Buried in the depths of Arizona State’s hockey media guide, working on something else, I stumbled upon this from a Sun Devils’ freshman forward:
Johnny Walker, Arizona State: “…Lists his hobby as refilling the Brita Filter in room 2220.”
Thank you, Johnny Walker. This was my kind of media guide fun fact: no filler, all fun. Is this his chore around his apartment while someone else empties the dishwasher? Maybe. But he listed it as a hobby. Does Walker truly enjoy filling water filters?
Johnny Walker nets the first goal of the 2017-2018 off an assist from David Norris. 1-0 ASU in the 1st period. pic.twitter.com/Ju0FijX7mP— Cronkite Sports (@CronkiteSports) October 1, 2017
I started to think — is this kind of info all over the place in hockey media guides? The wheels turned. There are only 60 DI hockey teams in the NCAA. I thought, ‘I can read 60 media guides. I believe in myself.’ So I did. Here’s what I found.
(If I missed anything, or got anything wrong, please let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The best fun facts
My 26 favorite entries in DI men’s hockey, combed from all 60 media guides:
The most irreverent entries
Johnny Walker, Arizona State: Lists his hobby as refilling the Brita Filter in room 2220.
Sebastian Vidmar, Union: Claims to have never lost a game of Monopoly.
Ben Kucera, Air Force: Loves to hunt, but has been shot twice by a shotgun while hunting.
Joe Tyran, Air Force: Was into parkour at one point.
Tipper Higgins, Army: Learned to waterski before learning to swim.
Adam Brubacher, RIT: If stranded on an island the three things he couldn’t live without are water, shelter and peppers.
The coolest entries
Ian Mansfield, Army: Produced electronic dance music.
Grant Gabriele, Ohio State: Plays banjo, mandolin and guitar and can solve the 3x3 and Pyraminx Rubik’s cubes.
Jakob Reichert, Bowling Green: His great uncle Sweeny Schriner was the first Russian-born player in the NHL.
Brett Gervais, Clarkson: Likes to restore classic cars.
Butrus Ghafari, Michigan State: Began playing hockey after watching The Mighty Ducks movies.
Luke Stork, Ohio State: Has worked for a trucking company during the summer.
The most unique entries
Max Balinson, Arizona State: Met Queen Elizabeth II & delivered her flowers when she visited Hamilton, Ontario in 2002 for the Golden Jubilee.
Joe Young, Union: Owns a Massachusetts Hoisting License for excavating.
Dylan Abood, Air Force: Most embarrassing moment was when his junior team, the RGV Killer Bees, forgot their own game road jerseys and played at Corpus Cristi wearing their away jerseys … It made the SportsCenter Not Top 10.
Trevor Fidler, Army: Acted in a movie called "Drive-In Horrorshow" (2009).
Freddy Gerard, Ohio State: Started playing hockey at age 3 after seeing his preschool classmate dressed as a hockey player for Halloween and becoming interested in the game.
Clark Kuster, St. Cloud State: Hobbies include golf and backgammon.
Jon Lizotte, St. Cloud State: Manages a fireworks shop during summer months.
Andrew Farny, Colorado College: Person in history he would most like to meet is Kenton Grua (the first person in recorded history to hike through the Grand Canyon's entire length).
Karch Bachman, Miami: Played youth hockey in Detroit, making a seven hour round trip three days a week with his dad.
Brennan Sanford, Michigan State: Great-great-great grandfather was the first student enrolled in Michigan State's agricultural program and planted the pine trees located on the north end of Munn Arena.
Brendon Kearney, Ohio State: Has worked for a local sign company, helping design and install signs in the Metro Detroit area, including work at Joe Louis Arena and Comerica Park.
Tommy Parran, Ohio State: Built a coop in his backyard during high school and raises chickens.
Stuart Pomeroy, Princeton: The first Princeton hockey player whose parents both played hockey at Princeton.
Ace Cowans, Vermont: Wears No. 14 to honor Ace Bailey, a former Boston Bruins winger and close family friend who was tragically killed on United Flight 175 on September 11th.
Some very small towns
I found 10 players who list hometowns with populations under 1,000 people. Here they are, in descending order:
Karch Bachman, who plays for Miami, is from Wolcottville, Indiana, population 998.
Eddie Pavlini, who plays for St. Lawrence, is from Far Hills, New Jersey, population 919.
Paul Washe, who plays for Western Michigan, is from Clarkston, Michigan, population 882.
Edwin Hookenson, who plays for Minnesota State, is from Lampman, Saskatchewan, population 735.
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Jesse Junttila and Brendan Jacques, who play for Northern Michigan, are from Calumet, Michigan, population 706. (If you think 0.2% of a town going to the same school to play hockey is impressive, just wait.)
Jade Miller, who plays for Minnesota Duluth, is from Minto, North Dakota, population 604 — his town was so small that his high school didn’t even sponsor a hockey team, so he played four years of prep pucks with Grafton-Park River Spoilers.
Cory Thomas, who plays for Vermont, is from St. Brieux, Saskatchewan, population 590.
Parker MacKay, who plays for Minnesota Duluth, is from Irma, Alberta, population 521.
Cale Morris, who plays for Notre Dame, is from Larkspur, Colorado, population 195.
And the grand finale…
Chase and Brady Norris, brothers who play for RIT, is from Strongfield, Saskatchewan, population … 40.
“The most noteworthy thing about [Chase’s] hometown,” the RIT media guide reads, “is that it produces the most NCAA players per capita.”
Five percent of Strongfield, Saksatchewan’s last census-rated population plays hockey for RIT. I think that’s incredible.
There were also three towns I struggled to pin down populations for:
Wade Allison, who plays for Western Michigan, lists his hometown as Myrtle, Manitoba.
Cam Lee, who plays for Western Michigan, lists his hometown as Ferguson’s Cove, Nova Scotia.
And Mathias Israelsson, who plays for Northern Michigan, lists his hometown as Ytterby, Sweden, which is home to the quarry with the most elements in the periodic table at seven: Yttrium (Y), erbium (Er), terbium (Tb), and ytterbium (Yb), holmium (Ho), thulium (Tm), and gadolinium (Gd).
Oh, and there are two players in the NCAA from Wawa, Ontario, population 2,975 — Ryker Killins, Ferris State, and Aidan Wright, Lake Superior State — which I feel I need to mention because Wawa is the best gas station + deli chain on the planet.
The best name
This is a bit of a struggle, because one feels too obvious to overlook, but the other blew me away. So we have co-champions:
T-1. Christian Cakebread, Niagara
T-1. Hayden Hawkey, Providence
On one hand, the guy named Hawkey — literally the sport he plays! — should be a shoo-in. On the other hand…
So, that was a lot of fun. I think what I learned — and I hope you did too — is there's always room for whimsy.
And here’s a call to SIDs everywhere: next season, try to top these!