Paul Thompson was born in Methuen, MA, but grew up about 15 miles away in Derry, New Hampshire, an old New England town nestled between the big city hustle and bustle of Boston and the quiet Lakes Region in the middle of the state.
Being sandwiched in the middle, Thompson grew up with the best of both worlds a short drive away. He and his family could head to Boston to watch Red Sox and Bruins games, or they could head north to the Lakes Region to enjoy the scenic beauty that attracts numbers of tourists in the summer.
Which place did the Thompson family like better? Well, they have since moved out of Derry and chose the water over the city.
Ironically, Thompson grew up near the home of a Penguins’ rival team in the Eastern Conference. He even went to see them play quite a bit as a kid. Don’t hold it against him though, it was an easy drive and something to do on a Saturday night.
Player: Paul Thompson
Hometown: Derry, NH
Type: New England town
Population: 33,109 (2010 Census)
Distance from Wilkes-Barre: 341 miles
What type of place is Derry?
“It’s an older New England town with classic buildings. It was pretty populated though - my high school had 4,000 kids, but it was still a laid back place.”
Was that because it is near the Lakes Region?
“That is a beautiful area. Lots of green, fresh air and the lakes are really clean. My parents built a lakehouse there when I was 10 and I always looked forward to going up there in the weekends. My parents have since moved up there and live on Newfound Lake.”
And how about Boston to the south. Did you go there often?
“I went into Boston every once in a while, and when I was 14 I played on a hockey team in the city. It was a big deal as a kid to go to Boston and do major things like watch the Red Sox and Bruins. But for hockey, I went to a lot of (Manchester) Monarchs games. Today, I enjoy going up there to play because my parents and family all come down to see me.”
Being close to Boston, was there a lot of hockey opportunities in Derry?
“I actually played in the Monarch’s organization in the Eastern Junior Hockey League, which was New Hampshire high school hockey, for two years. I then stayed close and played at the University of New Hampshire, so it was nice to play at a high level and still live at home. Hockey in that area is growing and the high school teams are doing well. It’s not like it is in Boston, but it’s becoming a hockey hotbed.”
Any similarities between Wilkes-Barre and Derry?
“Derry isn’t as populated, but here you have Harveys Lake which is like home. You also have the Penguins, and up there they have the Monarchs. In both places the people are nice and there are places where it’s laid back.
Would you like to move back to Derry at some point?
“I’d definitely like to move to that New Hampshire/Massachusetts area. I’d love to settle down in New England later on.”