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January 18, 2013

Hockey Notebook

No matter how many goals he scores, or doesn't score, it wouldn't be stretching the truth to give senior winger Brooks Dyroff the Boston College hockey team's award for "Most Likely to Succeed." He'll probably never play in the NHL and he'll definitely never win a Hobey Baker Award, but upon reading his resume' it is not a stretch to say that someday he might win a Nobel Peace Prize.

On the ice Dyroff scored his first career goal last Saturday night at UNH, a one-timer from the slot that tied the game 1-1 and gave his team a chance to complete a weekend sweep of their most formidable Hockey East competition (before losing 2-1.) It was the first goal of Dyroff's BC career and even if he scores a goal a game for the rest of the year it won't be enough of an accomplishment to eclipse what he has already accomplished off the ice.

Back in 2007 Dyroff and a friend back home in Boulder, Colorado founded a charity called CEO4Teens. Since then, through Boulder High School, Phillips Academy in Andover and Boston College, the non-profit organization has raised enough money to provide college education for 60 needy Indonesian students. It now expanding its scope to Boston and has help seven people obtain GEDs (general equivalency diploma) at Roxbury Community College.

As a result, Dyroff earned the 2011 Hockey Humanitarian award, presented annually "to college hockey's finest citizen who best exemplifies the qualities of character, scholarship, and devotion to the game, the team and the community." He has been named to the All-Hockey East academic team each of his years at BC (although he didn't dress for a game as a freshman.) And, to his list of accomplishments, you can add several awards for his filmmaking before coming to Boston.

"People have asked my why we have focused our efforts on helping Indonesian students," Dyroff explained recently as he waited to join his teammates for a Wednesday weightlifting session. "I was there with a friend's family back when I was in high school and we saw a need. It costs us $1,000 to educate pay for tuition for each of these students for a year at a college in Indonesia, mainly in computer sciences and speaking English. The dollar would not go so far back in this country. We have raised about $70,000 over the years, mostly from small individual donations. We don't have any large corporate contributor yet."

Dyroff began playing hockey at an early age back in Colorado. His mother was an NCAA ski champion at the University of Colorado, but his father (U. of New Haven) and his grandfather (Union) both played college hockey. So, he has the genes to be an athlete. There aren't many rinks around Boulder, Colorado so as a teenager he often drove 90 minutes to hockey practice in his 1977 VW bus (maximum speed is 60 mph., he said). When he outgrew the Colorado hockey programs Dyroff chose to continue playing in prep school rather than juniors and ended up in Andover. He came to BC two years later, tagging along with Chris Kreider as "the other guy from Andover."

"I was thinking of a Division III school like Bowdoin or Middlebury, but I wanted to come to a big school in a big city," he said. "I talked to coach (Mike) Cavanaugh and I was a walk-on at Boston College. I now have a scholarship and it has been a wonderful four years. Even as a walk-on I was treated just like everyone else. We are all treated alike."

This year, for the first time, Dyroff has a regular spot on a regular line, playing left wing with center Patrick Brown and right wing Brendan Silk and he has even showed up as the big body in front of the net on some power plays. The line show consistent energy and has enough size to batter opponents no matter who they are although they haven't scored as many goals as they would like. "We try to play good defense and we forecheck hard," Dyroff said. "We like to think we can get the puck down low and start some cycling in the corners. Maybe we will score some goals, but if we don't we have given our top six forwards time to rest."

Dyroff already has two national championship rings to show for his on-ice career at BC and he hope that Friday night at home against UMass will start the run for a third title.

"The past six games or so we haven't played typical Boston College hockey," Dyroff admitted. "We can do better than this. The seniors have been explaining this to the younger players. We have got to play smarter, take fewer penalties and score more goals."

The next three months will probably be the last ones of Brooks Dyroff's high end hockey career. Maybe there will be a few goals between now and then. But off ice, Boston College is just the beginning. He sees himself in New York after graduating, working in finance, which he did as an intern last summer. Maybe there will be more non-profit work (CEO4Teens is not a career option yet.) And then maybe, of course, if all goes well, the Nobel Prize?

Versus UNH: Friday night Boston College dominated. New Hampshire started well, moving the puck well down low, but it wasn't long before BC shifted into high gear and the Wildcats were done. Wings, and even defensemen were crashing the net full time. Johnny Gaudreau was a magician finding the open man. The difference between Johnny Hockey and everyone else is as follows: Most player see, think, then react. Johnny sees, then reacts. He did the thinking a few seconds ago.

On Saturday night UNH did a better job of slowing the Eagles down. They clogged center ice and didn't let BC get rolling into the zone. Instead of doing a better job of covering Gaudreau they did a better job of covering his targets. Like they used to say about Michael Jordan- let him have his forty points, but make sure the other guys don't get any.
UMass and Northeastern: Dyroff's linemate Patrick Brown scored the winning goal against UMass on November 4. On October 19 the Eagles fell behind 3-0 before rallying to win in overtime, 5-4. "We have been practicing all week in anticipation of what they might do this weekend," Dryoff said. The Minutemen promise to be a tough opponent, despite their 7-11-2 record (4-8-1 in Hockey East.) Saturday night at Matthews Arena is a preview of the Beanpot opener and as close as Umass came to an upset, Northeastern beat BC 3-1 in BC's season opener on October 13.

BC outshot: UNH outshot the Eagles over the two games by 71-48. Right before that Yale outshot BC 48-22. How long can this trend last?


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