nate Darwin. The trio would skate around Keene Ice, cycling the puck and working on their rhythm.
This year, Greenwood is the only senior on Keene’s top forward line. He skates with sophomores Brian Langevin and Joe Walsh. They have combined for 94 points. Greenwood leads the bunch with 21 goals and 16 assists.
“His play resembles his personality,” said senior defenseman and alternate captain Marcin Maleski. “He plays humble, there isn’t too much flash and he just does what has to to get the goal.”
Maleski remembers his first practice with Greenwood at the youth level. Greenwood’s skates had green laces
“I just knew he was better than almost everyone out there,” Maleski said. “I just followed those green laces wherever they went.”
Greenwood emerged as a major scoring threat last season during the Blackbirds’ run to the state final. But as a junior, he was overshadowed by Keene’s phenomenal senior class.
This season, he shifted from facilitator to finisher, understudy to mentor.
“It was a challenge,” he said. “I had to change what I was doing on and off the ice. I have to be the one that leads the underclassmen.”
The bar set high, Greenwood, Kane and Maleski took on their leadership roles motivated to keep Keene at the top of the division.
They have exceeded expectations.
For Greenwood, he recognizes that this is his likely his final season of competitive hockey. He says he’ll consider playing club hockey at one of the four major universities he is weighing.
He doesn’t come from an athletic background. No one in his family plays hockey outside of the occasional pickup game.
At home, Greenwood enjoys being the middle child.
“You don’t get as much attention,” he says.
Greenwood is among the top students in his class with a GPA “somewhere in the 4s,” while balancing three sports: hockey, golf and lacrosse. He loves math and plans to study engineering in college. For someone who ignores numbers on the ice, he has an affinity for them in the classroom.
After hockey, he hopes to travel and continue his love of hiking. Last summer, Greenwood and two friends hiked the tallest summit in each New England state in six days.
It seems the more Greenwood tries to blend in, the more he stands out. At squirt practices at Keene Ice, McIntosh says its Greenwood that kids are trying to emulate.
His hockey career is in its final month, but Greenwood’s influence is bound to leave an impression on future Keene High teams.
“I don’t think you ever lose a kid like Tim Greenwood,” McIntosh said. “He always sticks with you in some capacity.”