High schools


Franklin’s Chris Spillane steps down after 21 years

Chris Spillane took his Franklin boys’ hockey team to 21 postseason appearances in as many seasons.

He guided the Panthers to four state finals, culminating with a Division 1 championship in 2016, the program’s first since Spillane skated for his mentor, Bob Luccini, in 1983. Spillane won over 300 games. His 2015 squad made a Super 8 appearance, the first Hockomock program to do so.

But now, Spillane says, it is time to be a parent. On Monday, he confirmed that he is stepping down as head coach.


His daughter, Kaitlyn, graduated from Saint Anselm last May after captaining the Hawks’ women’s hockey team. His son, Ryan, skates for the men’s hockey team. And his youngest son, CJ, who was a captain at Franklin this past winter, is headed to UMass Amherst in the fall.

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Spillane finished second in career wins at Franklin behind Luccini.

“Championships are great, but it’s more the friendships and meeting all those players [that stands out],” said Spillane, a sergeant in the Franklin Police Department.

“The hockey players, they’re the ones that do the talking on the ice. We just give them a little guidance.”

But Spillane certainly left a legacy.


After winning a state title as a player with the Panthers in 1983, he returned as a senior to produce 72 points. After an illustrious career at UMass Boston, where he is fifth in career points (57 goals, 72 assists, 129 points), he returned to his alma mater to coach, first as an assistant.

“It’s special,” Spillane said of his connections to the program. “It’s a family legacy.”

Spillane said a committee will be formed to hire his replacement, but he endorsed his assistant coaches for the position.

“I just hope [the program will] continue to grow,” Spillane said. “My assistant coaches have been with me for a long time. They’re in good hands.”

Jenna Ciccotelli can be reached at jenna.ciccotelli@globe.com.