Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Living The Dream

Think you're living the dream?

How about Eric Robinson?

The Princeton senior is three weeks removed from playing against Brown in the ECAC hockey opening round at Hobey Baker Rink. Three weeks.

What's happened since?

Let's see. If you're a Princeton fan, you know the story. The Tigers won the ECAC championship and advanced to the NCAA tournament, which makes Robinson the captain for one of the great moments in program history.

That's dream enough, isn't it? Well, if you're going to live the dream, you might want to dream really big, and that's where Robinson is now.

Shortly after Princeton's 4-2 loss to Ohio State last weekend, Robinson signed an NHL contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Here's the quote on Robinson from Blue Jackets' GM Jarmo Kekalainen:

"Eric is a power forward with excellent speed who plays a very reliable two-way game and brings the type of character and leadership we value as an organization. He will join our team for the rest of the regular season and we are excited about his future with the Columbus Blue Jackets."

Now that's living the dream.

The team's release also mentioned that Robinson had career highs this year in goals, assists, points and penalty minutes. The penalty minutes part seems like something that hockey players and teams value.

For the record, Robinson had 17 goals and 14 assists for 31 points this season. He also had 44 penalty minutes.

Robinson flew out to Edmonton to join the Blue Jackets for their game last night. That has to be quite a moment, no?

You come to Princeton when the team is way down, going 4-23-3 overall and 2-18-2 in the ECAC as a freshman as the program sets a record for fewest goals in a season with 39. You leave it as a league champion, on a team that sets the program record for goals in a season with 129. And you're the captain, no less.

And on top of all that, a few days later you're in your first NHL locker room. That's the dream of basically every kid who ever puts on skates. How many end up achieving it?

It's an incredible story. Or it's the latest chapter in the incredible story of Princeton's 2017-18 hockey season.

TigerBlog doesn't know much about how the hockey draft works, but if he's understanding this correctly, then if you're not drafted before college, then you're a total free agent at all times while you're in college. Princeton has no draftees on its current roster, so there's a bit of a deep-breath situation for Ron Fogarty and the program and its fans, since there are a few returning players who are going to be in big demand, such as Ryan Kuffner, Max Veronneau and Josh Teves. You can exhale, though, as it seems like all three will be back next year.

Veronneau, by the way, had 38 assists this year as a junior. Remember, the team had 39 goals total three years ago.

While Robinson starts his NHL career, there's another Princeton senior athlete who is playing on a big stage this weekend. That would be Amir Bell.

Perhaps Bell dreamed of playing in the men's basketball Final Four as a kid. He probably did. Coming to Princeton, that dream became unlikely, though as TB said yesterday, if Loyola can make it and George Mason can make it and VCU can make, Princeton can make it too someday.

Bell did make the most of his four years at Princeton. He leaves in 31st place all-time in scoring at Princeton with 1,043 points, and he is also sixth all-time at Princeton with 313 assists. On top of that, he was the Ivy League's 2018 Defensive Player of the Year. He almost surely will be playing professionally somewhere next year.

And while Bell won't be playing in the Final Four, he'll still be playing at the Final Four. Bell will be on the Ivy League team in a three-on-three tournament, something that sounds really cool.

There will be 32 conference teams represented for this event in San Antonio. To play you have to be a senior who has used up his eligibility.

The Ivy League will team will consist of Bell, Penn's Darnell Foreman and Caleb Wood and Dartmouth's Miles Wright. That's a pretty good team, TB thinks. And maybe they can sneak up on some people.

There's a lot more information HERE, though TigerBlog didn't see a schedule yet.

And that's Robinson and Bell.

When you get to play after you're done playing for Princeton, it's always special.

Not everyone gets to live that dream.

No comments: