Carlow Follows Carlow as KP’s Hockey Coach Captains Key Components for Warriors
Toby Carlow (middle) and his assistant coaches celebrate after guiding Medfield to the state hockey championship in 2016.
By Ken Hamwey
Staff Sports Writer
The King Philip boys ice hockey team has a new coach this season but the transition from old to new shouldn’t create many problems in adjusting — for two reasons.
Toby Carlow, the new coach, is employing a similar style on offense and defense that the previous coach used. And, the players won’t have any problem with the new coach’s name because Toby Carlow has replaced Paul Carlow.
Talk about coincidence!
Toby Carlow, however, is not related to Paul Carlow, who stepped away from interscholastic hockey to focus on his work as a scout with the New York Islanders. Paul Carlow is an amateur scout who previously covered the Northeast, however, he’s now covering the entire U.S. “I’m going to miss coaching KP’s team but I’ll always be pulling for them,’’ he said.
“Paul and I both have the same type of hockey mindset,’’ Toby Carlow said. “At KP, we’ll continue to blend an up-tempo offense that relies on precision and speed in transition with a defensive style that focuses on structured intensity.’’
Toby Carlow’s hockey background includes a plethora of success — as a high school and college skater, as a high school coach, and he even played a year in the minor leagues.
Toby played at Burrillville High, a Rhode Island school that dominated ice hockey before Mount St. Charles became the state’s kingpin. A defenseman, Carlow, who played on Burrillville’s 1993 state title team, was a captain and a three-time all-star for the Broncos. In college at UMass-Boston, Carlow was an associate captain and an ECAC all-star. When he finished his four years of varsity play, he was the fourth all-time leading scorer for a defenseman.
Carlow played minor league hockey his first year after college. “I played in the East Coast Hockey League with the Toledo Storm and the Birmingham Bulls,’’ he said. “Later, I competed in the Western Professional League for the San Angelo (Texas) Outlaws.’’
After his pro stint, Carlow became an assistant coach at Burrillville High for seven years before moving on to become an assistant at Medfield High. After 11 games in his first year at Medfield, a change was made and Carlow suddenly was the Warriors’ head coach.
The change and Carlow’s promotion turned out to be a very productive move. He spent 13 years as head coach, guided Medfield to 13 tourney berths, and led the Warriors to a state runner-up trophy in 2014 and a state championship in 2016.
“My greatest time in coaching was at Medfield,’’ Carlow said. “It was special, going to Boston Garden twice. Beating Lincoln-Sudbury for the state title in 2016 was my top thrill as a coach. Everything worked out well. The kids bought in, they were very coachable and I had a great staff. The town was all in when we were in the final four twice.’’
In spite of compiling a career regular-season record of 159-55-36 (24-11 in the playoffs), a coaching change was made in 2021. But, Carlow wasn’t idle for long, accepting the KP post last September.
“The ultimate goal at KP is to win a state title,’’ Carlow emphasized. “Other goals are for the players and the team to improve daily and to compete for the Kelley-Rex Division crown. Franklin usually is the team to beat for the division title. They’re always strong, have good tradition and now Chris Spillane is back coaching them.’’
Carlow says his individual style will be “demanding but fair.’’
“I’ll push the boys to reach their potential and they’ll know I’m serious about motivating them,’’ he noted. “I want them to have a great time and to enjoy their athletic journey. I’ll be firm, but also fair and honest.’’
Carlow inherited a program that had a 10-8-2 record last year and split a pair of games in the playoffs. “They lost, 3-1, to St. John’s Prep, which won the state title,’’ he said. “KP held its own against a great team and gave them all they could handle. I told my current players they should be proud of what they did against St. John’s.’’
Carlow, who has taught special education at Woonsocket High for the last 18 years, is excited to be coaching KP in spite of losing 12 seniors to graduation and having another player transfer. He likes his team’s strengths.
“Our work ethic is solid, we’re skilled and our depth and skating ability are good,’’ he said. “We’re physical, have size and speed and the boys have shown they’re flexible, able to adjust to a new coach and a new system.’’
Carlow was still learning about his players and assessing their roles as pre-season practice neared its conclusion. But, the new coach is well-versed on his two captains and his two assistant captains. The captains are seniors Kyle Abbott (goalie) and James Boldy (center), and the assistant captains are juniors Max Robison (left wing) and Cam Lehan-Allen (defenseman).
“The four captains are driven, goal-oriented, solid leaders and technically skilled,’’ Carlow said. “Kyle has size, is aggressive and instinctive while James has scoring ability, is smart and leads effectively. He’s our QB. Max is physical, gets to the corners and creates turnovers while Cam is strong with the puck on defense and able to create smooth transitions.’’
Carlow’s brother, Albert, is KP’s varsity assistant and Drew Diko, a Woonsocket teacher, is coaching the jayvees. “My brother played at Burrillville, coached the girls team there and was an assistant for me in Medfield,’’ Carlow said.
The Warriors opened their season with a non-league encounter against Medfield and won, 5-4.
Relying on a competitive philosophy that focuses on hard work, reaching one’s potential and having fun, Carlow firmly believes that winning will be the by-product if all three of those situations occur. “Losing isn’t fun but winning is,’’ he said. “And, success comes from positive experiences.’’
Carlow also understands that sports can teach athletes valuable life lessons. “Athletes learn how to overcome adversity, how to be good teammates and leaders, and how to be mentally tough and resilient,’’ he offered. “Sports also teach athletes how to fit into a role. Sometimes, players have to learn to wait for their time. I want to get kids prepared for the next chapter of their lives.’’
Toby Carlow knows the drill and he knows what it takes to win championships. The KP hockey program should be in good hands going forward.