I had the pleasure of sitting down at the Notre Dame Arena after a game last week to visit with former Berlin High School student/athlete Connor Jewett to discuss his life, including hockey and academics after Berlin High School.
Connor, a very polite, respectful and thoughtful young man, shared with me that after graduating from Berlin High School in 2014, completing a very successful academic and athletic (especially hockey) career there, he moved on to play two years of hockey for the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs, which is a developmental/preparation program for college hockey. That two-year period was a very valuable time for him and it helped him adapt to Division II Hockey at Stonehill College, a team that plays in the Northeast-10 Conference.
He is in his junior year, and in the course of three years of college hockey, has missed only one game due to injury.
Stonehill averages 28 regular season games per season. So he has played every game, on a regular shift, including penalty killing and being on the power play in that three-year period. His roll changed dramatically from a high scoring forward in high school and junior hockey, to a roll of shutting down the No. 1 center on opposing teams, which sacrifices statistics and headlines for the good of the team, because of having to play more defensive-minded hockey. And as one would expect, he performed his new roll with enthusiasm and devotion.
Connor's coach, David Borges, communicated with me recently and he said: "Connor Jewett has a very high hockey IQ, and because of that, as a coach, I can and do use him in multiple situations, such as being often matched up with the opponent's first line because of his willingness to compete and match their speed. He is a 200-foot player, and has the ability to chip in offensively and also be responsible in the defensive zone, plus he is a very effective penalty killer. Connor is a great teammate, he leads by example and works diligently on the ice and in the weight room. And he is a solid student who is taking advantage of the great education offered here at Stonehill and he truly exemplifies what a true student/athlete is."
Even though there is plenty of enjoyment playing college hockey, it is especially tough in that he is also there to get a good college education. As an accounting major, his classes and the fact that (he) must maintain a high GPA to continue to play hockey, puts added stress and pressure on him. But, as we both agreed, sometimes playing a varsity sport at the college level can be and usually is beneficial because it helps one to remain focused and improves the ability to budget your time more effectively. Hockey doesn't end once the season does, as there are plenty of off-season workouts in the weight room and skating whenever possible. It is and can be a year-round thing for sure.
During an off-season showcase hockey event between his first and second year of junior hockey, Connor sustained a serious eye injury, one that not only had the potential to jeopardize his hockey career but cause blindness in that one eye. Fortunately he was able to continue his career but does have some peripheral vision issues that have forced him to make adjustments to his game, in order to play at the high level expected. It reminds me of a book I just read about Isaiah Austin, a 7-foot-tall basketball player who had to adjust to the total loss of vision in one, but played for Baylor University and became a highly sought-after NBA draft pick until Marfan Syndrome ended his career.
I wish Connor Jewett, son of Rob and Kathy, brother to Cael, much continued success as he finishes out this semester and his final year of hockey and school in 2019-20, and eventually into the workforce. Connor did state that he would still like to continue to play hockey at a recreational level once he is done with college. He also gave credit to his family, coaches and teachers in his past for helping him get to where he is today.
Thanks for such a great visit, Connor. Best wishes for continued success in all areas of your life.