This week I sat down with men's hockey player Tim O'Brien '16 to discuss the season, the playoffs and his life outside of hockey.
What is your take on the season so far?
TO: We've been playing pretty well, kind of up and down. We're a pretty young team but we have great seniors, awesome leadership and it has been a lot of fun. We're coming down to the end here and hopefully it pans out the way we want it to.
How many teams go into the NCAA tournament from the ECAC?
TO: It all depends on the ParaWise system, which is the way they rank the teams. All of the rest of our games, including the ECAC playoff games, will count in the final rankings, so we won't know until then.
Can you describe what you did for hockey between high school and Dartmouth?
TO: Very similar to what a lot of guys did there's only a few guys on the team who actually came in as true freshmen, probably only two or three. I took two years off of school and played in the U.S. Hockey League, which is a junior league based out of the Midwest. There's an East Coast league that a lot of guys play in and a league in Canada that a couple guys play in. I was drafted to a team in the [United States Hockey League] and spent my two years preparing to play college there with Brett Patterson '16 and Geoff Ferguson '16, who also played on my junior team. I would say about 95 percent of college hockey players play at least one year, and some up to three or four.
Is there a limit of how long you can play in that league?
TO: Yeah, it's usually four years. I believe the rule is under 21.
How is it being a freshman (even if not necessarily a true freshman) and being able to contribute so much this season?
TO: It's been fun. I mean from day one, the older guys were really welcoming. We're a very young team there are 10 freshmen and I think nine sophomores. They really made us feel less of a freshman than you would if you only had like four or five guys in your class. It's been great though. Playing-wise, it has been awesome getting to play with older guys who make it really easy.
What has enabled you to be successful this year?
TO: I think the path that I took to get here, the two years of juniors especially. A lot of guys will say the same thing. The league I played in prepares you really well for college, so it's not that big of a jump. We are a team that works really hard and personally I'm a player that feeds off that. I fit pretty well into our system here and have felt pretty good playing on this team.
What's been your favorite part of the season?
TO: Wow, I don't know. There have been so many ups and downs, but maybe the UNH game and winning against them at home. At the time they were number two in the country and I believe we were number eight. It was a huge game; it's such a big rivalry. It was sold out beyond standing room and it was over break so no students were here, but to still have that much support in the community was really cool. To beat them at home was awesome.
Do you guys do things outside of the school in the community?
TO: Yeah, we went to visit the children's hospital over break. We brought gifts to the children there. We do skates with a lot of people. We've done some with handicapped, and I know earlier this week some guys skated with a younger team, maybe eighth grade or freshmen in high school just helping out coaching or just skating around with kids.
What has been your favorite thing about Dartmouth outside of hockey?
TO: Probably the social life the fraternities, sororities and Greek life. The older guys are all in Chi Heorot fraternity. We all hang out there a lot and it kind of gives us, the younger guys, a place to go to get away from our dorm rooms.