Mead to head St. John's (S) hockey

St. John's (Shrewsbury) announced it has hired former Pioneers hockey assistant Mike Mead as head coach, taking over for Brian Murphy who retired from coaching earlier this year.

Mead served as an assistant under Murphy with Pioneers for 16 seasons, from 1991-2007, but recently had stepped away from the position to spend more time devoted to coaching his kids. He's also a math instructor at the school in his 24th year and is a graduate of Assumption College.

A native of Arlington, Mass., Mead's younger brother, Jeff, is the girls' varsity hockey head coach at Arlington High.

“Brian [Murphy] was an execellent coach, and a good friend," Mead said. "He broke me in, taught me the ropes, how to deal with players and parents. He was great leader: calm collective, always thought things through. He was a coach you could look up to.”

While the Pioneers failed to qualify for the Division 1 tournament last season, Mead inherits a strong nucleus in the defensive zone, including senior goaltender Mario Pizzeri and ESPN Boston All-State defenseman Bryan Nelson.

"I'm going to rely on them a lot this year," Mead said. "They're strong players and great leaders, who've helped bring me up to speed with this group that we have coming back."