By David Pavlak
One year ago, Tom D’Aurizio was a senior at Rider University, leading his team onto the ice for what would be the final game of his collegiate hockey career.
The stage was set for D’Aurizio and the Broncs to go out with a bang; they were playing in the MACHA championship game against the UMBC Retrievers, a tough interdivision team that the Broncs had faced earlier that season.
The Broncs would ultimately fall in the championship round, and D’Aurizio would be left on the ice with the rest of the team watching the Retrievers celebrate their victory, wishing to feel what it would be like to be the number one team.
Fast forward to present day, and D’Aurizio once again has another shot at a title — and breaking several Rider ice hockey records. He will join the Broncs on the ice next season as he returns to attend graduate school, making him eligible for one more season on the ice.
“I got my start in hockey almost immediately,” D’Aurizio said. “I started ice skating around 3 years old and from the minute I could do that, the rest is history. I was a very athletic kid when I was younger and played basically every sport at one time in my life. My love for hockey wasn’t hard to find because it was such a fast-paced game; hockey is all about reading and reacting. It is a game where if you hesitate, you’ll get smoked, and that’s what I enjoy most about it.”
D’Aurizio grew up in Philadelphia and attended William Tennent High School in Warminster, where D’Aurizio played four years of varsity hockey. D’Aurizio also played for the Warwick Wildcats AAA Travel Organization. After high school, though, D’Aurizio would have to decide where to attend college, and decide if he wanted to continue trying to play competitive hockey.
“My brother deserves all the credit,” said D’Aurizio. “He was a senior at Rider when I was a senior in high school, so he had already gone through what I was going through and I consulted him for almost everything when it came to selecting a college. He told me playing hockey at Rider was not only one of the most fun things he had ever done, but also the most competitive. Ultimately, when my brother pitched this stuff to me, it was hands down no decision where I would be going to get my college education and play collegiate hockey.”
D’Aurizio attended Rider as a communication major with a minor in public relations, but truly shined in the hockey rink. D’Aurizio finished his first year on the rink with 19 goals and 33 assists. His sophomore campaign ended with 12 goals and 27 assists. Both his junior and senior years saw impressive full-season production. Combined for the final two years, D’Aurizio finished with 46 goals and 59 assists for regular season play.
D’Aurizio’s intense and consistent play has led to many different accolades throughout his career as a Bronc. He is sixth all time in games played with 125, fourth in goals with 90, third in assists with 136, and third in total points with 226. All of these records are within D’Aurizio’s reach.
With his return also comes the homecoming of a former captain, a voice of reason and calmness in stressful situations, and a veteran who knows how to get the other players focused and ready to pull away with a victory.
“I’ve always tried to be a guy that leads by example because it is much easier to see leadership as opposed to hear leadership,” said D’Aurizio. “From the minute training camp starts, I will try and be a leader on and off the ice by working hard, having the right attitude, and being there for the younger guys on the team. The team returning is already full of great leaders so it won’t be necessary for me to step up more than anyone else. Everyone on that team is a key component and everyone has to pull equal weight. If everyone does their job, there is no reason why there won’t be another successful season of Rider ice hockey.”
The Rider hockey team hopes that D’Aurizio’s sentiment is true, as the Broncs are coming off a disappointing first-round loss that lacked any type of emotion, hustle or excitement. D’Aurizio will be there to become that spark when the team is in need of a fire.