The Harvard men’s hockey team hopes that some fresh faces will make a big impact in keeping the puck out of the net this season.
The squad welcomes five new players—three defensemen and two goaltenders—onto the ice of Bright Hockey Center, and with their relentless work ethic and team-oriented mindset, the freshmen look to have great potential to help the Crimson build on last year’s 9-21-3 record and ninth-place ECAC regular-season finish.
“They’re a very strong group,” sophomore Alex Fallstrom says. “They came in here with a lot of strength, and they just wanted to take their spot on the team, and they don’t apologize for anything...I think they’re going to be great.”
The rookies are working hard to improve and to adjust to the college level of play, not only for their own benefit, but also for the betterment of the team.
“As freshmen, [they] have a lot to learn, but I think they’ve really pushed themselves so far,” says Harvard coach Ted Donato ’91.
“All of [the freshmen] are hardworking in practice and in the weight room,” freshman Dan Ford says. “Everyone wants to get better. [We] are taking extra time after practice to work on things, and [we] are just excited to be on the team and to try to contribute in any way we can.”
Although it is a small recruiting class in comparison to past seasons, the rookies are already bringing a lot to the rink in terms of their individual skills and strong backgrounds.
Ford, a defenseman, has had several years of experience in the United States Hockey League and opted to take a gap year before joining the Crimson this fall. He was recognized as an offensive-minded defenseman in his two years with the Sioux City Musketeers, being named the assistant captain and the defensive player of the year in his last season. He also played for and captained the Syracuse Stars of the Eastern Junior Hockey League and was selected as the league’s defensive player of the year.
“[Dan] has done a good job so far moving the puck and being sound defensively,” Donato says, going on to call him a “very solid stay-at-home guy.”
Ford is joined in the Harvard lineup by fellow freshman defensemen Danny Fick and John Caldwell.
Fick was a prominent player in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League and also captained his high school team to a Suburban East Conference championship. He was his team’s top scoring defenseman and MVP, the conference’s defenseman of the year, a two-time member of the all-conference team, and an all-state honorable mention.
Caldwell possesses similar leadership experience, being named the captain and MVP of his high school’s hockey team, as well as serving as captain of the Eastern Massachusetts Senators select team. He was also the recipient of the Best Pro Prospect award at the 2009 Hockey Night in Boston.
“Fick is a really great skater with a good work ethic, and Caldwell is a smart player who has good size and is also working hard to get better,” Ford says. Donato reiterates these comments by complimenting Caldwell’s, Fick’s, and Ford’s ability to skate and move the puck.
“[The] three defensemen...have all been impressive so far in the early going,” Donato says.
Fellow rookies Raphael Girard and Connor Riley are also looking to make a contribution between the pipes for the Crimson.