Can we get your digits?

Players of the Week

Player of the Week: Harry Zolnierczyk, Brown

Brown’s one-man wrecking crew potted two goals, added two assists and finished +3 in the home-and-home split with No. 1 Yale. The Antagonizer scored a short-handed equalizer on Saturday evening in a game Bruno ultimately lost, but he earned first-assists on each of Brown’s first two goals Sunday, then sealed the historic upset with a last-minute breakaway goal. The senior captain ranks third in the league in overall points per game, with 1.44.

Honorable mention: Greg Miller, Cornell (0-4-4, +1 vs. RPI and Union); Aaron Bogosian, St. Lawrence (3-2-5 in two at Michigan Tech); Kyle Flanagan, St. Lawrence (2-3-5)

Rookie of the Week: Greg Carey, St. Lawrence

Mr. Carey makes another appearance in this space, scoring two goals and adding four assists in a win and tie at Michigan Tech. He opened the weekend with two first assists in a 4-4 draw, but then really brought it home with two goals, two helpers and a +3 rating in SLU’s 6-0 blowout win on Saturday. Carey leads the league in overall points per game (1.14), and is tied with Union rookie Daniel Carr for the conference lead in overall goals with 14.

Honorable mention: Kevin Sullivan, Union (1-2-3, +2 at Cornell); Daniel Carr, Union (2-0-2, 2 PPG at Cornell)

Goalie of the Week: Mike Garman, Cornell

The Cornell junior made the most of a platoon-split weekend, stopping 23 of 24 Engineers shots on Friday in what ultimately ended up a runaway victory. He upped his save rate to .915 in 10 appearances this season, and shrank his goals-against mean to 2.46.

Honorable mention: Keith Kinkaid, Union (2 goals against, 40 saves at Colgate and Cornell); Matt Weninger, St. Lawrence (4 goals against, 61 saves; 2nd career/season shutout); Mike Clemente, Brown (6 goals against, 62 saves against Yale)

Players like numbers, too

Through most levels of youth hockey, in most parts of the world, players only get to choose sweater numbers between 1 and about 35, give or take. Most youth teams don’t make custom jerseys, so they only order as many numbers as they might have players on the roster.

Then you get to juniors or college, with equipment managers and name-plates and custom sizes, and the options open up. But athletes being athletes, most either don’t care what number they get, or are tied to the digits they wore throughout their youth. (Only 18 ECAC Hockey players don digits above 39; 13 of them play in the North Country, for some reason.) So when you see Bobby Farnham’s 46, Allan McPherson’s 93 or Chad Ziegler’s 59, you can’t help but wonder what the stories are behind them.

I did. So here are a few of them.

  • Brown junior Bobby Farnham takes the whole “legacy” thing to a whole new level: His #46 is the natural continuation of a family tradition. Father Bob, uncles Mark and Paul, and cousin Buddy all wore 46 for Bruno; Bobby (Jr.) broke free a little bit from the family business, however, as his family members all sported their 46’s on the gridiron.
  • Clarkson’s no slave to convention, with seven players sporting numbers in the 40’s or beyond. Here are a few of the explanations: Mike Garlasco (91) used to wear 19, but Louke Oakley already had it, so he reversed it. Bryan Rufenach (89) dons his birth year. Freshman Ben Sexton (74) actually chose it in honor of junior teammate and fellow Kanata, Ontario product Mark Borowiecki (55), who used to wear #74 in juniors. Borowiecki’s double-five is in honor of his father, a ’55 birth. Rookie David Pratt (44) was #4 all his life, but it was already taken (by senior Dan Reed), so – like Gretzky had to do with hero Gordie Howe’s #9 when he joined the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – he doubled it. Goalie Paul Karpowich (33) honors one of the greatest ‘tenders in history, Patrick Roy. And for the capper, via Sport Information Director Gary Mikel, #37 Will Frederick “threw a dart at a board.”
  • Cornell is notable for having no notable numbers: coach Mike Schafer likes to keep things traditional, and apart from numbers 1, 13, and 25 (Ken Dryden wore 1, Joe Nieuwendyk, 25), players are assigned numbers more or less randomly, and within the conventional range. As for #13, Sports Information guru Kevin Zeise could only speculate:

    “Cornell’s not had a #13 on the men’s side since the 1965-66 season – I don’t know if superstition has deemed that number unlucky within the program, that the first year someone didn’t wear it we won a national title, or what.

    “I do know that [goalies] Mike Garman (35) and Andy Iles (33) are the first players in program history to wear their respective numbers, and rumor has it that when Shane Hynes played here [last year at Cornell: 2004-05], he wanted to wear #57 (Heinz/Hynes 57? – get it?), but as the story goes, that was denied.”

    Zeise also edified me on a very cool Big Red tradition: When a player is assigned his number, he is also responsible for researching the history of that number in the context of Cornell Hockey. Schafer thereby instills within his charges a sense of responsibility with each of their jerseys… a duty to honor the legacy of every Big Red to ever wear those digits before. That strikes me as a very inspiring concept.

    Unfortunately, no one had any insight on why one of the Devins (twins Mike and Joe) got #2, and the other 22. Oh well.

  • Union’s Kelly Zajac (19) wears the same number as NHL brother Travis.
  • Yale’s Chad Ziegler wears #59, in the memory of his late father, who was born in 1959. As I understand it, Ziegler’s father passed away just before the junior forward enrolled at Yale.
  • My top 20

    1. Yale
    2. North Dakota
    3. Boston College
    4. Minnesota Duluth
    5. Denver
    6. Union
    7. New Hampshire
    8. Nebraska-Omaha
    9. Wisconsin
    10. Notre Dame
    11. Miami
    12. Michigan
    13. Merrimack
    14. Maine
    15. Alaska
    16. Colorado College
    17. Rensselaer
    18. Western Michigan
    19. Boston University
    20. Dartmouth

    25 COMMENTS

    1. Rick Comley is a very good man, and he has done a great job building the great game of college hockey at LAKE State, Northern Michigan, and MSU.I wish Coach Comley the very best as he finishes this season at MSU.He deserves a wonderful retirement with his wife and family.Mike Olson MSU player 1967-70.

    2. Mike, I’m really glad you commented. People have been calling for his head since he landed in East Lansing — the season after he won the national championship! — and I think that people really don’t know what a great guy and coach he is. He’s certainly shaped the game we love, something else that people don’t appreciate.

      • He is a class act, and from what I gathered listening to his press conference, this wasn’t entirely his choice- and that he won’t have much say in his successor.

        The telling comments were that he is being held to his results and that he is frustrated by the early departures and difficulty in recruiting which, he said, may have changed the decision to retire if players decided to stay (which would have impacted the results,too.)

    3. Paula,make sure you read Coach Walt Kyle’s tribute to Coach Comley that was published in the Marquette Mining Journal on Jan.25,2011.My father’s family of 9 hockey playing brothers and 2 figure skating sisters is from Marquette, Mi. so I read the Mining Journal sports section each day, and that is where I found Coach Kyle’s article about Coach Comley.No one in hockey knows Coach Comley any better than Walt.Walt had some very nice things to say about Coach Comley.I thought you might want to share Coach Kyle’s comments about Coach Comley with your CCHA readers.Mike Olson, MSU 1967-70.

    4. Jim, do you know what happened at the end of the game? I was there but I missed the initial problem, I just saw Parker enraged and the teams being separated. Someone said that Cronin was in the face of one of the BU players and there was shoving. I know it’s academic but I really wonder what went on and whether any disciplinary actions will be taken as a result.

    5. Wow, I know it is early but DU and UND sure took care of business tonight.  DU better not make contact with any BU player tomorrow night or they will get more phantom calls against them.  Wonderful boarding call when Phillips hit a player in the middle of the ice. I guess anything within 30 feet of the boards merits the boardin penalty..The HE refs will never let them beat both BC and BU back-to-back.

      • They can change the nickname to something wildly unpopular. They can say it was a majority decision. We all know the admin types don’t have the balls to step up and do something popular.

        I may cheer for another team but ND will ALWAYS BE……

        THE SIOUX!

    6. Anyone who hates the shootout, 3v3 OT is the perfect solution. I would be totally shocked if there is ever a shootout again in the NCHC. Every single offensive thrust, from both teams, is an odd-man rush with 3v3. Unless both goalies play out of their minds, there will be an outcome before shootout.

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