April 23, 2014 | theqbsn.com
QUINNIPIAC BOBCATS SPORTS NETWORK
WOMEN By Angelique Fiske, p. 12
QBSN The Quinnipiac Bobcats Sports Network is a student-run organization at Quinnipiac University. Founded in 2010, QBSN offers students the unique opportunity to become active sports journalists. As the flagship station for most of the sports at Quinnipiac University, QBSN broadcasts almost all home sporting events, with all broadcasts streamed live on YouTube through the Quinnipiac Athletics channel and QBSN’s UStream channel. QBSN also offers game previews, recaps, feature articles and live podcasts available through the organization’s official website, theqbsn.com. QBSN also works closely with all other Quinnipiac Student Media organizations to further the coverage of all things at Quinnipiac University. Some of its outside endeavors include two Quinnipiac athletics-specific radio shows on the official campus radio station WQAQ 98.1 FM. Additionally, QBSN works with the campus television station, Q30 Television, to produce its show “Bobcat Breakdown” which airs on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Without the support of its passionate members, the Quinnipiac Bobcats Sports Network would not be able to flourish in all areas of student media, including pioneering the next phase in its development as an organization. QBSN: The Magazine is brand new to the organization and will be published four times throughout the school year. Its goal is to take an indepth look at all things Quinnipiac athletics. Thank you to all of those who have made this venture a reality. Happy reading.
Dan Gooley is retiring after a lifelong baseball career, P. 18
INSIDE THIS ISSUE: 7
Q&A: Shameal Samuels QBSN's Dylan Fearon sat down with Quinnipiac runner Shameal Samuels to talk about her past, present and future in running.
8 From tennis to TV
Senior Micah Bailey quit the tennis team after his junior year to focus his efforts on developing his future career as a journalist.
Women's ice hockey forward Kelly Babstock trades in her hockey stick for a lacrosse stick this spring.
Cover Photo: Rebecca Castagna
22 The best Bobcat
OPINION: QBSN's Jordan Katz writes why Ike Azotam is the best men's basketball player to put on a uniform.
WANT TO JOIN QBSN? QUINNIPIAC ATHLETICS
EDITORS AND PUBLISHERS: Rebecca Castagna, Angelique Fiske ART, DESIGN, PHOTO DIRECTOR: Rebecca Castagna CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Tom Cunningham, Kevin Noonan, Gabbi Riggi, Taylor Massey PRINTED BY: TYCO Printing
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qbsn Executive board Chairman: Kevin Noonan Chief Editor: Angelique Fiske Online Editor: Rebecca Castagna Broadcast managers: Zack Daly and Marty Joseph Social Media Manager: Taylor Massey Business Manager: Arthur Lane
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ONE OF THE GUYS
he sun soaks the Quinnipiac turf as the men’s lacrosse team walks onto the field for yet another home game. Leading the Bobcats onto the field isn’t their captains or coach; it’s a 12-year-old boy named Connor Scalia. Connor has been battling Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome (CCHS), which is a rare respiratory disorder. On top of that, he has had Chiari malformations, a structural defect of the cerebellum, that have required him to have brain surgery in the past. Connor was introduced to the Quinnipiac men’s lacrosse team through Team Impact, an organization that pairs children with terminal or chronic illnesses with a college team. Their goal is to give children the chance to feel what it is like to be part of a team. Head coach Eric Fekete sees this as a chance for Connor to feel connected even as physical limitations plague him. “As he is aging more and getting into more physical play, he has to wean away from some of those
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things so this has been a great supplement timing wise to get him involved,” Fekete said. “He loves hockey and he loves lacrosse [and he wanted] to keep his passion for the sports going even though he can’t participate as fully as he may like to.” Quinnipiac was a natural fit for the Scalia family, since they are fans of the school and attend ice hockey and lacrosse games regularly. Connor’s mother, Alyssa, was looking for something more than just a team to adopt her son. She was looking for the team to have an impact on her son’s life. “What I was hoping to get from this was some role models for Connor and to show him there are ways of being involved in a sport without necessarily being able to play the sport,” Alyssa said. The Bobcats immediately took Connor in and made him a member of the team. He is a fixture at team activities such as team yoga, team meals, joining them on the sidelines during games and traveling for certain
road games. The team treats him like one of the guys. “I asked him if he would be OK if he had to put his ventilator on since he wasn’t doing well one day when he was there,” Alyssa said. “And he said ‘No, I would never be embarrassed. They’re not just my
“Being around Connor has made me realize there is more to a team than just being a player.” - BRANDON KURING
friends; they’re like my brothers.’ That’s exactly what I was hoping to get from this.” The men’s lacrosse team may have changed the Scalia family for the better, but the impact Connor has had on the team may even be greater.
“I think for me and a lot of the guys, it’s been very humbling to have Connor around because his spirit and his attitude are always great,” Fekete said. “He faces certain adversities or battles everyday that we don’t. Having the opportunity to use our skill set to help somebody else is a gift for all of us.” Connor has changed how the Bobcats look at the game and their own athletic abilities. Pat Corcoran, a junior midfielder, grew up around lacrosse. His father started and coached his youth lacrosse program, but he never understood why parents coached for no pay. His dad told him it was to give back to the community. “When this came along, I felt this was a good opportunity to give back for all that lacrosse and school have given to me,” Corcoran said. “I feel like I have to give back to Connor because he can’t physically play lacrosse and hockey. He can be a part of our team through us.” Greg Pendergast, a junior defender, was constantly around April 23, 2014
BY ZACK DALY
college teams growing up because his dad was a football coach. He can relate to Connor because he sees a bit of his younger self in him. “The college players were my heroes; they were like gods to me,” Pendergast said. “For me to be able to give that opportunity to someone else, especially to someone in his position, it really has meant a lot.” While Connor has impacted the entire team, he has had the biggest effect on senior attack Brandon Kuring. This past fall, Kuring tore his ACL and thought his playing career might be over. Having Connor there has helped spin Kuring’s perspective. “Being around Connor has made me realize there is more to a team than just being a player,” Kuring said. “It’s also being there for the guys and trying to get the morale of the team up. Connor has brought that whole idea into perspective for me.” On top of his injury last fall, Kuring can relate closely with the Scalia family because his cousin is battling a terminal disease. “With my cousin having a terminal disease, I know, sort of,
what the family is going through,” Kuring said. “I just felt like it was the right thing to do. I wish I could do it for my cousin and I wish it for every single kid.” Thanks to Team Impact, the Bobcat family and the Scalia family have become one, and Connor and
his family fit into the bigger scheme of Fekete’s vision for the men’s lacrosse program. “There are so many kids playing and so much talent out there, but we’ve still relied philosophically here that we want to identify the best players, but bring in the best
quality people to this program,” Fekete said. The Bobcats have their youngest member of their team, and while he may not play on the field, Connor Scalia’s presence on the team is just as important to those who are on the field.
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PITCH PERFECT QBSN’s Kenisha McFadden compiles some of the women’s softball team walk-up songs Design by: Rebecca Castagna and Kenisha McFadden
“I’m Shipping Up To Boston”
“Blood On The Leaves”
“This Is How We Roll”
Florida Georgia Line
“Turn Down For What” DJ Snake & LIL Jon
“You Make My Dreams Come True” Hall & Oates QUINNIPIACBOBCATS.COM
QBSN: THE MAGAZINE theqbsn.com
April 23, 2014
Here, we workout inside and have an indoor track we can do workouts on when it’s cold. I feel like I didn’t take practice that seriously in high school, but here I try my hardest. Q: What do you enjoy most about being a criminal justice major? A: Being able to help people. I want to work with children a lot. I feel like children are hurt the most in criminal cases so a goal of mine is to work with them. Q: What do you like the most about Quinnipiac as a university? A: I really like that it’s small. A lot of the classes I take are only 50 minutes which is nice. The campus is really pretty and everyone is super nice and outgoing. Wherever you are or whatever you are doing, there is always someone to help you.
Q&A Shameal Samuels
Shameal Samuels BY DYLAN FEARON
omen’s track and field sophomore Shameal Samuels was crowned the New England champion in both the 400-meter dash and the 4X400 meter dash. She also finished sixth in the 400-meter dash at the ECAC Championship in Boston and became the first Quinnipiac 400-meter runner to race in the ECAC Finals. The Hartford, Conn. native currently owns four school records. Samuels discusses her goals for the rest of career at Quinnipiac, as well as her plans for after college. Nationals? The Olympics? Shameal Samuels tells it all. Q: When did you start running track? A: Sophomore year of high school I started running track, mostly because my coach told me to since I ran cross-country in the fall. April 23, 2014
Q: What has been your favorite moment or part of running track at QU? A: My favorite moment was definitely when out 4X400 relay team won the New England Championship earlier this year. That was my biggest moment in my entire career
Q: How do you balance school and track? A: If I know I have something due, I make sure I do it before practice so I don’t have to think about it during practice or have to worry about something afterwards. Time management is really key. Q: How do your parents feel about all the milestones you accomplished? A: They are very, very proud of me, and they hope that I can go even farther and achieve even more.
Q: What goals do you have for the outdoor season? A: For the team, I want us to be Top 5 in the MAAC, and “By the time I for myself, I want to run a faster 400 meter time than graduate, I want I did in the indoor season. to be running in My best time in indoor was a 54.38, and I really want the Olympics and to run faster than that this competing for the season.
Q: What goals do you have before you graduate from Quinnipiac? A: By the time I graduate, I want to be running in the Olympics and competing for the country. That has been my goal for a while and with enough hard work I think I can do it. That’s what motivates me to keep getting better.
Q: Do you have a pre-meet -SHAMEAL SAMUELS ritual? A: Not really. The only thing I really do is eat fruit snacks before a meet because I think it gives Q: Are you in any clubs? me energy. A: I have gone to BSU, or Black Student Union a few times, but track and schoolwork take up so Q: What is your favorite part about going to much time that I am limited [in] the amount of practice? other things I can be a part of. A: My teammates get me going. They are a lot of fun to hang out with and work harder with. They Q: Where do you want to work when you are are great teammates. older? A: Once I am done running, Florida would be Q: What is the difference between running track my ideal location. But hopefully after QU I am in high school and college? still running and competing and am part of the A: In high school, I would always run outside. Olympic team. theqbsn.com
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WHY HE QUIT BY TAYLOR MASSEY
College athletes are often defined only by their achievements in their sport, but senior Micah Bailey decided he was going to be different. Bailey played on the men’s tennis team until midway through his junior year but decided to give up the sport he loves to focus on something he found more important: his career. “College for me has been like two chapters; tennis was one chapter and post-tennis was the next,” Bailey said. Bailey picked up a racket at two years old and at 10 decided to concentrate on tennis over all other sports. It makes sense considering he’s the third generation to continue the tennis tradition. His grandfather was a Connecticut state champion in high school, his father now 8
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coaches tennis, and both parents toured the world playing the game. When it came time to think about college, Bailey decided he wanted to continue his tennis career. Quinnipiac offered the tennis and communications programs he wanted, so in the fall of 2010 the Florida native packed up and headed to Connecticut. Bailey thought he had four years of college tennis ahead of him, but nothing at school seemed to go as planned. Freshman year he was suspended from the team for missing the bus to a tournament and then accidentally missing a meeting with a recruit. “College in itself was just a wake up call, especially being really far from home,” Bailey said. “As a teenager you think you’re ready for the world and I found out there was a lot of
growing up I had to do and quickly.” Sophomore year he settled in and played his best tennis in his college career. Then junior year he suffered a hand injury that kept him off the court. This was about the time he started seriously thinking about his future. “When I got hurt, that was kind of a sign for me that maybe my focus should be shifting, and it was hard,” Bailey said. It was a tough decision to leave a sport he played for the past 20 years, but Bailey knew he wanted to be more involved in school. He broke the news to his coaches, friends and family and received nothing but support in return. Even his father, a tennis coach back home, wanted whatever would make his son happy. “I didn’t even get the feeling once that my dad was against my decision at all. He completely April 23, 2014
Senior Micah Bailey left the familiar world of tennis to focus on his future career as a journalist
heard me out before he even said anything. [My parents] know me and know how much I want to succeed,” Bailey said. After quitting the team it was time to start seriously thinking about a career. Bailey came to school with the dream of being a sports anchor, but over time his focus shifted more to general news. While news is how Bailey hopes to make a living, he also has a great passion for writing poetry. He performed his work at open mic nights in high school and continues to do the same now, attending Montage events when he gets the chance. Despite his love of poetry, he opted not to pursue a degree in English. Bailey stresses how much he thinks about the future, and a job writing poetry isn’t exactly practical. “I think of myself as a creative person and sometimes the job market doesn’t let you completely do what you want to do until you’ve made it, and then maybe you can do whatever you want to do,” Bailey said. Although Bailey can’t fully express his creativity in the job field yet, he has a plan to lead him to a dream career in the future. That plan started with applying for internships in his current field of study: communications. In the summer before his senior year, Bailey ended up at the WTNH assignment desk in New Haven. “I just went into it with the best attitude
possible, and I didn’t know what to expect. It was my first time doing anything like that,” Bailey said. Making up for lost time, Bailey took action to stand out. In the last week of his internship a plane crashed in East Haven. Bailey was there to get the story rolling. He informed reporters of the story, searched Twitter for information and
Bailey said. “I’ve always kind of doubted luck, but now I realize there is some luck to it.” However, Bailey didn’t need luck to land a job. His hard work over the summer paid off when WTNH emailed him about an open position at the assignment desk. “I have the screenshot of the email just because it was that epic,” Bailey said about getting the opportunity. He was offered the job and started working the morning shift with WTNH on the weekends. After three weeks of training, he was on his own at the assignment desk. His time there hasn’t been without some first-job hiccups. He once called a public information officer without thinking about the fact that it was 6:30 a.m. on a Sunday, but he’s learning. Bailey’s also one of the lucky seniors to already have a job secured before graduation. Even though it may not be his dream job, it’s a start. Despite having to make the tough decision to give up the sport he played his whole life, it’s safe to say that Bailey made the right choice. “It’s nice getting rewarded after working really hard,” Bailey said. “Now I get to reflect on the past four years, and it does feel like quite a journey since the first day of freshman year.” Bailey will always consider himself an athlete and he will always have tennis in his life, but now he’s well on his way to reaching other dreams.
“AS A TEENAGER YOU THINK YOU’RE READY FOR THE WORLD, AND I FOUND OUT THERE WAS A LOT OF GROWING UP I HAD TO DO AND QUICKLY.”
April 21, 2014
accompanied reporters to the site of the crash. In his final evaluation interview with the news director, he was reassured his actions hadn’t gone unnoticed. He wasn’t offered a position on the spot but was told there might be a place for him at WTNH in the future. With the possibility of a job on the horizon, Bailey did what any good former intern does -stay in contact. He also caught a lucky break when he happened to spot Keith Kountz, a WTNH anchor, playing tennis on the Quinnipiac courts. He took the opportunity to bond and create an even better contact. “It’s just another lucky opportunity and I think the lesson is if you put yourself in the right position sometimes things do go your way,”
QBSN: THE MAGAZINE
two times the talent Ice hockey record-setter Kelly Babstock follows the lead of other Quinnipiac athletes and picks up her second sport in a Bobcat uniform BY ROB CIAMBRA AND KEVIN NOONAN
QBSN: THE MAGAZINE theqbsn.com
she is, has sort of rubbed off on our team a bit. She is going to fill a void on our team.” Babstock may be the biggest name of all the two-sport athletes on this campus, but she is certainly not the only one. Many of the women’s cross country runners also compete for the women’s indoor and outdoor track teams. Babstock’s fellow hockey teammate Elena Orlando has also played on the rugby team the past two seasons. Orlando’s rugby teammate Tayler Schussler is also a two-sport athlete, joining the softball team during the spring semester just before the season began. Orlando was the first of the group to become a two-sport athlete when she joined the women’s rugby team coached by Becky Carlson in the fall of 2012. In 2013, she recorded two tries and 17 assists, becoming valuable on offense towards the end of the season. Softball head coach Jill Karowski said the softball team lost several players throughout the school year and bringing in Schussler was an easy decision. “To have the opportunity to utilize some other sports that have experience, that already have that team mentality, that already have hard work and ethic based on recommendations from their head coaches, they came out here and the chemistry was really good with our girls. It was a no-brainer,” Karowski said. Schussler said after being home for winter break she realized how much she missed playing softball and that becoming a two-sport athlete has been good for her, both athletically and academically. “I think it actually makes me focus more because I know I have a lot SEE BABSTOCK, P. 17 April 23, 2014
rior to coming to college is the time when kids seemingly play sports all year long, whether it’s the same sport in various leagues or trying a little bit of everything, that’s where it all starts. The energy of kids wears down as they grow, and playing more than one sport at a Division I level takes diligence and strength. It’s not impossible, though. Bobcats are doing it, jumping from fall to winter to spring sports. One of the most notable of the two-sport athletes at Quinnipiac is Kelly Babstock, whose illustrious women’s ice hockey career ended with 203 points, good for second Kelly Babstock most in career points on both men’s and women’s program history. After her season ended with a 6-0 loss to Clarkson in the ECAC Semifinals, she elected to take her athletic prowess and transition from women’s ice hockey to women’s lacrosse. Her return to the turf after not playing lacrosse for more than four years was an eventful one. Though the Bobcats lost to Bryant by a score of 18-5, Babstock scored her first collegiate lacrosse goal and recorded her first assist. Babstock started playing lacrosse at a very young age, saying her parents signed her up when she was only two. When the opportunity came up, she knew she wanted to play again. “I just wanted to play again, and when hockey season was done I thought it was worth a try and luckily I had the opportunity,” Babstock said. Head coach Danie Caro was pleased with the progress Babstock made leading up to her first game. “She did well. We knew she’d be rusty, not playing for a while, but she’s competitive,” Caro said. “She’s not quite there yet, but she’s progressing every day. She’s going to help our team down the stretch.” Babstock certainly has been an asset to this squad already as evident in her stats after her first seven games with 12 goals and six assists. She has set the bar high for the women’s hockey program, but has a more shortsighted approach with lacrosse. “I want to win,” she said simply. Caro has confidence in her newest acquisition as well and sees her as a leader. “Her experience with hockey and competing at a high level has really made her a very intense and focused competitor and for our team,” Caro said. “Her work ethic, seeing how intense she is, how competitive
Mechanics of a Pitch9 S gn By REBECCA CA Content By NICK DENCH | Desi
Four-seam fastball JUSTIN THOMAS
Big, swooping break across pitcherâ€™s body Much slower than fastball Thomas uses as a strike-out pitch
Circle change-up THOMAS JANKINS
Looks like fastball out of hand Is slower than fastball and breaks down toward throwing arm Jankins uses to get strikeouts
Fastest, most accurate pitch Very little movement Easier to locate for a strike
April 23, 2014
QBSN: THE MAGAZINE
Suzy and Jenn Whaley
QBSN: THE MAGAZINE theqbsn.com
April 23, 2014
TAKING THE OPPORTUNITY Pro golfer Suzy Whaley has taught her daughters to be brave and to take chances. As she runs for PGA secretary, Whaley teaches women across the country to do the same. BY ANGELIQUE FISKE PHOTOS BY REBECCA CASTAGNA
uzy Whaley was reading her daughter Jenn a story before bed. It was an evening routine for her and her husband Bill when their children were growing up; it was just another night. The story on this night was rich with lessons of taking opportunities. This was December of 2002, and Suzy was sitting on an opportunity of her own. With a first place finish at the Connecticut Section PGA Championship, she became the first woman in 58 years to qualify for a men’s PGA Tour event. But she still hadn’t said yes to playing. As Jenn, now a sophomore at Quinnipiac, listened to her mom talk about taking the chances you are given, she did as children often do and asked the obvious question. “Well Mom, then why aren’t you playing?” That night, Suzy walked downstairs and told Bill she made up her mind. She was in. She was going to shock the golf world.
April 23, 2014
QBSN: THE MAGAZINE
arpe Diem. Take a chance. Seize every opportunity. These are the mantras by which Suzy lives. Pass on law school to go to PGA Tour school? She did. Play in a men’s tour event? She has. Run for PGA secretary? She is. Suzy’s long history of and passion for golf brings her to another opportunity to leave her footprint. If she wins the election, she will be the first female elected official in PGA history. Candidates can only run for secretary; it’s the entryway position. From there, the winner rotates into the role of vice president and eventually president to complete the term. Instead of competing on the green, Suzy is competing on the ground, traveling across the country to talk to the different sections. The logistics of this competition may be entirely different – political vs. athleticism – but Suzy said she and her opponents, Michael Haywood and Russ Libby, are treating it like any other round. “Strategically, we all look at it kind of like a competition. To be honest, kind of like an oncourse competition,” Suzy said. “I look at it the same as I looked at preparing [for the Greater Hartford Open.]” Even though Suzy is familiar with the challenges, she is facing a third opponent in November’s election that Haywood and Libby don’t have to worry about: 98 years of male-dominated history. Suzy is not the first woman to get her name on the ballot. Just two years ago during the last PGA elections, Sue Fiscoe ran for secretary. Though she did not win, Suzy said that if her friend and colleague had not found the courage to run, she might not have either. Though Sue took the step to let the PGA know it was ready to be represented by a woman, Jenn said she still sees and feels the
hesitancies that have and will try her mother as elections near. “She’s facing now the fact that there are so many men in the business that don’t think a woman should be able to run the golf industry,” Jenn said. “Even now, from 2003 when she played to now, she’s still facing the same challenges.” Even though Suzy recognizes this too, that things are a harder for a woman in her position, she does not want her gender to be the reason for her successes. It is the same when she qualified for the PGA Tour as it is if she wins PGA Secretary. Suzy wants to be the best, man or woman, because she is the most qualified, a mindset she has had for a while. “I just always grew up knowing I wanted to do the best I could do,” Suzy said. “It didn’t matter who I was competing against.” These moments are and were huge for women in sports, not just in the United States. Suzy Whaley was a figure for women around the world, receiving calls from China, France, Australia, Korea and Japan in the time after her qualifying round. While the phone rang at all hours of the day and mail poured in from around the globe, Jenn and
Kelly and Jenn Whaley
But it wasn’t too long before Suzy made countless television and radio appearances, interviewed with magazines and newspapers. She went to them, and the cameras would even come to her, swarming the house for around 3,500 interviews in total. It became the norm for the Whaleys. While Kelly said she remembers her mother taking some swings at the Greater Hartford Open, it is the cameras that both recall. Now having experienced their own moments on the course where people questioned their skill, Jenn and Kelly get it. They get it more now than they did 12 years ago. It was more than their mother talking to People Magazine. “It’s more fun looking back now because we can appreciate it more and appreciate what she did and
“I JUST ALWAYS GREW UP KNOWING I WANTED TO DO THE BEST I COULD DO. IT DIDN’T MATTER WHO I WAS COMPETING AGAINST.” - Suzy Whaley
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her younger sister Kelly were still too young to grasp the magnitude of their mother’s impact. A few years before the qualifying for the GHO, Suzy made an appearance on the Golf Channel. First-grade Jenn passed out slips of paper to her classmates letting them know her mother would be on TV – a feat worthy of playground bragging rights.
the fact that she did qualify in the first place and all the preparation she did to play,” Jenn said. “We get to hear more stories now from it. There were so many people out there that didn’t condone what she was doing and would send her nasty mail and things like that and how she had to overcome all that diversity and everything and still played incredibly well.” This ability to overcome obstacles set forth by a male dominated world is what made her such a dynamic idol in 2003 and after. Even more so is her perspective, that being a woman is not a disadvantage but an advantage. It was a moment when such thoughts were unfathomable. There was a wall, but she created a chance. “I had the opportunity because of it, quite honestly, to excel, but you can look at it one of two ways. I could have looked at it as ‘I’m not going to be able to succeed’ or you could look at it as a huge opportunity.”
April 23, 2014
Suzy passed on this attitude to her children. The naysayers may try to kill their focus in what is a heavily mental game, but if nothing else, Jenn and Kelly know now that there is one way to get them to stop talking: performing well. “I think the best way to deal with it is to not say anything and just hit because the best thing in the world, I think any girl golfer will agree, is standing on the range and having five old men behind you glaring at you and you smacking one down the middle,” Jenn said. And that’s just what the Whaley women are doing in the golf world; they are hitting them down the middle and silencing any doubt.
he Whaley family is scattered up and down the East Coast, but one thing that holds them all together and shortens the distance is golf. Jenn stays in Hamden. Kelly attends a golf academy in South Carolina. Suzy and Bill live in Farmington when they aren’t traveling for business. From the start, it’s been a family affair. Golf weaved itself in and out of Suzy’s world through her role
April 23, 2014
models, including her mother, her caddy during the Greater Hartford Open. Her father didn’t play, but her mother loved the game so much that the day she found Suzy hitting on the range with neighborhood boys, she immediately jumped on the chance to help her daughter fall in love with the game. “The next day I think I had gloves because she wanted a pal,” Suzy said. “I loved it from the beginning.” That’s something that Suzy and Bill were able to pass on to their own daughters: a love for the game. Jenn serves as a captain in just her second year as a Bobcat, and Kelly will be heading off to Suzy’s alma mater after graduation in 2016, committing to University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. The Whaleys grew and continue to grow on the green. Their house in Farmington, Conn. commemorates a life through golf – books scattered around the house, pictures of Jenn and Kelly using clubs almost as tall as they are and an indoor putting green in the basement. Though the sport is everywhere you turn in the Whaley house, the choice was up to Jenn and Kelly whether or not they wanted it
in their own lives. The moment Suzy realized this sticks with her. Despite qualifying for the U.S. Open, PGA Events, LPGA Events, seeing her kids carry their own bags down the fairway is her favorite golf moment. “I cried,” Suzy said. “I cried not because I thought they would be collegiate golfers or I ever thought they would go on tour. I just had given them something that had given me so much in my world and in my life, professionally and personally, and they were doing it and they had it now for their life. For me that meant the world.” And it became an avenue to teach them life’s big lessons. Taking chances, perseverance, the importance of never giving up. “She used to always say to us that wherever you hit the ball, you have to go hit it. You have to go find it. You have to hit the next shot,” Jenn said. “There’s no point in getting upset about it. “You have five steps where you can be upset, then it needs to go away. You need to go hit your next shot and she also always told us that no matter if you’re shooting a 200, there’s no reason you should ever quit ... I think that alone has helped us in life.”
She and her support system did it once through the months leading up to the Greater Hartford Open, and though Suzy said the run for secretary is harder, the potential reward outweighs the challenges. “There are times where I think ‘Gosh, do I really want to be doing this? This is really hard,’” Suzy said. “Then a little voice goes, ‘Yeah, get up and finish up the hour of work you need to finish because it’s worth it.’ It’s about having some real mistakes in my world and real failures and knowing that that’s OK. I’m still here and I’m going to do better next time.” Despite the added difficulty, the first go round at history prepared Suzy. The lessons she learned in 2003 are just as applicable in 2014. The house and the car may have added mess and chaos, but that’s a part of going after a dream. “I just think you have to be very aware that you can have it all, but you can have it all at a price and there are some sacrifices that you’re going to have to make,” Suzy said. “If you choose and have those people around you, it’s so worth it.” Though Jenn and Kelly are no longer young enough to listen to bedtime stories every night, all three Whaley women are living the moral of the children’s book that was the catalyst to Suzy’s decision more than a decade ago. It doesn’t matter who is watching or who is talking. They just put the ball on the tee and take a swing, knowing full well that they can do more than just keep up. They can lead. This, they got from their mother’s example.
“THERE ARE SO MANY MEN IN THE BUSINESS THAT DON’T THINK A WOMAN SHOULD BE ABLE TO RUN THE GOLF INDUSTRY.” - Jenn Whaley
ucky for Suzy, her family gets it. Her husband knows the demands of the professional golf world. Her daughters understand the surprised look people give when they realize a woman is hitting in front of them on the course. Her friends understand that this is a dream that is still breathing, still very much alive.
QBSN: THE MAGAZINE
WHERE ARE THEY NOW? After the end of the 2013-14 menâ€™s ice hockey season, four Bobcats put on new uniforms, leaving Quinnipiac for the NHL and AHL. Check out where they ended up.
CONTENT BY: KEVIN NOONAN DESIGN BY: REBECCA CASTAGNA & GABBI RIGGI
After leaving Quinnipiac following his junior year, Van Brabant is currently in the NHL with the Calgary Flames. He has played in six games.
BRYCE VAN BRABANT | CALGARY FLAMES
ZACH TOLKINEN | ABBOTSFORD HEAT Signing a free agent contract with the Abbotsford Heat, the AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames, Tolkinen joins former Bobcat Zach Davies in the AHL. Tolkinen has yet to take the ice for the Heat since leaving Quinnipiac after his senior season.
REBECCA CASTAGNA, MEGHAN BLANUSA
Joining Tolkinen in the AHL, the Jones twins signed with the Oklahoma City Barons, the AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers, through the 2014-15 season. Kellen was previously drafted by the Oilers in the 7th round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. They have each played in three games.
CONNOR JONES & KELLEN JONES | OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS *Stats updated as of 4/15/14
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April 23, 2014
Babstock is next two-sport athlete at Quinnipiac CONTINUED, P. 10 of pressure on me from Coach Carlson and now Coach Karowski are both watching me, so I think it gives more of an incentive to do better in school and keep up with everything,” Schussler said. Schussler will play an important roles on the team as the back-up at third base and as a utility bench player for the team. She has appeared in nine games and scored one run in two at bats. It’s not just about these individual athletes becoming two-sport athletes, but their teammates have been supportive of the decision. At any women’s lacrosse home game, you can hear the women’s hockey players cheering for the team and Babstock. Women’s rugby players have also come out to root for their teammates at softball in their home games, as well.
“They came out to the last two that we’ve had so there’s been some swarms, waves of people coming through. They’ve been really cool about it,” Schussler said. “We’ve gone to some of their Seven’s matches. I’ve kidnapped Jordan [Paolucci] and Keilani [Finley] and gone up there.” Regardless of what sport any of these athletes started out playing in their college career, both teams become a part of them and it ultimately brings the athletic community that much closer to together. “I think it just connects the athletes more,” Schussler said. “But when you have dual sports, instead of just a sister sport or a brother sport, you really care about the other team because someone that you play with and care about is on that team so it just transfers over.”
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April 23, 2014
QBSN: THE MAGAZINE
A BASEBALL MAN D
an Gooley sits in the cool shade of the visiting team dugout. Ball cap secure on his head, he leans back on the bench and loosely grips a bat between his hands. A timeless scene unfolds in front of him. Green grass. Blue skies. The snap of a ball hitting a glove. This is Gooley’s kind of day in a life full of these kinds of days. Glancing at the scene around him, he pronounces it his “pure, unadulterated home.” But those days are running out for the man universally known as Skip around the Quinnipiac University campus in Hamden, Conn. Gooley is retiring at the end of the 2014 baseball season after a career worthy of an oldtime baseball movie – but not the one you’re thinking of. It’s not the one where the underdog hits the pinch-hit, walk-off home run to send the team to the World Series. It’s the one where the good guy from the common clay struggles, yet ultimately inspires loyalty in his players and keeps the purity of the game alive, even if just for a little while. When Quinnipiac athletic director Jack McDonald first met Gooley, he thought he was too good to be true and pinned him as an Eddie Haskell from “Leave it to Beaver”: a gentleman in public, but a villain on the side. It didn’t take him long to realize just how wrong he was. “This is a quality guy,” McDonald said. “He’s everything you’d want in a head coach. Everything I’d want as a head coach for our student-athletes – follows the rules, energetic, knows the game, always positive.” Whether his team is on a hot streak or enduring a slump, Gooley’s mentality is simple: learn, but focus on the next pitch, the next game. “Say we’re playing a doubleheader,” junior pitcher Matt Lorenzetti said. “We lose the first game, in extra innings, on a walkoff home run. Totally demoralizing. If you saw Skip 25 minutes later and we’re getting prepared for the next game, you wouldn’t have even known.” Players often feel at home the moment they meet the man. Such was the case for Lorenzetti when he visited Quinnipiac as a prospective recruit. “Once I was here I didn’t want to leave,” Lorenzetti said. “He’s very passionate and you can really see it in terms of players who just came
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back. We get guys coming back to practices, we Among his top players: Turk Wendell, who get guys coming to visit us in games … players went on to a sturdy career as a reliever in Major are still so loyal to him even after they’ve League Baseball. graduated [and it’s] a real testament to the kind In 1988, Gooley left to coach the Division I of guy he is.” baseball team at the University of Hartford. There Gooley, 67, is a baseball and Quinnipiac he coached Jeff Bagwell, who has since played 15 lifer, a university Hall-of-Famer whose career years in the MLB and earned National League spans generations. Coming into this season, MVP honors in 1994 with the Houston Astros. his Quinnipiac coaching record was 406-442“You get lucky once in your life to have Turk 7, making him the school’s all-time leader in Wendell, and you get lucky to have Jeff Bagwell,” coaching victories. Gooley said. “I mean he’s the greatest player He grew up in New Haven, Conn., and I ever coached. I don’t know if I ever coached attended first Hillhouse High School, then him to be honest with you.” He laughed. “I don’t Cheshire Academy for a year before he was think I did. I think I got smart, I just got out of recruited for the Quinnipiac baseball team by the the way, let him do what he wanted.” athletic director, Burt Kahn. Yet even in a life defined by the wisdom he Gooley first set foot on the Quinnipiac has imparted from the dugout, Gooley took a baseball field in 1966, detour once that proved decades before the school he could succeed in any became a university and “If you’re in a facet of the game. changed its team nickname baseball dugout, After five seasons, he from the Braves to the left Hartford in 1992 to whether it’s snowing join the Starter Corp. Bobcats. Baseball was a bit different New Haven. At the or ice or rain or sleet in when he starred as a pitcher time, Starter stood as one on the Quinnipiac team ... the baseball gods of the premier official – before there were thick suppliers of apparel for are smiling. They rosters (14 players then, professional sports teams. 27 now), lengthy seasons smile at you.” Gooley worked in the pro(25 games then, 56 now), team service division and specialized pitchers and - DAN GOOLEY oversaw the Major League aluminum bats. When he Baseball apparel account. graduated in 1970 with a degree in marketing, In his last year he became director of the entire he was part of the first-ever class to spend all pro-team division. four years on the Mount Carmel campus. At Starter, Gooley’s combination of charm and “It was great,” Gooley said of his college persistence revealed itself, all on behalf of his dad, experience. “I had a very solid career … we won Raymond. His humility also showed, because two championships. It was awesome. My college very few actually know what he did there. baseball playing days were the best.” In 1995, Gooley’s ailing father gave him The The following year, Kahn hired Gooley to Ultimate Baseball Book for Christmas. Gooley serve as assistant coach of the baseball team. said he wanted to do something special for his His job description expanded to assistant soccer father, at the major league level. coach, physical education teacher and sports “Well, what do you think about changing information director as well. He soon became the look of the Yankees’ jacket?” Raymond head baseball coach. proposed, as he casually flipped through the Gooley coached at Quinnipiac for 16 years, pages of the book. The Yankees had worn jackets leading his team to the 1979 NCAA Division with the interlocking NY since the era of New II Regional Tournament and then the NCAA York greats like Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio and Division II College World Series in 1983. Mickey Mantle.
April 23, 2014
BY REBECCA CASTAGNA
February 24, 2014
QBSN: THE MAGAZINE
QBSN: THE MAGAZINE theqbsn.com
baseball players after photographs of an alleged hazing incident surfaced online. The news spread through local media. Gooley immediately offered to resign, but McDonald would have none of it. “He walks into my office and he says, ‘Jack, I’m going to quit. I let the university down when this happened,’” McDonald recalled. “I said, ‘Dan, you cannot quit. I need you and your student athletes need you at this very important time. So get out of my office, and let’s help these guys understand that they made a mistake, that they’re going to be disciplined, and that we want them back when the discipline’s over.’ And he did. He sort of captained the ship during a real bad storm and he handled it remarkably.” Since 2007, Quinnipiac baseball has struggled. During the past three seasons, the team lost more than twice as many games as it won in the NEC. Ask Gooley, and he’s quick to say it’s his own fault – but there were other factors at play. His student-athletes play on a field and sit in a dugout about as old as their parents. Recruiting players to compete on a field that is not as good as many high school diamonds has become a real drawback. Plans for a new field have continually come and gone, and the university’s athletic department put everything on hold while a Title IX lawsuit worked its way through federal court. Though Quinnipiac settled the lawsuit in 2013 and has introduced plans for new athletic fields, a baseball field may not be included. When Gooley was director of athletic development, he helped raise money for the new athletic facilities at York Hill, yet none of those funds went to the baseball team either. But that’s not all. Gooley has never had a fulltime assistant coach to actively recruit for him. And on top of that, the amount of scholarships available to both attract and secure talent also falls short of the total players he needs to recruit. Asked whether the university had plans to grow the baseball program, McDonald responded: “As with all our teams we hope to April 23, 2014
Gooley told his father the Yankees would never change. “Hold on a second,” Raymond said. He opened up to a page with images of the 1956 World Series, won by the Yankees. The team’s jackets featured the word “Yankees” in script across the front. “You know, this would be something very special.” Special, indeed. The Yankees had last won a World Series in 1978. Perhaps creating a throwback jacket to a winning team could bring some good luck. It will help them win in 1996, Raymond said. Raymond’s off-the-cuff comment struck a chord with his son. This was a venture Gooley was determined to take on. Nobody thought the Yankees would be willing to change. Nobody. But Gooley wasn’t without support. All he really had to do was convince the man Dan Gooley who had the highest standard of excellence: George Steinbrenner, owner of the Yankees. The Yankees went on to win the World Series Gooley worked with the marketing and art and sell 26,000 jackets during the Christmas departments at Starter to develop the design, season, Gooley said, and Steinbrenner bought and it had to be perfect. He went himself to the 300 of his own at retail to give to the Yankees Yankees front office with prototypes, but the Tampa Foundation, Inc. color wasn’t right. It was navy when it should “It was fabulous. It was absolutely fabulous,” have been midnight black. Gooley said. “And I mean all of the players had It was Old-Timers’ Day and the Yankees’ [the jackets] on and wore them on television, the former greats, like Reggie Jackson and Whitey World Series, the whole thing. It was great. But it Ford, noticed the prototype hanging up in the was all, see the idea was my father’s,” he said. “... corner of Steinbrenner’s office. They asked him He was very sick at the time, so I had said, ‘I’m about it and suggested that if it had been good gonna do this for him.’” enough for them to wear, it was good enough for Raymond died six years later. Steinbrenner’s current team. Gooley returned to Quinnipiac in 1998 first Meanwhile, Gooley and the team at Starter as director of athletic development. During were back at work on the this time, he navigated the final prototype – with a full school’s transition from a Yankees script, perfectly “I always say that NCAA Division II program positioned buttons, striped to NCAA Division I. collar and arm emblem it’s simple: the Quinnipiac College became – and it was delivered to players got all Quinnipiac University. Steinbrenner on Labor Day When he became baseball the wins and the weekend in Boston. head coach again in 2001, Gooley got the call coaches got all the the school adopted a fresh that Monday morning. nickname: the Bobcats. Steinbrenner had given his losses.” Gooley blended his approval. decidedly old-school - DAN GOOLEY Joe Torre unveiled the approach with players into jacket at the start of the 1996 the more modern baseball playoffs. The Yankees’ equipment manager and game, and it worked spectacularly well – for a Gooley’s constant supporter, Nick Priori, invited time. Gooley to Yankee Stadium for a press conference In 2005, the Bobcats won the Northeast in the dugout the day before the playoffs. Gooley Conference Tournament, 7-2, to qualify for walked into the clubhouse with his all-access their first-ever NCAA Division I Regional pass and saw his jacket hanging in the lockers of Tournament. each player and coach. Two years later, they shared the Northeast Gooley took his place in the corner of the Conference’s regular-season title and were dugout, which was mobbed by the media, all voted the top Division I team in New England waiting for Torre. by the New England Intercollegiate Coaches It was time. Torre walked down the runway Association. and took a seat on top of the dugout, proudly In between those two peak years, however, sporting a brand-new jacket. Cameras flashed. Gooley was faced with a situation that every “This is our new look for the ‘96 playoffs and college coach dreads: players behaving badly off World Series,” said Torre, who then looked at the field. Gooley and gave a wink. In 2006, the university suspended several
elevate our resources for our teams in a timely and equitable way.” There are 57 Division I schools in the Northeast alone and given the limited resources at Quinnipiac, it’s no surprise recruiting has become a challenge. But to Gooley, baseball is baseball, no matter where you are. “If you’re in a baseball dugout, whether it’s snowing or ice or rain or sleet … the baseball gods are smiling,” he said. “They smile at you.” During the last few years, the generational shift has had an impact on the team, with some players not subscribing to Gooley’s teaching methods. The resistance became more marked as the losses mounted. Gooley steadfastly endured these losses, never once blaming his players, the field or the university. There is never an excuse. He internalizes it all. “Win, lose or draw, some you win, some you lose and some you get rained out, but you dress for them all,” he said. “And the pride I have for this university is immeasurable, so just because you have a couple of tough years and you hit a tough patch, that doesn’t change how you feel about where you’re at. It never will.” For Lorenzetti, attitude over aptitude is the true key to success – something he thinks his team had been lacking the past few seasons. “We had better talent than most of the people we were playing,” Lorenzetti said. “... It’s just that we didn’t really have the right guys in
terms of buying into one system and buying into believing in each other.” Though there may have been some occasional bad luck in recruiting, Lorenzetti believes they are rectifying the issue now. One look at the team’s record shows progress; they nearly doubled the amount of wins in the last two seasons. Now that the team finally has a solid recruiting class, they are showing potential. “[Gooley] probably could [place blame] if he wanted to … but that’s not who he is,” athletic director Jack McDonald said. Gooley, however, would disagree. “I always say that it’s simple: the players got all the wins and the coaches got all the losses,” Gooley said. “You know, unfortunately, I probably haven’t done as good a job as I should. There’s nobody harder on me than me and you know, I’m disappointed, I feel badly, but it just hasn’t worked the past couple of years.” Despite it all, the triumphs and the challenges, Gooley consistently places an emphasis on the students’ success beyond the diamond. “The key ingredient to this whole mix is those guys have got to graduate. If they play here and go to school here and they’re here for four years and they don’t graduate, then I’m a failure,” he said. “... They failed themselves and we have failed them. And I will never have that. I will never have that.” Gooley is a humble head coach with a big heart. His love of the game is evident in the joy that he shares when he speaks of his journey,
regardless of the ups and downs. He views the game of baseball with a sense of respect rooted in the opportunities it has given him – and though he knew it was time to retire last June, he couldn’t help but give it one last go around. “I still get the thrill of a victory and I’m still upset when you lose,” he said. “And I’m convinced you can be as excited as you want to when you win, but if you accept losing and you don’t care if you lost, then you should get out. Because it doesn’t mean anything to you. But if you lose and two days later, you’re still upset with it, then you gotta stay in it. Because it means something to you. Right?” When current assistant coach John Delaney takes over as head coach next season, the team will still have that mix of old and new. Delaney played under Gooley, too. Gooley is retiring after his team’s first season in a new league, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. As he makes the transition to fulltime fan, he leaves behind a legacy and a life lesson of effort and excellence, no matter what the stats say. “You either win or lose. You’re either safe or out,” he said. “You go on a field and you be as competitive, inside the rules of the game, as you can, because when you leave, you have to live inside a society that has rules…. If you go out and you do your very best at something you love, then you’ve got a chance to be successful. You got a shot.”
OPINION THE BEST BOBCAT EVER By Jordan Katz @jordankatz11 Many who have followed the Quinnipiac men’s basketball program for years often refer to Justin Rutty as one of the best players to ever wear the blue and gold. Throughout the course of his career at Quinnipiac, Ike Azotam often drew comparisons to Rutty, both in style of play and in impact. However, as his successor, Azotam may not only be better, but he may be the best ever. First let’s start with the similarities. Rutty dominated the rebound department of every game he played in. Azotam has done that just as well. In fact, Azotam outrebounded Rutty for his career with 1,043 compared to Rutty’s 1,032. Azotam has also anchored a team that was consistently in the top three in rebounds per game every season. Rutty was a double-double machine, compiling 41 in his career, a total Azotam surpassed in his career at Quinnipiac with 44. That may be where the similarities end. What separates Azotam from Rutty is that Azotam developed a complete offensive game, which is something Rutty never had. This season was the culmination of Azotam’s improved game, as he averaged over 16 points per game and shot 48 percent from the field. He showed an ability to hit mid range jump shots, post up defenders, pass out of a double team, score against said double team, and even handle the ball and push the tempo, Blake Griffin style. Rutty could never do those things. Azotam is not just better than Justin Rutty; he’s the best Division I player this program has had. Some may argue James “Bo” Johnson, but there are a number of flaws to that argument. As good as “Bo” was, he never
shot a great percentage from the field for a guard (38 and 39 percent in his last two seasons at Quinnipiac), where as Azotam’s 45-48 percent was solid for his position. Azotam also averaged nearly as many points per game as Johnson in each of their final two seasons at the Q, which you wouldn’t expect considering Johnson is regarded as one of the best scorers to play at the school. The big knock on “Bo” is that he struggled to carry the team late in meaningful games when it was his team. Velton Jones and Robert Morris got the better of Johnson’s Bobcats, as well as Rutty’s Bobcats, multiple times in the Northeast Conference postseason. In Quinnipiac’s first year in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the Bobcats were picked to finish seventh. Azotam took his team to the MAAC semifinal and perhaps with a healthy roster, may have taken his team to the NCAA tournament. Then there’s James Feldeine, one of the most prolific scorers in the school’s history. Feldeine’s squad in 2009-10, which had both Rutty and Johnson on it, hosted the NEC championship, and lost, to who else but Robert Morris, 52-50. The issue with Feldeine is that he was never the complete player that Azotam was. It’s true that it’s harder to be a complete player in the way Azotam is if you’re a guard, however just watching the two of them play you can tell that minus scoring, Azotam is a more complete player. Maybe where Azotam separates himself is in the impact he’s had on the future of the program. He has helped lead the Bobcats in facing better competition. Rutty,
AZOTAM MAY NOT ONLY BE BETTER, BUT HE MAY BE THE BEST EVER.
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Johnson, Feldeine, Quinnipiac’s “up-and-coming” school status and the addition of the TD Bank Sports Center certainly all played a factor; however, Azotam turned a team this year that was supposed to struggle into one of the better teams in the MAAC. The impact that can have on recruits and transfers is very high. Rutty, Feldeine and Johnson never got the chance to have that impact playing in the NEC. Azotam’s play took pressure off Ousmane Drame and allowed him to develop his own game. Drame has become a dominant post player in his own right and will anchor the team next year along with Zaid Hearst. Azotam helped
put Quinnipiac on the map in the MAAC and considering the step up in competition, should help provide recruits better than this school has ever seen. Azotam is not only the best Division I player in the program’s history, but he may be the one who made most impact. Having said that, his impact may be exceeded as early as next season. If Hearst and Drame can lead Quinnipiac to an NCAA tournament berth, in a year where Manhattan, Iona and Canisus are all losing major talent, Azotam’s impact on the program may be surpassed. One thing is for sure though. Right now, Ike Azotam is one of the best players to ever wear a Quinnipiac uniform.
April 23, 2014
OPINION WEST NO LONGER THE BEST
fare thee well, qbsn
By Gabbi Riggi @g_riggi
By Angelique Fiske @fiskaliciouss I sat on the bleachers watching my first Quinnipiac men’s soccer game the fall of my freshman year. The wind was fighting me for ownership of my notes – rosters, stats, history and my written playby-play. The final whistle blew and I packed up my things to head back to my room and write my game recap. The first one of my college career, my first one for the Quinnipiac Bobcats Sports Network. I had the recorder I jacked from my high school newspaper in my bag. I considered it more of a gift. I knew I should talk to a coach, a player, Boomer, anyone. But I didn’t. I was too scared. Now, here I am, writing the last one of these bad boys I will ever write for QBSN. I’ve covered three Heroes Hat games, playoffs, regular season losses. I’ve written features and opinions, talked to forwards, first basemen, coaches and goalies. I know now the only fear I should have surrounding men’s soccer coach Eric DaCosta is knowing my hair will never look as good as his. Somewhere in the last four years, that initial terrifying feeling melted away. That’s what happens when you gradually start calling a new place “home.” When you’re about to graduate, you get this mystical feeling, like you’re looking at everything with a clear lens but really it’s the same old thing you’ve had. It’s, admittedly, a faux sense of wisdom that people feel entitled to before they receive their diploma. I can only speak for myself, but I know now that I really know nothing. I know that I know nothing, and I’m proud that I can say that. Having this knowledge means that you will never be too proud to ask the dumb questions,
to get clarification, to be wrong. It’s a form of bravery that you need to have when you go somewhere new. QBSN gave me this more than anything. As you go, especially here, you grow more and more comfortable with the way things work. And just when you think you’ve got it down, it’s time to move on to the next phase. It seems unfair to get such a short amount of time in a place that gives you countless opportunities, but no matter how much time we spend at Quinnipiac, it will always feel like not enough. Now, you can either be sad about this or you can take it for what it is. You can look back, smile and know that every chance you took and every time you put yourself out there, you were building yourself. Or you can take a pint of Ben and Jerry’s to the face and cry listening to “Here’s to the Night” by Eve 6. Your choice. Sometimes I think back to the days I was scared to ask a single question in a press conference and wish I could slap myself in the face. Ask something, ask anything. No matter how prepared I was, it wasn’t going to happen. QBSN forced me to grow confident in my skills as a journalist. Quinnipiac pushed me to be confident in myself, confident enough to admit my mistakes and limits, but even more so, confident enough to overcome them and to learn from them. Even though it is a horrible reality that the class of 2014 will be stumbling into the new light of day on May 18, searching for anything to help get our balance, it will just take some time to adjust, just like it took us time here. Soon enough we’ll be able to stand up on our own, then walk, then run right into the next crazy adventure.
Have an opinion? Email email@example.com April 23, 2014
Twenty years ago, there was no doubt that the strongest college hockey teams were rooted in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association with legacies at Minnesota and North Dakota. With the creation of the six team Big Ten, the strongest teams from the WCHA— Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State - left to join with Ohio State and Penn State as newly established programs. The breakup and rearrangement has left the former WCHA greatly depleted; a catch-22 with those around college hockey. The realignment weakens the WCHA and kicked the Central Collegiate Hockey Association to the curb, but the good news comes for eastern teams. More prospects are flocking to the east, helping to strengthen the already powerful Hockey East and provide the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference a stronger footing. For years, the ECAC was last in Frozen Four appearances, alumni in the NHL and top scorers. Since the 2000s, those numbers have begun to shift. Seven of the top 20 scorers this season were from Hockey East or ECAC, and over 40 percent of NHL draft picks playing in the NCAA are from those same conferences. The best thing about the shift to the east is that more college hockey conferences are developing across the country, giving more players the opportunity to play at a high competitive level and have more than the same four legacy programs competing for a national title. Especially in recent years, the ECAC has earned a reputation for strong goaltending, quick skaters and physical play. Gone are the days of predominantly small and quick players— those have moved on to the high octane teams of
Hockey East— and the Ivy teams have embraced the new identity. This shift has helped to make the ECAC arguably the top conference in college hockey as of late. Teams like Union, Cornell, Quinnipiac and Yale have all helped to show how strong the conference is against some of the best teams in the country, especially with half of the 2013 Frozen Four representing the ECAC, and Union as the 2014 champion. The strength of the conference has been helped by the development and reinforcement of junior and midget hockey in MidAtlantic states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Players like Q u i n n i p i a c ’s Connor Clifton and Yale’s Kenny Agostino have given a place for talented players to develop locally. What will become interesting is a few years down the line when teams like Penn State and UConn have better footing and an established, defined program will start to draw those mid-Atlantic players who want to play against legacy teams like Minnesota and Michigan on a regular basis. While having the Big Ten may make the western teams and WCHA weaker, emerging from the realignment will be vying with ECAC and Hockey East to be the top conference in the nation. The competition between the conferences and improvement across so many teams across the country means things are looking up for college hockey. While the legacies of Minnesota and Boston College will always bring in some of the best in the nation, the quality of teams continues to increase, and the gap in talent decreases for teams across the board. Things are looking up for college hockey going forward.
THINGS ARE LOOKING UP FOR COLLEGE HOCKEY GOING FORWARD.
QBSN: THE MAGAZINE