As a sophomore, Mike O’Toole
immediately assumed a position of prominence on the Stoneham High hockey
team. Coach Dick Burns quickly realized that the defenseman’s
considerable all-around skills merited a regular position on the defense
of a veteran SHS sextet. The head coach and his experienced players
gained confidence anytime the sophomore took the ice. As the season
progressed, Mike’s ice time increased as did the trust of his coach
regardless of the situation.
Mike’s primary focus was
always taking care of business in the defensive zone, primarily clearing
out opposition in front of the net and neutralizing the most dangerous
offensive players. Performing these tasks, he was unmatched in his
Prior to the 1968-69
campaign, much was expected of Mike O’Toole due to his varsity debut.
The Stoneham Independent reported, “He will be a standout at defense”.
Much will depend on him. (O’Toole) resembles Greg Wright (SHS Hall of
Fame ’05) in his skating and playing methods and he could well develop
into another outstanding blue liner.” The prediction of stardom proved
accurate. Mike’s overall game, passing, puck handling, and shooting
skills progressed significantly. As a junior, O’Toole played a leading
role on a team that finished (11-3-1) and advanced to the state
The return of a core group
of veteran players his senior season was a reason for optimism. With
earlier knee problems, Mike suffered another knee injury in a preseason
jamboree. He refused to let the injury keep him off the ice. Playing on
two bad knees, he continued to maintain a high level of play. The senior
captain led his team (a 14-3-1 record) to the first Middlesex League
Championship in Stoneham history. The Spartans, a team built on defense,
led by their “stay-at-home” foundation Michael O’Toole, and goaltending
of Sheridan and Geragosian, allowed less than two goals a game. Mike
garnered numerous individual accolades including Boston Globe
All-Scholastic and Middlesex all-star recognition.
Mike is a former Stoneham policeman and currently resides in Woodsville,