Some families go to church on Christmas. The Coogans play hockey.

“I don’t remember when we started,” Will Coogan said at the Martha’s Vineyard Arena on Wednesday. “But every year we skate on Christmas Day. They give us an hour. It’s our church.”

Will, at 45, is the oldest of the three children of Ed and Liza Coogan — although he likes to tell everyone the opposite (and most believe him). Two years younger than him is Geoghan. And three years younger than Geoghan is Nelligan (Nell, for short). Will lives in Edgartown and has the swagger of a guy who spent seven years in L.A. trying to be an actor. Geoghan lives in Vineyard Haven and has the quiet confidence of a guy who pretty much did three years of law school in two. Nell lives in Oak Bluffs and is, by the brothers’ estimation, a much better-educated and impressive mix of them both.

Will owns and manages restaurants. Geoghan is a real estate lawyer. Nell has a law degree and works at the regional high school. They’re all from the Island. They’re all married. They all have kids. And they couldn’t be more different.

But they have one thing in common. And it’s not just the last name.

“We all love hockey,” Geoghan said.

Nell, Geoghan and Will — the Coogan siblings. — Jeanna Shepard

The sport is pretty much religion for the Coogans, a family that prefers bleachers to pews, their holy water frozen and their glass unstained. The family’s presence on the Island dates to the 1940s — as far back as its presence on the ice. The older generation, brothers Greg and the late Edmond Coogan, grew up playing on ponds in and around Boston, getting up at 2 a.m. to head out to Hingham, Walpole and Revere. They later settled on the Vineyard, with Ed becoming a lawyer and Greg a teacher, and both serving as selectmen. They started families, shodding their children in skates as well as shoes. Forty years later, it’s finally paying off.

“All three of them had a passion for the sport,” said their uncle Greg, who is currently an Oak Bluffs selectman and skates with the Never-Too-Lates league twice a week at age 70. “But knowing my brother and me, I don’t think they had really much of a chance to dodge the passion.”

Ed Coogan died in 2001.

Greg and Ed were instrumental in the construction of the rink back in the eighties and nineties, helping transform it from an outdoor ice arena into an indoor facility. They both coached too.

“Greg’s the reason we all do this,” Nell said. “Him and my father.”

Will, who has two kids, coaches a U10 Squirt team. Nell, who has two daughters, coaches a U10 girls team, a U10 coed squirt team, and is assistant coach for the girls high school varsity team. And then there’s Geoghan, who coaches a U12 girls team, is an assistant coach for the boys high school team, and serves as the program director of Martha’s Vineyard Youth Hockey. Greg’s son Packy, who is five years younger than Nell, is also coaching. On almost any day, at almost any given time, someone with the last name Coogan is bound to be at the rink.

“It’s something you always look forward to every November,” Geoghan said. “I can remember standing in this little part of the lobby listening to REM’s Stand during a Red Kennedy Tournament, with the sides of the arena open, and all of those guys on my Mites and Squirt teams who I was standing there with, they are all still friends of mine. I think it was the only sport I played where I am still friends with those guys decades later. I liked that. And I wanted that for my kids.”

Hockey fever began with their father Edmond and uncle Greg. — Jeanna Shepard

Will and Geoghan grew up on the Island playing high school hockey together under coach Steve Donovan. They were very different — Will like his father Ed, Geoghan less so — and wildly competitive about both sports and life. Their father dubbed them “the Argue Brothers,” they said — Will in goal and Geoghan on defense, forced to work together on the ice even though they sometimes didn’t get along.

“I’m the most vocal goalie you’ve ever heard in your entire life, and I let people know if they are doing something wrong,” Will said.

“You’re vocal with everything,” Geoghan chimed in.

Nell, who went to Wesleyan, was something of a trailblazer for women’s hockey on the Island, always the only girl on her team and the first girl to make it through the Island Bantam program. When she reached the regional high school, they didn’t even have a girls hockey team, so as a senior she helped start club hockey for girls. Two years later, in 1996, Sam Sherman got the girl’s hockey program off the ground.

“I grew up playing in youth hockey as the only girl on my team forever,” Nell said. “It was a big deal because I had a braid and everyone wanted to check me no matter what.”

In their twenties, the three Coogan siblings were spread across the country, their lives elsewhere. Then their father got sick.

“He called me when I was in L.A. and said, I have six months,” Will said. “My dad told me the best quote of my life: you can always come back.”

All three returned to the Island, Geoghan rushing through law school to take over his father’s law practice, Nell recently married with a husband in the restaurant business. They slowly settled down, taking care of their mother Liza — who never really needed taking care of — purchasing The Wharf and Rockfish, and establishing roots of their own. Hockey, and in particular, coaching, was part of that.

“I’m a much better coach than I ever was a player,” Geoghan said. “There’s something about it. Over the years, since I’ve been running youth hockey, I can just come out here, and when I get on the ice, everything else is gone. I can just be out there.”

Like their personalities, all three have starkly different coaching styles. Will is all about fun, while Geoghan all about fundamentals. Nell, of course, is the perfect in between. None are all that interested in Xs and Os.

“I want you to like the game,” Will said. “And if you ever watch Geoghan skate, he knows the fundamentals of how to get better at the game, specifically skating. The best skater coach I’ve ever seen is my brother, and I’ve watched Youtube videos and Youtube videos, and those things remind me of how he skates. But for me, it’s like, we can design any kind of play you want, and whether you win or lose, it’s did you have fun today? That’s what matters.”

The three Coogans and the generation of parents and other coaches that have come up with them have already left an indelible mark on the Vineyard’s youth hockey program. When they started over a decade ago, there were only a handful of kids in each age group. Now more than 20 graduate each year. But more impressive than the large number of kids gained is the small number who have been lost.

“I think the biggest win we’ve had is if I look back from the time my son was four or five years old, I think we’ve lost five kids,” Geoghan said. “Our rentention has been amazing.”

Girls youth hockey has also exploded, with the program strong enough to field entirely female U10 and U12 teams. Last year the girls U12 team whopped an undefeated program from Duxbury, leaving mainland parents stunned. There are now more girls than boys in the eight and nine-year-old age groups. It helps that the Coogans produced five girls between them — although Will lamented that his daughter was still a toe-tapper, his version of saying she’s a figure-skating holdout.

Uncle Greg said if his brother Ed was still alive, he’d be mighty impressed with his children — and his grandchildren.

“I have a lot of fun sitting back and watching them,” Greg said. “And I’m sure Ed would too.”

As program director, Geoghan said his goal is to increase access and inclusion for any kid who wants to get on the ice. On Wednesday, while watching students from the Tisbury School skate, there were few who Geoghan and Will didn’t know or hadn’t coached, from their own children to members of the Island’s Brazilian and Jamaican communities. All the kids looked up to them.

Just this week, Will got a letter from a player as part of an assignment to write to someone he admires. Geoghan received a similar letter two years ago.

“This kid was a terror,” Geoghan said. “When he was five, he was always all over the place, punching people . . . We had to take him aside and be like, look, that’s not going to happen here, we’re here to have fun. So he stuck with the program. We had him through eighth grade and he called me at the end of his time at Edgartown School. He calls me up and says, Coach, I’ve got this project for the end of the year and it’s supposed to be on the most influential person in my life. And that’s you.”