Last Week, I had the good fortune to get a call from my good friends at Pure Hockey on Campus — a fine program you can hear either as a podcast or on NHL Home Ice on Sirius XM — and in the course of a very enjoyable conversation, Bernie Corbett and Paul McNamara asked what I’d been up to in the offseason.
As it turns out, it may well be that the most important thing I did — at least, as concerns my position as your humble Hobey pundit — was read Esquire magazine.
I’ve been getting Esquire for the last few years, and one of my favorite features is the “What I’ve Learned” interview. Part of it is that the interview takes up just one page, so I can at least skim it during the elevator ride from the lobby to my apartment. more importantly, though, no matter who’s being interviewed, I always see something interesting.
Case in point: September’s interview with Larry King.
I’m not much of a King fan — come on, there’s usually a hockey game on during his show! — but I’ve long appreciated him as an old-school sports fan, the kind who grew up with the Brooklyn Dodgers and followed them all the way out to Los Angeles. Sure enough, sports came up during the Esquire interview, and King let loose with these gems:
“Great athletes never have lousy names. If your name is Frederico Trepalano, you are not going to be a great ballplayer.”
“Michael Jordan is a great name. Easy to remember. Seven letters and six letters. Usually, if they combine to thirteen they’re good names.”
Well, we haven’t had a thirteen-letter Hobey winner since 2004 — Junior Lessard — but there may be a little something to this name business. In any event, the early season scoring certainly has me thinking that Mr. King and my USCHO colleague Dave Starman have more in common than their bald spots.
You see, it was four years ago, when I was getting Hobey Watch ballots from Dave for the CSTV Hobey Baker Watch, that I first started hearing from him about Miami’s Carter Camper. At the time, the native of Rocky River, Ohio (home to former RedHawk and Hobey Baker Finalist Nathan Davis) was in the midst of a freshman season that would see him finish with 41 poinrs, but hadn’t gotten himself into the Hobey mix just yet. Dave had simply taken a shine to the name and wanted more excuses to say it.
Now, though, on the heels of three 40-point seasons, Camper is a bona fide Hobey candidate, and he’s showing it early on this season.
In six games this season, Camper has seven goals and 10 assists for the No. 1 RedHawks, leading the nation in points per game by a wide margin. Naturally, if he keeps up, he’s going to be in the Hobey mix. Still, there’s no guarantee that he will.
After all, the RedHawks are an award voter’s nightmare in the sense that it’s often hard to pick one player who stands out from the rest because the team’s balance is so good. So far, that’s not the case by a wide margin. However, as Camper continues his remarkable season, it’ll be worth following to see whether he drops off as players like Andy Miele, Pat Cannone and Alden Hirschfeld pick up their own scoring (not that they’ve been slouches so far) or whetehr there will be that one superlative Miami player this season.
Could Camper win the Hobey? Sure. He’s a four-year player, he plays for a great program, and he’s clearly learned well from Rico Blasi and his coaching staff. It remains to be seen how that’ll translate when it’s all said and done.
In the meantime, he does have a great name.