Gary Thorne doing play-by-play, Barry Melrose on color commentary, and hockey on ESPN. Just like the good ole’ days, except its not the NHL, but the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey National Championship Game between the Boston University Terriers and the Miami University Redhawks. A couple weeks ago I wrote a bit on how the NHL brass is butchering the game by broadcasting their games on Versus. Something about this just seems right don’t it?
The game itself features a trio of Long Island players, most notably Matt Gilroy, senior defensive captain for the Terriers and a three-time All-America selection, as well as the 2009 Hobey Baker Memorial Trophy Winner as the nation’s top collegiate defensemen. Interestingly, Gilroy started his hockey career in the same youth organization as I did, the Nassau County Lions. He wears #97 in honor of his deceased brother Timothy, who died tragically at a very young age in a bicycle accident, and whom I knew personally. Gilroy’s hockey career is certainly a great story, going from walk-on freshman, having his scholarship taken from him after his junior year because his head coach thought he was going pro (wanted to give it to someone else), and leaving as one of the most decorated players in BU’s history. That’s a pretty amazing statement considering BU is one of college hockey’s powerhouse programs. Also a breathe of air to see a college sports star turn down huge pro dollars to stay in college four years; perhaps those playing in football and basketball can take some notes.
The other two Long Island natives playing in the title game include Matt’s younger brother, Kevin Gilroy, and Pat Cannone of Miami U. Long Island hockey has certainly developed some notable prospects and current NHL stars over the past decade or so, and its nice to see our area of the hockey universe get a little more noticed year after year. While most of them have not made it to the NHL as of yet, the college and minor league ranks have become stock-piled with Long Island talent year after year. You will likely see more names come up in the next few seaons. Below is a list of notable NHL names that came from Long Island:
Ryan Vesce, RW, San Jose Sharks (Lloyd Harbor)
Eric Nystrom, LW, Calgary Flames (Syosset)
Chris Higgins, C, Montreal Canadiens (Smithtown)
Rob Scuderi, D, Pittsburgh Penguins (Syosset)
Mike Komisarek, D, Montreal Canadiens (West Islip)