After coaching the Joel Barlow boys hockey team for nine years, Pete Maxfield decided it was time to \u201ctake a break\u201d after the 2013-14 season. It didn\u2019t last long. Maxfield was back the following season, this time coaching the Masuk-Barlow co-op girls hockey team. \u201cHockey is one of those sports \u2014 it gets into your blood,\u201d said Maxfield, who was recently named the new head coach of the Wilton-Norwalk girls hockey team. \u201cIt was very exciting for me when I saw the opening for the job. It was a good fit for me.\u201d Maxfield, a Wilton resident the past six years, replaces Melissa Hawkins, who stepped down in March after two years as head coach. He brings a wealth of coaching experience, on the youth and high school levels. A 1990 graduate of Barlow, where he played four years on the hockey team and was a team captain his senior year, Maxfield returned to his alma mater in 2004 as an assistant coach, and then as head coach from 2005 through 2014. The Barlow program had hit rock bottom at the time, with three coaches in five years and a record of 1-91-2. \u201cThe program was really struggling when I took over. They had one win the prior five years. My first year we went 6-12-1 and by my fourth year we won the South-West Conference Division II conference championship,\u201d he said. \u201cWe had some good young talent so by the time the fourth year come around, it all came together.\u201d The conference title was only the second in Barlow history, and its first in 12 years. That 14-8 season was the best of Maxfield\u2019s nine seasons (during which his assistant was former Wilton High boys coach Charlie Blanchard). The Falcons qualified for the Division III state playoffs in six of his final seven seasons. Maxfield\u2019s biggest source of pride is the fact that Barlow won the conference Sportsmanship Award in five of his nine seasons as coach. \u201cWhen I took it over, we were on probation,\u201d he said. He felt it was time to take a break after the 2013-14 season, so Maxfield stepped down from the Barlow job. It didn\u2019t last young. Barlow had three girls who expressed interested in playing hockey, so Maxfield reached out to Masuk boys hockey coach Andy Townsend \u2014 who also coached a girls hockey club team at the school \u2014 about forming a co-op team. As things turned out, Masuk needed players and the Masuk-Barlow coop was formed, with Maxfield and Townsend coaching the team last winter. It was Maxfield\u2019s first time coaching girls, and it was a great experience. \u201cThat was part of the reason why, when I heard the Wilton job opened, I became interested,\u201d he said. \u201cI had a lot of fun coaching the girls. It was very different from coaching the boys, and I really enjoyed it.\u201d Another plus was that Maxfield knew WHS director of athletics Chris McDougal from when McDougal was the athletic director at Brookfield. Maxfield also works with the Connecticut RiverHawks of the Greater Bridgeport Youth program in the fall, coaching U16 and U18 players to prepare them for high school. He is anxious to get going at Wilton, and has met with about a dozen of the players already. \u201cThey definitely seem like a committed group of girls,\u201d he said. \u201cIt seems like a good core of girls coming back, obviously with (all-FCIAC goalie) Brooke Jonsson in goal. It seems like a good group going forward. They seem very eager about this season.\u201d The Warriors graduated seven seniors, but should return 16 players next season. Maxfield hopes to again have a JV team to develop players, and also is looking to get more girls into the program in future years. \u201cI would encourage any player who wants to try out hockey to go out and try it,\u201d he said. \u201cI had players at Barlow who started out as house players and by the time they were junior or seniors they were contributors.\u201d Notes: Hawkins stepped down as head coach in March to focus her efforts on being director of the new Connecticut Oilers women\u2019s hockey program. In her first season, 2013-14, she guided Wilton-Norwalk to its second FCIAC playoff berth in program history, and 9-9-1 record. It was the second-most wins in a season for Wilton in the seven-year history of the program. The team lost its top line and top defenseman and struggled through a 3-16-1 season this past year. Maxfield lives in Wilton with his wife Courtney and their four-year old son Cameron.