By David Pavlak
Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Peyton Manning and Derek Jeter have all been members of prestigious all-star teams for their respective sports. This year, Rider has sent two players to represent the hockey program in the MACHA all-star game: junior Joe Nalbone and freshman Frank Garvey.
During the regular season, both men exuded hockey ability, which carried over to the playoffs, where the Broncs lost in the championship game.
Nalbone, a Hamilton, N.J., native, led the Broncs onto the ice every game and secured the puck in between the pipes.
Nalbone has had an extensive hockey résumé, which started at Pennington Prep from his freshman to his junior year in high school. He then transferred to Massachusetts to continue to play, finishing his high school journey with the Walpole Express of the Atlantic Junior Hockey League.
Nalbone followed up his years of hockey with numerous awards and achievements.
“My freshman year at Pennington, I received the scholar athlete award,” Nalbone said. “I also received the New Jersey Devils award for player of the month for February my freshman year. My junior year I was also named captain of the team.”
During his junior hockey days, several Division III schools looked at his talents, but nobody pursued him seriously. Instead, Nalbone decided to attend Mercer County Community College for his freshman and sophomore years before transferring to Rider.
“I knew the program was real good, so that’s when I decided to play,” said Nalbone.
Nalbone showed how impressive he can be for Rider’s strong hockey program, posting a 3.29 GAA (goals against average), while going 13-8-1 this past season. Nalbone, an accounting major who will receive his bachelor’s degree this fall, will lead the team onto the ice this upcoming season for his last hurrah as a Bronc.
For every quality veteran, however, there is a rookie climbing the ranks to become noticed. That is exactly what Garvey has done. Garvey was raised in Marlton, N.J., where he attended Cherokee High School. Garvey played for the junior Phantoms out of Pennsauken, N.J., his freshman and sophomore years; the Flyers Youth Team out of Voorhees, N.J., his junior year; and finally the Jaguars of Mount Laurel, N.J., capping off his senior year. In both his junior and senior years he was named alternate captain.
When it came time to search for college hockey programs, Garvey was undecided.
“I went to a couple camps for Penn State and they had talked to me [about playing],” Garvey said. “Other than that, just Temple and TCNJ asked me at a showcase to play.”
After choosing Rider as the school to continue his athletic career, the speedy forward showed everybody what he had to offer. After playing 27 games this past season, Garvey notched 28 goals and 25 assists, giving him 53 points for the season, which helped lead the team into the playoffs.
Both Nalbone and Garvey can agree that the past season was a success.
“We started to get on a roll the second half of the season; everyone started feeling good,” Nalbone said. “Everybody believed in one another.”
Garvey couldn’t wait to join the program.
“Before I came to Rider, I had heard that they were a good team, and I was looking forward to being a part of it,” he said. “It was kind of an up and down season, but when it matters, we all picked it up.”
Both men are optimistic about the future of the team.
“There are a lot of young guys on the team and they really contributed,” Garvey said. “I think for the next four years we are going to keep getting better.”
As Rider can see, the hockey program is all about winning. With the young talent of Garvey and the veteran leadership of Nalbone, the Broncs have a good outlook for the upcoming season in the fall. For now, Nalbone and Garvey will represent Rider on the MACHA All-Star team before lacing their skates again for another season of Rider hockey.