It all started on December 12, 2018 for Keene High School boys ice hockey star player Jerred Tattersall.
Coming in as a transfer from Northfield Mount Hermon, a private school in Northfield, Mass. the standout forward put the high school hockey community in New Hampshire on watch against St. Thomas Aquinas, a rematch of the Division II state championship from the year before that the Blackbirds won.
In overtime Tattersall netted a short-handed game-winner for the Blackbirds to defeat the Saints 4-3. His stardom was just beginning.
While it was his first high school game donning the orange and black Keene colors, for Tattersall it was more of a welcome back home party.
Tattersall’s hockey career was rooted in Keene. He first began playing the winter sport at the fair grounds and his first seasons of youth hockey were spent with the Keene Cobras, the youth program in the city.
With the Cobras he shined and to further his development Tattersall went on to play for youth teams that travelled to face tougher and more established players at the age level. Over the course of his youth hockey career, the soon-to-be Keene graduate played for seven different programs located in Hookset, Boston and Springfield Mass.
“Despite all the travel, the level of hockey was much better and that’s how I was able to develop,” Tattersall said. “I believe that my coaches throughout the years had a lot of knowledge about the game; therefore, our practices had meaning and purpose.”
His hockey career at the youth level was impressive and so was his performance on the lacrosse field, which landed Tattersall at Northfield Mount Hermon as a touted lacrosse recruit at the attack position.
The forward spent two years at Northfield Mount Hermon and was named Male Freshman Athlete of the Year, but something did not feel right. So, Tattersall weighed his options before ultimately deciding what his future would behold.
“Eventually I made the decision to come back to Keene for my junior and senior year, but most people don’t understand why,” Tattersall said. “At the time I was still getting recruited by other private schools for lacrosse, but I didn’t want to go. I made a lot of friends while at Northfield Mount Hermon, most of them I consider my brothers and am still in touch with today. Despite all the friendships, the culture of the school did not suit me. I felt as though I forgot where I came from and I felt extremely guilty. And so, I came back to Keene.”
His return to Keene was a welcoming one for all involved. Tattersall was known by his coach Chris McIntosh and teammates as a humble player and one that does not seek the spotlight. Tattersall quickly provided plenty of highlights and with it came the spotlight, especially from other teams.
“I think one of the things that people often forget is that Jerred was a target every single time we hit the ice,” McIntosh said. “Over the last two years when teams played Keene, they put two or three people on Jerred and build a game plan around that. So, what he did at his age was asking a lot, but he handled it extremely well.”
In his junior season Tattersall had 36 goals and 16 assists. He followed those numbers up with 40 goals and 18 assists this past season. Tattersall became a member of the 100-point club with the Blackbirds, tallying a total of 110 points in his Keene career.
The team player he is, Tattersall attributes much of his success to his line mates, Joseph Walsh and Ethan Russell.
“To somebody that hasn’t watched me play, I’d say that I’m just the finisher,” Tattersall said. “Most people just see the puck go in the net; however, they do not see the play that made it possible. Therefore, I think for people who have not seen me play need to know that I did not score 36 goals by myself this year. It was caused by my line mates Joseph and Ethan. They were a key part for sure. They were the ones who got me the puck whether it be Ethan hitting me on a stretch pass through the neutral zone or someone feeling the wrath of Joseph in the corner causing a turnover. I relied on them the most.”
Tattersall was recognized as the Division II boys ice hockey player of the year in New Hampshire and was named to the Division I/II All-Star game that is a Make-A-Wish game between the best players from New Hampshire and Vermont.
With all these accolades and accomplishments, there was one thing left out and something that will never be known, what was going to happen in the Division II state championship game this season against St. Thomas Aquinas?
The championship was set to be a matchup between powerhouse programs, and one with plenty of excitement surrounding it.
“We knew we had that championship game because we had Jerred Tattersall,” McIntosh said. “We were ready to win and put the trophies over our head and I can with confidence to this day, that was our game to win. That was going to be Jerred’s biggest game and biggest platform to shine.”
Days leading up to the championship, rumblings began that the game was becoming more likely to get cancelled due to the COVID-19 concerns and then eventually those became reality, there would be no championship game.
All the hard work put in by the Keene boys ice hockey program this past season would not have that final moment to show they were the best Division II team the state had to offer. It was a heartbreaker and one that still is felt now.
“Personally, I never thought about the championship game that much. It sure would’ve have been awesome to play, but for me I did not have closure,” Tattersall said. “The season was left on a cliff hanger and sometimes I feel like our season has not ended yet. It is a hard feeling for sure, but I am just proud that our team was able to accomplish so much. I have come to realize that I care more about connections I’ve made rather than amount of wins or loses.”
While his senior season will forever have that “what if” feel to it because of the championship that was not played, the start to Tattersall’s high school hockey career was set to finish just as successful.
In the fall Tattersall will be attending the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. As of now he has no plans of playing hockey collegiately, according to McIntosh. While true, McIntosh believes he is more than capable of playing at the next level.
Regardless, the future on or off the ice is bright for a player who provided the city of Keene with so many special moments.
“He has a lot of incredible stuff ahead of him,” McIntosh said. “He had a great career here with us, but his future is extremely bright and I’m excited to see all that he accomplishes. He’s one of those kids you just know will be successful.”