Tag Archives: Princeton

USA Hockey Magazine’s Half-Coverage

An Open Letter to the Editorial Staff of USA Hockey Magazine:

I’m a bit surprised that the “Ivy on Ice” article in the November issue of USA Hockey magazine only talks about the men’s game. Co-education has existed in the Ivies for almost four decades, and the women’s game has a younger but equally important history:

  • The Patty Kazmaier Award, the women’s equivalent to the Hobey Baker Award, was named for Patty Kazmaier, Princeton forward and daughter of Heisman Trophy winner Dick Kazmaier.

  • Laura Halldorson (Princeton) campaigned for women’s hockey within the ECAC, to the point where it gets equal billing on their website and coverage. Laura also coached her home state University of Minnesota women’s ice hockey team to back to back national titles.

  • With the attention foisted upon the upcoming Olympics, USA fans are bound to see any number of Ivy-affiliated women’s players, few more recognized than Angela Ruggiero (as much as it pains me to type it, Harvard). After facing the Donald on The Apprentice, what’s to fear from the Canadians and Swedes?

  • Gillian Apps played at Dartmouth and then took home the gold medal in Torino with the Canadian women’s team. Her brother Syl Apps III played for Princeton (and later Trenton in the ECHL), her father Syl Apps Jr. played with the Penguins and Kings, and her grandfather (Syl Apps) is in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

    USA Hockey usually does an outstanding job giving equal billing to men’s and women’s hockey, and I’m suprised at this omission.
    I’ll forgive leaving out Darroll Powe (Flyers, Princeton, and one of the few players to score on Brodeur twice this year).

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  • Update On Garrett Beckwith

    Three years ago, Bubba and his teammates had some fun with Garrett Beckwith attending their practices, working with the goalies and generally playing the role of “hip high school kid” to a team of middle-schoolers. At the time, I speculated that Beckwith was bound for bigger and better things, most likely west or north of New Jersey. And then things went quiet for a while.

    Tonight I received an update from Coach Barry, a/k/a Garrett’s Dad: Garrett was the top-ranked goalie in the Kootenay International Junior League this year, with a scary 1.84 GAA in 20 games, and now Trail Smoke Eaters of the KIJHL. It’s great to see a local hockey player continue on at the next level.

    Stupid but serendipitous sidebar: The Trail Smoke Eaters are based in the hamlet of Princeton, British Columbia. The NJ Devils Youth club now has goalie graduates in a pair of Princetons.

    Mistaken For A Different Elias Sports Bureau

    I’ve had some bizarre cases of mistaken identity over the years, but never one involving the player on a team jersey. Until Labor Day weekend, that is. Growing up, Labor Day was a Really Bad Day; it was the terminator between light of summer and the impending darkness of school, marching band practices, and the end of baseball season. Once I became an official Hockey Person ™, however, Labor Day took on a wonderful significance: it marked the point at which it was safe to think about hockey, to wear your favorite player t-shirt in public, to await the coming of cold winter nights filled with shouts of “Cover the slot, you pylon!” This year, I celebrated Labor Day in my second favorite Devils t-shirt, emblazed with logo in the front and 26/Elias on the back. I’m a half-sized billboard for the Prudential Center.

    The scene: I’m checking out of our beachside hotel, and the man in line behind me notices my Elias t-shirt with the comment “You don’t see many Keith Elias jerseys.” I had seen him earlier in the week orbiting the pool in some appropriate Princeton garb, but it still took me a few seconds to put together Keith Elias, Princeton football, and the differently pronounced Czech name on my back. After a bit of pleasant chat, I learned that he preceded me at Old Nassau by a few years, was a fan of Elias (football), knew Keith’s stats like Elias (sports bureau) and didn’t register Elias (hockey, despite the colors representing the Devils, rather than the Tigers, Colts, Giants or Hitmen). It’s nice to get recognized, even if it’s a case of mistaken sportswear identity.

    Princeton Hockey: Ivy Champs!

    In the midst of much cheering of all Devils teams, big, small and Lowell-oriented, I failed to comment on Princeton clinching the Ivy League men’s ice hockey championship for the first time this {decade, century, coaching era}. Last time the Tiger strode atop the Ivy halls, some kid named Jeff Halpern (now #11 on the Dallas Stars) was captain, and the Tigers also ran the table in the ECAC tournament.

    The ECAC regular season wraps up this weekend, and Princeton already has a first-round bye. Unfortunately, that means my one shot at seeing a playoff game happens to be the same weekend we’re closing out our youth hockey season in the nation’s capitol, but I can cheer while listening to a netcast of the game. Hip, hip, rah, rah, etc: Go Tigers!

    Princeton Hockey Hat Trick

    How about this for a hat trick: three Tiger tales in the March 13 issue of The Hockey News?

    Former Princeton captain, Washington capitals leader, one-time Wall Street Journal human interest subject and current Dallas Stars center Jeff Halpern gets the nod (and picture) as pivot on the checking line, while on the opposite side of the centerfold Jersey guy, former NJ Devils Youth player, Princeton captain and big boy George Parros receives props for putting the “mighty” back in the Ducks moniker.

    Completing the third reference from the fourth estate is a blurb in the ECHL coverage of Scott Bertoli’s 500th point with the Trenton Titans, a team he now captains and has been integral to pretty such since its inception down the road from Baker Rink.

    There’s even more good news, this time of Princeton present rather than Princetoniana: The Tigers hosted their first ECAC playoff series at home since the guys noted above were undergraduates. This year’s seniors saw their team go 3-20 during their freshman year, but yet they finished with home ice advantage and a first-round win. Setting good, solid, but achievable goals is always tough, but this year’s results showed that hard work and step-by-step improvement do generate results. It must be hard for this year’s seniors to know they’re leaving with only the knowledge that they brought the program this far, but that’s part of the beauty of a 261-year old institution — each generation builds for the next. I’m sure I’ll see various Princeton hockey related names in print, if not in the Hockey News then elsewhere above the fold.

    Silver Linings

    Hockey teams often seem to play to the level of their opponents; picking up their games when needed and sadly dropping their games when least called for.

    The Devils didn’t look like division leaders against Washington today, losing to the Caps for the first time in about a season and a half. With a game in hand over Pittsburgh, it was a perfect time to open up 2 more points over DaBurgh. Didn’t happen, and there wasn’t much to cheer about, except for the silver lining to this clouded Saturday: Cam Janssen got his first NHL point and first NHL goal. He’s played 82 games — an entire season’s worth of dressing for games, five to eight minutes at a clip, without putting one in the net. It’s nice to see consistent hard work pay off.

    Halfway between the Meadowlands and The City of Brotherly Ex-Forsberg Love, the Princeton Tigers put on a show today in the annual Alumni Day matinee game. The 4-1 win over St. Lawrence capped a weekend sweep of the top two teams in the ECAC and may give them home ice going into the playoffs. Better yet, the silver goes around the season, not just inside this weekend, as the Tigers finished their league season at 10-10-2 and their overall campaign at 13-13-3. A 0.500 season, a point per game average, is quite an accomplishment for a second year coach (who is dealing with only his first class of recruits), and comes on the heels of several years that were closer to Davy Jones’ locker than that of Casey Jones.

    Tiger Hockey on the Prowl

    Don’t look now, but the ECAC has a tiger in its tank. Namely the Princeton Tigers men’s hockey team, which has won 3 in a row and 5 of the last six, bringing them closer to 0.500 hockey than they’ve been since the days of Jeff Halpern and Syl Apps.

    We used to mangle the lyrics to the Princeton song “Going Back”, referring to our alma mater as “situated and saturated in New Jersey.” Perhaps that nomenclature is better applied to frosh goalie and former NJ Devils Youth player Zane Kalemba. He sports a 6-4-1 record, a winning record albeit early in the season, but it’s great to see our local alum standing up big in Division I hockey.

    We’re Going To Lake Placid

    Fifteen hours from now, I’ll be driving a car loaded with one smelly hockey bag, two well-worn sticks, two boxes of girl scout cookies, three suitcases, camera bag, case of trophies, box of NJ Devils Youth Hockey club pins, a cowbell, two parents (mine) and one son (also mine). 290 miles from here we’ll pass the Prague Motor Lodge as we enter the town of Lake Placid. Friday morning we start our annual end of season tournament.

    I love Lake Placid, possibly because it reminds me of the timelessness one of my other favorite haunts, Princeton University. Standing there puts you in a river of tradition. It’s never the same, but it’s the same landmarks and waysigns and visual clues that you’re somewhere special.

    It’s 1932 and 1980 and 2006 all rolled into one. It’s a Main Street so quiet that if you stand outside on a cold night, you swear you hear “U-S-A!” being chanted. It’s where our hockey season, like that of Mike Eruzione, comes to an end this year.

    We face some tough teams in our division. We have four games in a 38-hour stretch over two days. I believe in the 17 young men who will be playing on that fabled rink, where, we are told by banners at every corner, “Miracles Happen Here.” I’ve waited 51 weeks to find out if it’s true — again.

    Locomotive Cheer for Michelle Kwan

    The locomotive cheer is one of the oldest college cheers. dervied from a pre-Civil War Army cheer. It’s forever ingrained in my Princeton experience, not just from four years on campus but through countless reunions and sporting events, in which a locomotive signals a job well done, a sign of respect, and conveys a thank-you for the phrase coined by Woodrow Wilson, “Princeton in the Nation’s Service.”

    Here’s a big locomotive for Michelle Kwan, who withdrew from the Olympics today. She proved that you don’t need a gold medal to be a champion. She demonstrated that you can participate in a sport you love and respect without it being the sole thing that defines you, and without the media’s insistence that you further define the sport. She was eloquent in her speech but more elegant in her deeds.

    Having suffered through a torn groin I can vouch that it is excruciatingly painful. Walking hurts. Stairs are torture. I can’t imagine skating or jumping. Muscle tears are accidents, they’re emotionally painful, and they have ended more than a few hockey players’ careers. This likely ends Michelle Kwan’s Olympic career, and she’ll depart without a gold medal.

    But go to your local rink early on a Sunday morning, and watch the young skaters, and ask them about their idols and heroines. You’ll hear Michelle Kwan’s name emerge as a cheer. The Olympics are about pagaentry, and human drama, and tradition. Today the human element rose above the others – but the tradition, once started, lives far longer than the memory of medals and podiums.

    Princeton, Forward

    Looking forward: Princeton’s men’s hockey team is making a run for an ECAC post-season berth. With 6 games to go, the Tigers are only 5 points out of a playoff spot. It’s mathematically possible, and certainly within the realm of possibility as well. The Tigers have reeled off four straight conference wins, over nationally ranked opponents, and are unbeated in their last 5 ECAC skates while picking up 9 out of a potential 10 points in the standings.

    Princeton holds the distinction of being the genesis of both the Hobey Baker Award and the Patty Kazmaier Award for excellence in collegiate ice hockey. It’s nice to reward players post-season, but it’s even nicer to have your own players in the post-season. Princeton, Forward to late March