Andrew Mezza has long left divots in Beverly hockey rinks.
He left his last ones this past season when he skated off the ice in a Beverly High Panthers jersey, ending his hockey career in his hometown.
“It was a sad feeling knowing I would never play for Beverly again,” Mezza said. “I feel like it hasn’t hit me yet.”
The center walks away with 32 goals, 43 assists and 75 career points.
Mezza started playing for Beverly High in the 8th grade when he was placed on JV. He went on to earn the MVP award that year.
Then, he was placed on the first line for Varsity his freshman year, where he remained throughout high school.
But hockey started for him way back when his parents signed him up to learn how to skate.
The two took him to the Gloucester Hockey Rink and he began playing with a puck at eight years old.
His father Tim put up a rink in his backyard afterwards and Mezza skated every single day after school in Elementary School.
Hockey ran in his family well before he was born though.
Mezza’s great uncle Bobby Carpenter played in the NHL for 19 years. He was a member of the Capitals, Rangers, Kings, Bruins and Devils.
His cousin and Bobby Carpenter’s daughter Alex Carpenter plays for the United States Women’s Olympic team and for the Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays in the Russian Women’s Hockey League.
His cousin Robert “Bobo” Carpenter plays for the New York Islanders’ AHL affiliate team, while his other cousin T.J. Deinstadt played for rival high school Danvers.
“He’s my cuz so I definitely wanted to see him play well. However, Beverly-Danvers hockey is a huge rivalry. Ideally for me I wanted Andrew scoring and playing well, not getting hurt, and Danvers winning in a close game,” Deinstadt said. “It all worked out because he played some of his best games against Danvers and scored multiple times.”
And in his own home where three generations of Mezza’s live, hockey runs deep.
His father Tim played for Beverly High from 87′-90′, and his brother Matthew plays on Varsity for the school now as he prepares to enter his junior year. His youngest brother Johnny will enter High School soon and is shredding ice like his older brothers.
Matthew and Andrew played on the same line for the past two years and built memories in the process.
“One of my favorite memories is passing to Matthew on his first career goal in Saugus,” Mezza said. “It was a sick feeling, every time he scored it was like I scored whether I assisted or not.”
“Being on that ice against Saugus, having the stomach bug was very tough, but having my big brother there to push me through it helped a lot,” Matthew Mezza said. “It ended up resulting in me putting it in the back of the net off a feed from him.”
And with his hockey career coming to a close, it won’t be the last time the game is involved in his life.
Whether it’s from being a fan or a coach, he plans to stay involved in the game in some way, especially with his brothers and cousins still skating.
“It’s crazy to see this sport come to an end, but I know it will be a part of me forever and I’ll be around the game in some form for the rest of my life,” Mezza said. “I’m so excited to watch Matthew and Jonathan come through the Beverly High School hockey program and see them succeed and experience all the fun things I got to experience.”
With his legacy as a star center for the Panthers being left behind, it’s the next Mezza up.
“Not many people get to say they played on a team with their brother, not to mention line mate. It’s something I’m always gonna remember,” Matthew Mezza said. “From here on out I’m gonna learn from him. He’s a great player and I’ll never forget the time we’ve spent going to practices, pasta parties and other events with the team. It was a blast.”