HOCKEY PREVIEW: Memories Still Left To Be Made For Wey And Alber
Senior Blueliners Hope To Leave One Last Mark While Anchoring Young Defense
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
The human memory is a fantastic phenomenon.
How we conduct ourselves each and every day is a reflection of our past experiences, and what our memory has selected to relish in or rebel against.
It provides our minds with the ability to realize incredible things, but can also remove proper clarity from our focus.
Knowledge accumulates in an endless ravine of intellectual wealth. Special moments in our lives are endowed with immortal remembrance.
The other side of the coin is equally potent, though. The power of recall is dangerous if not harnessed correctly. Uncomfortable nostalgia can disable our thoughts or an inability to replicate past success can cause complacency.
Thus, battling the dual perspective of memory is a necessary part of becoming an effective leader and aspiring individual.
The task is additionally grueling for two senior defensemen on the Boston College men’s hockey team, assistant captain Patrick Wey and Patch Alber.
In three years on the Heights, their squad has won two national championships. But now, numerous teammates have left Conte Forum for the professional spotlight, and Wey and Alber must introduce a group of freshmen to the difficulties of the collegiate environment.
The memories these two have produced, both for this University and themselves, are insurmountable.
So the question becomes not what have they done, but can they do it again, and create one last unforgettable season.
The Eagles are riding a 19-game winning streak dating back to last year, which included a National Championship run. Fueled by an efficient offense, solidified goaltending, and clean defending, BC was unstoppable.
Success breeds expectations, and so the stakes are high for 2012-13. Despite losing several key pieces to last year’s puzzle, the Eagles are preseason No. 1 in both the Hockey East and across Division I. Student tickets have been sold out since late August.
So where’s the silver lining? While last year’s success was impressive, it would be ignorant to assume it was commonplace.
Don’t worry, though. Alber and Wey know they must temporarily forget. Complacency isn’t an option.
“I would say that we are looking at it as a new year, and we aren’t looking at it as continuing a win streak or defending anything,” Wey said. “We know that we need a new team to do it this year, and we need to attack everything as aggressively as we did last year, and even harder in some respects. This is a new team this year, and everyone is rebuilding. I think we are stressing hard work and a commitment to the team above all.”
“Last year, the coaches say will last forever,” Alber agreed. “But we also realize that there are new guys, we lost guys, and we just want to come together as a team and work on that team-building aspect. We want to really focus on what’s coming up this year.”
That means concentrating time and energy on hockey like never before. Alber and Wey will be counted on for additional training, extra minutes, and endless mentoring as the season kicks off Saturday night at Northeastern.
“They’re going to have to get off to a good start with us,” said head coach Jerry York. “When you look at Tommy Cross, Edwin Shea, and Brian Dumoulin, we’re looking at the loss of a lot of really quality defensemen. Patrick and Patch are the seniors. They’re the guys that say, ‘This is how we have to do it. This is what’s expected of us.’ It’s not easy.”
It might be difficult, but the two used their personal pasts as motivation. They remembered their weaknesses, and attacked the issues with vigorous offseason work.
A former walk-on, Alber hit the gym hard, determined as always to prove his worth to the team. He crafted his shot, an opportunity for improvement that he has refused to let go over the years. Meanwhile, Wey concentrated on his stride, with added agility and durability as the primary goals. A foot injury was a setback last year. With more playing time in a rough game like hockey, nothing is guaranteed.
“We really needed to get in shape, work really hard this summer,” Alber said. “Realizing that we are going to be leaned on more in the beginning of the year than we were in the past, we needed to be in better shape to handle those extra minutes.”
Their coach already appreciates the effort.
“They know how to use their offseason to get better as players,” York said. “There has to be some down time, but both players used those months from late May through September in a positive way. They concentrated on trying to gain some strength off the ice, play a little bit of hockey, but they definitely came back refreshed and eager to play. I like their outlook.”