The St. Paul School’s men’s hockey team changed leadership and NEW coach Murphy set his eyes on recruiting west coast talent. He has been one of the “regulars” at the Bears Prep Camp since it started in March of 2017 which has paid off in a big way. His long term view saw great talent in Bears players Owen Sweet, Harrison Sweet (2020 graduate), JT Halliday ‘03, Josh Halliday, Christian Yi and Henry Ong who committed to the school and are thriving in its environment. Although the pandemic put a damper on the ability to play games this year, St. Paul’s has been dominant in the games they played and find themselves as #1 in its “virtual ranking” which was announced this week. Owen (2002) and JT (2003) are first line contributors and freshmen Christian (2005) and Josh (2005) are finding themselves playing on the top three lines regularly. Owen recently committed to playing D3 hockey at Wesleyan University in 2022-2023 as a true freshman while the rest are looking forward to returning to campus next year.
Coach Torsson who has developed these players and has been following them closely over the years post Bears graduation said “these boys have all the ingredients it takes to succeed at the higher levels. You see so many talented youth players who skate fifteen times a week but rely on a tangible assets that does not translate well into pre-pro/pre-college hockey such as Juniors or prep-school hockey. The Bears kids have long term goals and are very determined. They all have a very consistent decision making ability and willingness to learn the cognitive side of the game which is so important to be able to take the next step. Combine that with a hunger to outsmart and outwork the opponents and you have yourself a hockey player. It is such a reward seeing these players find success now that it starts to matter. The great thing about the Bears model is that for every success story, we don’t have a slew of players who sacrificed their academics but had a very balanced approach to their future as individuals. There are so many other success stories that won’t be told in a hockey news release, but will find itself onto another path. One of those is actually Henry Ong (2004), who had no idea how good he was at lacrosse until he was recruited for both hockey and lacrosse to St. Pauls and now, he is on a much stronger path to success in sports and academics than he was before. Then we have Brendan Pelikh and the Armaly brothers at Groton who are knocking out grades worthy of a U.S. Presidential candidacy of this country while having great success on the ice as well. The list is very long but we had a vision in 2014 when I began working with Paul Kaplan and Todd Thomasy to rebuild the Bears program. Let’s do what nobody else does. Let’s work with the parents and listen. Our job is to be educators in the game of hockey right now and do whatever we can to set them on whatever path they want. Some go the academic route; some go the sports route but they will decide and we will help. We also need to do this while providing value which will allow the parents to spend time and money when it matters later a lot more effectively. This has resulted in scholarship awards to our players over the past 4 years. Just saying there is a bigger picture here and all roads lead to Rome. Just don’t take the one that goes on the edge of the Grand Canyon.”