Senior Rob Fried is an assistant captain on the men’s hockey team. He is a varsity lacrosse letterwinner. He writes side-splitting stories for Satire V. He collaborated on a script that was submitted to the Pudding. Oh, and he’s also a two-year ECAC all-academic selection in hockey.
So yeah, he’s one of those people.
After all, how many 22-year-olds do you know who have pulled off the scholar-athlete-humorist hat trick? Fried is the kind of guy you thought existed only in economic models. He has an aversion to leisure and insanely high productivity.
“We literally have to beg him to relax,” said senior captain Kenny Smith, Fried’s blockmate. “He’s just an awesome kid, the hardest-working kid I’ve ever met.”
So last summer—when, you know, he was supposed to chill out a little—Fried combined his hard-working mentality with his creativity and Zamboni-sized heart to create the Crimson City Hockey Clinic, a free, nine-week program at Quincy Youth Arena for underprivileged youths, ages 10 and under.
“You’re in your summertime, you want to enjoy your summer, and what does he do? Create more work for himself,” laughed Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni. “It takes a special individual to do that.”
For his efforts Fried became one of 14 nominees for the Hockey Humanitarian Award, awarded to college hockey’s finest citizen. Fried was not on the list of five finalists announced last month, but as Smith said, “he wasn’t doing that for the recognition.”
“I did this out of a sense of duty, really,” Fried said humbly. “Growing up, I remember meeting kids who played college hockey. I still remember their names, and this is 10, 15 years ago. I remember how important it was to see those people and meet them, and make that connection.
“It was an honor to be on that list [of nominees], with so many well-qualified people on there. I’m just very happy people volunteered their time, effort and financial resources to make the clinic a success.”
Fried said he got the idea for the camp by talking with kids from the Allston-Brighton area who attended Harvard games. Fried asked them, “All right guys. Who’s going to win the Beanpot this year?”
One kid said BC. Another said BU. “I thought for sure we’d be the next one,” Fried recalled, smiling. “But nope: ‘The Huskies.’”
Fried thought of the hockey clinic as a way of increasing Harvard hockey’s exposure in Greater Boston while helping kids less fortunate than him pursue hockey.
“You don’t have to come from a very wealthy background to become a hockey player and play college hockey, and I think a lot of people forget that,” he said. “There are scholarships out there, and if you work hard enough, you can earn them.”
Fried called youth coaches in Dorchester, South Boston, Hyde Park and Quincy and asked for the names of kids who couldn’t afford summer hockey camp.
“Whoever wanted to come, it was first come, first served,” Fried said. “We had a pretty good wait-list by the end of it.”
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