In life and death, Derek Hines continues
to inspire cadets at the U.S. Military Academy.
Tragedy is nothing new to the Army hockey
team, having lost three former players to a heart
condition and two accidents in the recent few years,
but Hines' death hits a little closer to home for
a student body trained to lead soldiers into battle.
Hines, a 2003 graduate and four-year
hockey veteran, was killed by small arms fire while
on a mission in Afghanistan on September 1. He was
buried a week later in his home town of Newburyport,
Mass., following a tearful procession through lined
streets and an emotional service.
The Army hockey program will honor its
former team captain in what is sure to be an emotional
ceremony at West Point's Tate Rink on Saturday prior
to its Atlantic Hockey game with Holy Cross. The initials
"DH" have adorned the rink surface since
the start of the season and are worn on decals affixed
to every Army player's helmet.
"It makes the season that much
more important, to play harder," senior goalie
Brad Roberts said of the dedication to a fallen teammate,
"because you know he's up there and he's expecting
you to play as hard as he played. To do anything less
is a shame."
In the wake of every tragedy are the
friends and family left behind.
"It was just like my heart dropped
into my stomach," senior Chris Migliaro said
upon hearing the sad news. "It was tough."
"Seth Beamer calls me on the phone,"
Roberts said. "He is like crying, and I'm like,
'What's wrong?' He said Hinesy just died in Afghanistan.
I didn't know how to react. I just got in my car and
just sat there. It didn't even really hit me until
I saw him at the wake and then you just break down."
Derek Hines was Army's
captain as a senior.
The service academies try to prepare
every student for the dangers of war, but nothing
drives the point home more than having a classmate
get injured or die in combat.
"It really makes you grow up fast
and makes you appreciate life in the Academy a lot
more," Roberts said, "because you don't
realize that right after you leave here you are going
straight to war and that you are going to be fighting
the nation's wars. It really brings you right back
down to earth."
Beamer was devastated by the news because
he was especially close to Hines, who took the first-year
student under his wing and guided him through tough
"My mom always jokes and calls
him my guardian angel," Beamer said in September,
"because he was always there looking out for
me, but that is the way he was with anyone. He just
wanted to have an impact and make people better people."
It's certainly been a troubling time
for Beamer, who lost his inspirational leader four
months ago and lost his mother to cancer just last
"He was like a big brother to Seth,
and I was always with Seth," Migliaro said. "Derek
was always watching out for us and telling us, 'You
guys probably don't want to do this. You don't want
to do that.' He was like that big brother who kept
you out of trouble. ... He was a great guy. He cared
about the team and the players on it."
Hines taught Beamer about leadership,
being a good teammate and the importance of being
"Without him I never would have
seen the light of what the cause, what everything
I was there for," Beamer said. "He was always
there for you if you ever needed anything. He always
had a smile on his face, he never had a negative attitude.
He always brought a positive attitude to any situation.
He always made you smile coming out of the locker
room. He was always laughing and having a good time.
"More so than other guys, he realized
what his real duty was later on. Some guys aren't
too eager to get out and serve when a war is going
on but Hinesy was a little different. He wanted to
go and do his part, do everything he could and try
to make some kind of a change."
A photo of Hines hangs in the Army locker
room in tribute to the fallen captain.
"Hinesy has been our motivation
all season," Migliaro said. "It's tough
every time you try to think back about Hinesy and
what you did with him. It's sad that it took him passing
away to motivate us. ... We look at that picture hanging
up in the locker room and it just makes you want to
go out there and give everything you've got, skate
100 mph on the ice, hit everything and win every game
"He inspired me a lot whenever
we came up to the rink," Roberts said. "He
was on the ice before anyone else, taking shots, working
extra hard. He wasn't the most skilled but he was
always the hardest working guy on the team. Basically
you loved him for who he was.
"Every time you think about all
the guys who are seniors (back then) – Joe Dudek,
Nic Serre – they are in Iraq now. When you're
a freshman and you see them working hard like they
did, you understand this is who I have to try and
become to be a leader like them."
SEEN AND HEARD IN ATLANTIC HOCKEY
Yellow Jackets are buzzing:
Gary Wright was already encouraged by what
he was seeing from his American International team
of late before its sweep of Canisius last weekend.
"We're pretty sure we're a lot
more competitive game in and game out than last year
or in previous years,'' said Wright, one of the deans
of Division I hockey coaching.
The Yellow Jackets are getting more
shots on net and creating more scoring chances by
doing the dirty work: getting the puck on net, bodies
in front of the cage and driving the net for rebounds.
"We are doing a better job of all
of that,'' Wright said, "but we can't survive
on manufactured goals. Those can help you a lot but
we need some of our guys, including our upperclassmen,
to score goal-scorer's goals for us.''
Wright is thrilled with the team's burgeoning
confidence but he also knows AIC doesn't exactly have
a history of winning so his job has been more psychologist
than coach in recent years.
"It's easy as a coach,'' Wright
said, "to kind of make up excuses for everything
and say you're doing this and you're doing that but
we're still not winning more. There is always a sensitivity
there. Winning brings a lot of good things: it brings
confidence and (raises) the psyche, the whole nine
yards. ... It's definitely a challenge. With us not
being a history of being one of the year in and year
out contender, our psyche is probably naturally a
little more fragile.''
In the cut-throat world of Division
I athletics, Wright is certainly more old-school than
many of his counterparts.
"We are trying to keep our spirits
up, go to practice every day, work hard and also make
things as fun as we can,'' Wright said, "but
also challenge the guys that part of the fun of playing
a college sport is the challenge of bettering yourself
and it's a great benefit for yourself when you have
great accomplishments. The nice thing is you share
those accomplishments with your team.''
Amen to that.
The lone highlight: Army's
stunning 5-0 victory over Mercyhurst last week was
carried live by CSTV as part of its Friday Night Hockey
package. The network did a great job of telling stories,
highlighting key players on both teams and giving
Atlantic Hockey a little exposure. However, it's the
only Atlantic Hockey game to be shown on national
television this season.
"For us, much like Army, it's another
chance to spread the gospel of Atlantic Hockey,''
Mercyhurst coach Rick Gotkin said before the game.
How about a few more telecasts?
"I think that will come as the
league progresses,'' said Sacred Heart coach Shaun
Hannah. "It would be nice. It would give our
league a little more exposure and get us into some
homes that we wouldn't otherwise be in. It's a process,
growing the league and expanding and doing those sorts
of things. That would be something that is good and
will come down the road.''
Hockey East, the ECAC Hockey League,
the WCHA and the CCHA -- college hockey's four most-established
conferences -- receive the bulk of telecasts on CSTV
"The four conferences have the
majority of games and probably deserve the majority
of games just from the fact they have been around
a lot longer and the rivalries are pretty much deeper,''
Gotkin said, "but I would like to see more Atlantic
Hockey teams featured on CSTV. Maybe down the road
that will happen.''
On a smaller scale, regional sports
networks in New England and the Midwest do an excellent
job of presenting college hockey, and it's time the
New York market climbs aboard.
MSG Network now extends all through
New York state and the Metropolitan region and would
be ideal for picking up occasional games from Army,
Sacred Heart and Canisius. MSG's tie-in with Fox Sports
Net would also allow for national airings. New York's
YES Network is also a viable option since the Yankees
cablecaster telecast a couple Army games during the
It would also be nice for NESN to tap
into a market which features three schools from the
Massachusetts commonwealth and two from Connecticut.
Just food for thought ...
Great Weekend Getaway
Cross at Army (Fri.-Sat.) Two stingy defenses will go at it in
this series. Holy Cross netminder Tony Quesada
will set the school record for career wins (46)
with his next triumph. Teammate Ben Conway has
the hot hand of late, leading the league with
a .931 save percentage – he has started
the last three games. Army goalie Brad Roberts
is coming off two impressive wins over Mercyhurst,
allowing just two goals in 121-plus minutes.
Holy Cross swept Army in Worcester, 1-0 and
5-3, in late October. Army did take three of
four points from the Crusaders at West Point
in Nov. 2004 but the recent series has been
dominated by Holy Cross (7-1-1 in the last nine
meetings). Army maintains the all-time lead,
23-14-3, since 1966.
While You're There: On Saturday
take part in a Currier and Ives Workshop at
the Harness Racing Museum in nearby Goshen.
If you decide to stick around West Point for
the weekend, the Hotel Thayer will host a Super
Bowl Murder Mystery Theater on Sunday. The Mid-Hudson
Library System in Poughkeepsie is hosting an
exhibit on Alexander Hamilton. Second Saturday
Beacon features a free celebration of the arts
and historic sites from noon-9 p.m.
goalie Brad Roberts pulled off his
most impressive weekend performance in three
years, stopping 70 of 72 shots on the way to
posting 5-0 and 3-2 overtime victories over
league-leading Mercyhurst, sporting the nation’s
top-scoring offense. As a freshman, Roberts
posted a weekend sweep at Air Force. Roberts
has helped Army hold opponents to two goals-or-fewer
in five of its last six games.
happened to the Connecticut offense?
The Huskies have scored just one goal in each
of the last three games and two in the game
before that – all losses. UConn outshot
Bentley (twice) and Brown but came up on the
short end. Looks like a bit of extra shooting
practice is in order.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• It’s almost unbelievable
to say but the weekend matchup featuring the league’s
hottest teams is Bentley versus American International
College. Both teams are coming off weekend sweeps:
Bentley downed Connecticut and AIC toppled Canisius.
Bentley’s 2-1 win at AIC on Dec. 10 extended
its unbeaten string versus the Yellow Jackets to 5-0-1.
AIC’s last win in the series came Nov. 25, 2003.
• Bentley’s eight overall
wins matches its entire total from last season and
surpasses all but one of the school's seasonal win
totals since 1999-2000 (a 15-19 season in 2002-03
was the exception). Bentley hasn’t won three
in a row since Dec. 11, 2002-Jan. 4, 2003.
• The back-to-back wins for AIC
are a first since topping Army and Bentley on Nov.
23 and 25, 2003. It is the first weekend sweep since
taking two at Fairfield on Nov. 9-10, 2001. AIC hasn’t
won three in a row since Jan. 20-Feb. 2, 2001. AIC
has killed off 45 of the last 47 man-down situations
(95.7 percent) in the last eight league games.
• Canisius has lost eight in a
row overall and its last five road games. Four of
the losses were one-goal decisions and two were two-goal
setbacks. Canisius had an eight-game winless streak
in Jan.-Feb. 2004 (0-6-2). Canisius lost six in a
row in Oct. 2002. Canisius had won its last six games
at AIC since a 7-4 loss on Nov. 17, 2000. It is the
second time this season the Griffins have been swept
in a weekend road series – Sacred Heart performed
the trick on Oct. 28-29.
• Mercyhurst looks to rebound
from its two losses at Army as it faces Connecticut.
The Lakers swept the Huskies in Erie, 5-2 and 5-3,
in late October to take an 18-5-1 series lead, including
an 8-4 mark in Storrs. Mercyhurst was swept on a weekend
for the second time this season. Ferris State won
twice in Erie on Nov. 25-26. The last road sweep and
last league sweep was Feb. 4-5, 2005, at Quinnipiac.
Mercyhurst had won its last six against Army.
• Connecticut is in the midst
of a four-game losing streak. It is the third time
this season that the Huskies have lost at least three
in a row, and is the team’s longest losing streak
since dropping seven in a row from Oct. 31-Nov. 20,
2004. The Huskies’ offense has gone dry of late,
producing five goals in the last four games.
• Holy Cross is 1-for-its last
18 on the power play.
• The nation’s best: The
Mercyhurst trio of Jamie Hunt, Scott Champagne and
Dave Borrelli rank second, fifth and sixth nationally
in points per game. Pierre Luc-O’Brien of Sacred
Heart checks in at eighth. Simon Lambert of future
Atlantic Hockey member RIT ranks 12th. Tyler McGregor
of Holy Cross is fourth in goals per game and Borrelli
is 10th. Hunt continues to lead the nation in assists
per game and points per game for defensemen. Bear
Trapp of Sacred Heart ranks second in points per game
for rookies. Holy Cross netminder Ben Conway has moved
up to fourth in goals against average, two spots ahead
of Jason Smith of Sacred Heart. Conway and Smith rank
fifth and sixth,
respectively, in save percentage. Mercyhurst lost
twice to Army but still leads the nation in scoring
offense. Holy Cross checks in at 12th in scoring defense.
Mercyhurst is second and Sacred Heart is eighth in
power play. Holy Cross is fourth in penalty killing.
variety of sources were utilized in the compilation
of this report.