"I can see it with the new guys who come
in," Harrington says a bit wistfully.
Hard practices on Tuesday nights are not a
problem for Harrington. But then Wednesday arrives and it's
not so easy to get his 25-year-old body moving again for
a morning workout.
"It gets tough sometimes but you laugh
it off," said Harrington, the second-oldest player
in Division I college hockey and the oldest in Atlantic
Hockey. In fact, there are 202 players in the NHL who are
younger than Harrington.
"For a while I thought I was the oldest,"
Harrington said, "and then I found out that Michel
Léveillé from Maine was born (eight) days
ahead of me. It's funny. At least I am second in the nation
Harrington is not old enough to remember the
six-team NHL or the era when goaltenders weren't required
to wear facemasks, but his teammates give him a hard time
just the same.
He's called Uncle Harry, or Old Man, or simply
Grandpa – hockey humor has a cruel edge at times.
There are even referees who skate up to him and ask Harrington
if he's on the "college 12-year plan."
If you believe in the saying, "Respect
your elders," then Harrington has the entire Canisius
team at his attention, and he uses the forum to impart sage
"I just try to explain things that I've experienced,"
he said. "I try to pass along some tidbits here and
It's been a long, strange trip for Harrington,
whose hockey travels have taken him from his hometown of
West Boylston, Mass., to junior hockey stops in Iowa, Oklahoma
and Illinois, to his first college home in New Rochelle,
N.Y., and finally to his second college home in Buffalo.
Harrington played two seasons in the United
States Hockey League. In the 2000-01 season, he produced
25 points with the Dubuque Fighting Saints, living up to
the nickname with 136 penalty minutes. The following season
he played 10 games with the Tulsa Crude before being sent
to the Chicago Steel, combining for 26 points and 114 penalty
Harrington said he enjoyed playing for Jason
Fairman in Dubuque so he followed the assistant coach to
Iona College and Frank Bretti's team. Harrington played
28 games with the Gaels in 2002-03. Just as the playoffs
were set to begin, Iona announced it was dropping its program,
leaving 21 underclassmen in shock.
"It was devastating," Harrington said. "I
still think about it every day."
"The guys were pretty fired up,"
he added. "We just wanted answers and the administration
really wasn't willing to answer any questions that we had.
We got handed our fate and we had to swallow it."
Bretti and his staff worked diligently to
find new hockey homes for the players, and Harrington found
a home at Canisius. He saw action in 26 games as a sophomore
and then suffered a pulled lower abdominal muscle during
preseason and missed the entire 2004-05 season. There was
upheaval again, only this time it was coach Brian Cavanaugh
being shown the door during a tumultuous season, and Dave
Smith was hired to restore stability to the program.
"I came in here under coach Cavanaugh
– we call that the old regime," Harrington said.
"It's like a new life here for the program, almost
like a rebirth. From when I got here to now, it's black
and white. This program has a promising future."
Smith is impressed with what he's seen in two seasons from
Harrington, the epitome of a checking-line player.
"He's a role player for us," Smith
said. "He's physical. He's good in and around the net
and in the corners. He's not going to get outside of his
role. He does whatever we ask him to do. He never complains
and he's a very good teammate.
"In the coaching staff's eyes, Jaymie
is a significantly more mature person than when we first
arrived," Smith added. "I give him a lot of credit
The end of a long hockey career is perhaps
a month away, and Harrington says he can see the light at
the end of the tunnel. He changed majors when he transferred
schools, switching from business to education. "That
was a bit of a left turn," admits Harrington, who figures
he'll be staying in school to pursue his masters degree.
"I think I am going to petition the NCAA
for another year," Harrington said with a laugh.
SEEN AND HEARD IN ATLANTIC HOCKEY
Thanks for the nod: Holy
Cross senior James Sixsmith was honored to be nominated
for the Walter Brown Award, which goes to the best American-born
college hockey player in New England, but he prefers to
keep his eye on the team prize: winning the Atlantic Hockey
title once again.
"Anytime you get nominated for something
like that, it's pretty exciting," Sixsmith said Thursday.
"It's definitely an honor to be included in those (elite)
names … it's pretty good company.
"At the same time it's just another thing.
I will try not to think about it and just keep playing."
Sixsmith leads the Crusaders in goals (13),
assists (26) and points (39). His 0.96 assists per game
ranks third in the nation and his 1.44 points per contest
ranks seventh. He has 44 goals and 100 assists in his career.
"He's having a great year," said
Holy Cross coach Paul Pearl. "Obviously his numbers
are great but the thing people realize about him is as good
a scorer he is, he is that good of a defensive player, that
good of a captain and that good of a leader."
Senior forward Matt Scherer of Connecticut
was the second nominee from Atlantic Hockey. He is second
on the Huskies in goals (14), fourth in assists (10) and
tied for the team lead with 24 points. He has 54 goals and
39 assists in his career.
Making his own mark: Army
sophomore Josh Kassel posted his third NCAA shutout, stopping
16 shots in a 3-0 win over Connecticut on Saturday. A week
earlier, Kassel stopped 36 shots in a 2-0 win at Air Force.
He blanked AIC 2-0 with 21 saves on Oct. 13. Kassel also
blanked Ryerson, 5-0, on Oct. 6 in an exhibition game. Last
season Brad Roberts had five shutouts in his senior campaign,
raising his career total to eight.
"Certainly they are two different style
goalies," said Army coach Brian Riley. "Brad came
in here and did a fantastic job for us. Now Josh has put
himself in a position to kind of make his mark with Army
"We've been very fortunate to have very
strong goaltenders here. It will be interesting to follow
Josh's path through this program the next couple years.
I think he has sent everybody a message that he has the
ability to be one of the best Army goalies."
Promising future: Dave Smith
did not promise a quick turnaround at Canisius College and
things have certainly not been easy during his first two
seasons as the Golden Griffins have compiled a 16-42-4 overall
record. However, there are promising signs for the future.
The top three scorers for the Griffs are freshmen
(Josh Heidinger, 29 points; Jason Weeks, 21 points; Carl
Hudson, 17 points) and 96 of 175 team points have come from
the rookie class.
"Our goal has been to get better every
day," Smith said. "I believe the foundation that
is being laid by the seniors and juniors is setting us up
for a brighter tomorrow."
Heidinger is a solid candidate for rookie
of the year. Freshman blue liners Chris Forsman and Hudson
have combined for 33 points. Andrew Loewen is 6-8-2 in his
rookie season with a respectable 3.11 goals against average
and .904 save percentage.
Canisius has just 12 healthy forwards for
the remaining schedule. Senior Chris Angelo left school.
Freshman Alec Wright played just 15 games before injuring
his shoulder. Senior goalie Max Buetow and freshman forward
Ryan Klusendorf have both missed the entire season with
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Great Weekend Getaway
Connecticut at Sacred Heart (Fri.) Sacred Heart at Connecticut (Sat.)
The Nutmeg State battle resumes following a November
series split, each team winning at home. Sacred Heart
is hoping it regained momentum with a sweep of Canisius.
Connecticut's season has been marked by on-again,
off-again success. The Huskies could move into home-ice
playoff position should Holy Cross falter at Army.
The Pioneers remember vividly that it was UConn which
knocked them from the Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals
will be saluting a legend in hockey on Saturday as
a banner commemorating Hall of Fame coach Jack Riley
will be raised to the rafters of Tate Rink. Riley
coached the Cadets from 1951-86, and retired as the
second-winningest coach in NCAA history (542). Of
course, Riley is best known for leading Team USA to
the 1960 Olympic gold medal in Squaw Valley, Calif.
The honor is long overdue.
trouble on the power play was in full focus with an
0-for-11 effort against Air Force. Bentley has dropped
to ninth in the league in man-up efficiency.
• Unlucky seven: Holy Cross surrendered
seven goals for the third time this season, dropping a 7-0
decision on Sunday as Quinnipiac debuted its new arena.
Mercyhurst prevailed 7-5 on Oct. 21 and Northeastern triumphed
7-2 on Dec. 30.
"It was probably the worst game we've
had since I've been coaching," said coach Paul Pearl.
"We played a very good first period and then I don't
know what happened. We didn't make a hit, we didn't make
a pass, we didn't make a save.
"I have to review what I said between
periods," Pearl said with a laugh.
It was the second time the Crusaders have
been blanked this season, the first coming Jan. 16 as Dartmouth
won 4-0. Holy Cross was blanked just once last season. It
was the worst loss by the Purple and White since Maine won
7-0 on Oct. 18, 2003.
• Pioneer pair: Sacred Heart's sweep
of Canisius was its fourth weekend sweep of the season (Mercyhurst,
Holy Cross, Bentley). Stefan Drew made 30 stops in the Pioneers'
4-0 win on Saturday. It was the first shutout for Drew and
the Pioneers' since he made 27 stops in a 3-0 win over Army
on Feb. 4, 2006, a span of 33 games.
• Three bagels: Senior Ben Worker made
26 saves for Air Force in its 2-0 win over Bentley on Saturday,
becoming the third netminder on the staff to post a shutout
this season. Junior Ian Harper made 24 stops in a 3-0 win
over RIT on Nov. 3. Freshman Andrew Volkening made 19 stops
in a 3-0 win over AIC on Nov. 19. Senior Peter Foster has
yet to shut out an opponent in 13 appearances this season
but has seven in his career.
• An easy ticket: Canisius will utilize
the Pepsi Amherst Center for the fourth time on Saturday
when RIT visits in the back end of a home-and-"home."
The Golden Griffins have drawn 427, 413 and 628 fans for
the last three Amherst outings. You don't think that sounds
great? Well, 10 "home" contests at the Buffalo
State Arena have yet to draw more than 387 fans.
"Amherst is a hockey hotbed," said
Canisius coach Dave Smith. "In the Western New York
hockey community there is a pleasant buzz that really likes
what we are doing and they like the product they see on
• Road warriors: Rochester Institute
of Technology has won six consecutive games on the road
– Army was the last team to hold serve at home against
the Tigers, 2-1 on Dec. 29. RIT plays Canisius in Amherst
on Saturday. The Tigers swept two earlier meetings with
the Golden Griffins.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report. Ken McMillan can be reached