By Ricky Hajduk
At a Division I school like Rider, club sports are often overshadowed by the varsity sports teams that play in the NCAA. Just don’t tell that to the ice hockey club, led by senior and all-time leading goal scorer Frank Garvey.
Now in its 21st season of competitive play, the ice hockey team doesn’t have a varsity team to compete with for attention. For any student who wants to watch Rider hockey, the Lawrenceville rink is the place to be. After achieving an all-time best record during the 2010-11 season with 22 wins and just seven losses, Rider came back the following year with an even more impressive result, finishing with a 26-8 record, the most wins in a season in club history. Although that success was a team effort, one player went above and beyond to achieve it: senior captain Frank Garvey.
“Great players are the ones who work the hardest when no one is watching,” Head Coach Sean Levin said. “[Garvey] forces others to work just as hard. He is a complete player.”
A native of Marlton, N.J., Garvey graduated from Cherokee High School in 2009. Prior to Rider, Garvey spent four years playing for various ice hockey teams in the area. As a freshman and sophomore at Cherokee, he played for the Junior Phantoms, a youth hockey team located in Pennsauken, N.J. In his junior year, Garvey played for the Flyers Youth team, located in Voorhees, N.J., where he served as an alternate captain. Garvey ended his high school career holding the same captain position for the Igloo Jaguars out of Mt. Laurel, N.J.
Once at Rider, Garvey’s scoring ability was evident early on, and his teammates and coaches took notice immediately. As a freshman, Garvey finished the season with 28 goals and 53 points, both of which were team highs. In just 27 games, his play was good enough to earn him Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association All-Star honors.
Rider graduate Connor Dragone, ’09, played on the same team as Garvey for two years and had nothing but great things to say about him.
“Frank was one of the most impressive players to watch on the ice,” Dragone said. “He had a rare combination of skills that most people don’t have. He was definitely the best player I ever played alongside.”
Despite his freshman standing, Garvey impressed coaches, players and fans alike as a Bronc, and his strong first season was only just the beginning of an awards-filled career.
Garvey’s sophomore season was the best of his Rider career. In 27 games, Garvey led the team once again with 47 goals and 75 points. However, it didn’t end there: Garvey’s 75 points were ninth best in ACHA Division II, and his 45 goals led the league, which is composed of 200 teams nationwide.
After two seasons at Rider, Garvey had racked up 75 goals and 53 assists for 128 points, and needed just 40 goals to break Rider’s all-time record of 114 career goals. Although Garvey couldn’t match his 2010-11 performance from a statistical standpoint, his junior year was impressive for another reason.
In an eight-day, three-game span in late January, Garvey scored seven goals and added six assists, helping lead Rider to three victories. His seventh goal, however, which came on Jan. 28, in a 10-7 win over Monmouth, was the one that made history: With 115 career goals, Frank Garvey became Rider’s all-time leading goal-scorer in club history.
“It was never my goal or intention to set a record when I came to Rider but the fact that it happened allowed me to realize that hard work does pay off,” Garvey said.“I think anyone who sets a record is leading by example but in a team sport you cannot set a record alone. I have had the pleasure of playing with some great players during my career and I think that has definitely contributed to this record.”
Garvey finished his junior season second in the ACHA with 43 goals, bringing his three-year career totals to 118 goals, 83 assists and 201 points.
“Frank broke the goal record because he worked harder than most guys,” Dragone said. “He was one of the best natural goal scorers at this level of hockey, which made it fun to watch.”
Garvey worked on his leadership role by being on the ice.
“I was never the best at leading with my voice,” Garvey said. “So I focused mainly on playing the game the right way and leading in that fashion.”
Levin also noted Garvey’s leadership abilities and his off-the-ice attributes.
“One thing that is even more impressive about Frank is his outgoing personality and overall joy for the game,” he said. “Some people could let success go to their head, but Frank has remained grounded throughout his four years at Rider.”
Allison Triglianos, a sophomore and one of the club’s managers, also noted how Garvey’s leadership extended beyond what the stat sheets show.
“He did more than put up points on the board,” Triglianos said. “The rapport he has with the team makes them cohesive. I think some of the guys look up to him.”
With already 118 goals in three seasons, Garvey was set to shatter the previous record in his senior year. However, a concussion has sidelined him for the 2012-13 season. The injury has not made Garvey any less of a leader. Although he hopes to return back to the ice in the spring semester, Garvey still contributes to the team as an experienced senior and teammate.
“It has definitely been hard to watch games that I could be playing in,” Garvey said. “But I have made sure that I make it to all of the home games and I am in the locker room between periods.”
Garvey isn’t the only one emotional about the games he has missed.
“If there’s one thing I miss, it’s writing down his stats and putting his goals up on the scoreboard,” Triglianos said. “Frank is an amazing player.”