Growing up in snowy Montreal, Alex, Michael, and Danny Biega were immersed from birth in a world obsessed with hockey.
“It was a very competitive atmosphere and we took hockey very seriously living in Montreal, which is a very hockey-specific and hockey-oriented town,” freshman Danny says.
The competitive atmosphere of Montreal infiltrated the Biega family environment. The four brothers—the youngest, Marc, will graduate from high school in 2011—played games of two-on-two hockey growing up, with Alex teaming up with Marc to take on Michael and Danny. The games more than often ended up in fistfights.
But there won’t be any fighting between the brothers in the near future. With Danny’s arrival on campus this year, the Biegas will all be on the same side for the first time, as the three look to help the Crimson challenge for an ECAC and Ivy League title.
“Michael and I have played on the same teams for most of our lives,” Alex says. “I’ve never had the chance to play with Danny, just because of the age difference, but we’re really looking forward to it. It’s something very special and unique for a family and I really have to take a step back sometimes and really think it through and appreciate the opportunity and everything that has happened so far.”
The Biega brothers’ path to Harvard started five years ago. Leading the way as a highly-sought-after prep school hockey player, Alex knew that there was only one school he wanted to play for in college.
“It was kind of set in stone that I wanted to go to Harvard, and I just jumped on the opportunity and tried to do whatever I could to get to this place,” Alex says.
His decision to join the Crimson has worked out well. Now a senior and captain of the team, the defenseman led the squad with 16 assists last season and has garnered numerous awards, including last year’s John Tudor Memorial Cup as Harvard’s most valuable player.
In addition to his stellar play for the Crimson, Alex has played an important role in attracting both his brothers to the program.
Michael, currently a junior, played a key role on Harvard’s offense last year, scoring six goals and handing out 11 assists. Michael had a tremendous start to his college career in the Crimson’s 2008-09 campaign, when he was the only freshman and one of only nine Harvard players to skate in every game.
But before deciding on the Crimson, Michael entertained offers from colleges around the country, including cross-town rival Boston College.
“[Harvard] was definitely my number-one choice, and it really helped that Alex was here telling me how much fun he was having and how much of a good time this place is,” Michael says.
Alex’s experience with the Harvard program had a similar effect on Danny, as the younger brother quickly made up his mind on his top destination for college.
“Obviously, when my first brother got accepted here, I knew right away that I definitely wanted to follow his footsteps and do what he was doing,” Danny says.
Despite the competitive nature and physical style of play that the three brothers share, the Biegas have more differences than similarities when they’re on the ice.
“They’re actually very different from each other,” Harvard coach Ted Donato ’91 says. “Alex has great foot speed, and is very clever with the puck, and is flashy, very good on both ends of the ice, really is very noticeable to the common observer. Michael is not as fleet of foot, great set of hands, great puck skills, goal scorer’s shot and touch. Danny, so far as we can see, is just beyond his years in his poise and composure out there.”
Similarities and differences in playing styles aside, the Biegas will figure prominently in any success the Crimson reaps this season. And the three couldn’t be more excited for the start of what looks to be a competitive season.
“There’s going to be some fights, definitely,” Danny says. “The competitive atmosphere’s going to be back.”
—Staff writer Lucy D. Chen can be reached at email@example.com.
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