When Danny Biega was a senior at Salisbury High School in Connecticut three years ago, he decided to break the rules.
He wasn’t allowed to have cable in his dorm room, but there was something he really wanted to watch—his brothers.
So one of his friends snuck in a television, and in study hall, Danny watched Harvard’s opening round game of the 2009 Beanpot against Boston University. Michael Biega ’11, then a sophomore forward, scored the Crimson’s first goal. Alex Biega ’10, then a junior defenseman, tied the game at the final horn—only to have the shot overruled because it came a second too late.
The following year, Danny joined Michael and Alex in Cambridge. Playing together was nothing new to the Biegas; doing so merely continued a tradition that went back to their childhoods in Montreal, where the trio and their youngest brother Marc—now 17, and also quite the hockey player—spent their youth skating on a rink their father built by himself.
The rink had a tree in the middle—good for both checking people into and knocking pucks off of—but as the boys grew older, they eventually outgrew the family yard and moved to a lake next to the Biega home.
“[Montreal] was a great city to grow up in,” Biega recalled. “It’s really hockey-oriented; we basically grew up in skates there. Especially at a young age, it’s what most of your friends do ... So I just naturally followed.”
Though their father never played and there was no history of hockey in the Biega family, the trio of brothers fell in love with the sport.
They would compete and hone their skills through the frigid winters—with games only ending because of fights—before all three attended Salisbury.
“[Being the younger brother] made things easier,” Biega said. “I followed their training programs, and they made me a better player just because of the competitive spirit we had between each other.”
At Salisbury, Danny designed an ambitious plan for himself that included extra classes and summer school so he could skip ahead a year and play with Alex and Michael at Harvard. That he did in 2009-10, when the threesome shared a power-play shift and became just the second trio of brothers to ever suit up for the Crimson at the same time.
“Obviously you don’t get to [play with your siblings] very often,” Biega said. “It was a really unique experience and I really cherished it. That’s something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life.”
Danny finished with nine points on five goals, a solid freshman season. But with Alex captaining the team and Michael finishing second in points, the rookie was overshadowed by his two older brothers.
In 2010, though, with Alex graduating to the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres—who drafted him in the fifth round in 2006—and Michael in his senior campaign, it was Danny who became Harvard’s star.
Despite being a defenseman, and thus not involved in the squad’s offense at all times, Danny led the team with 19 assists and 30 points—the most of any Crimson blueliner in 17 years—and tied with Michael for second on the squad with 11 goals. He was one of just three defensemen in the nation to lead his team in scoring and the first to do so for Harvard since Mark Fusco in 1982.
The awards poured in for the sophomore: first-team All-Ivy League, second-team All-ECAC, the John Tudor Memorial Cup as Harvard’s MVP, and the Inside College Hockey National Player of the Week for Feb. 21.
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BREAKOUT TEAM OF THE YEAR, RUNNER-UP: Men's Hockey
MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR, RUNNER-UP: Danny Biega