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From walk-on to Beanpot champion

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From walk-on to Beanpot champion

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By Thomas Herron, news staff

Northeastern men’s hockey walked to the locker room in disbelief, an emotion shared by the Husky faithful as another shot at the Beanpot championship slipped away in overtime. As the 2005 team walked through the tunnel, a young fan reached down, hoping for contact with his defeated heroes.

Then-goaltender Keni Gibson paused, then handed his stick to nine-year-old Patrick Jordan, a gesture that would motivate Jordan to dedicate his life to hockey and eventually become a member of the team that brought NU back to the Beanpot.

“That inspired me to want to play hockey for Northeastern,” Jordan said.

Now a fourth-year criminal justice major at Northeastern, Jordan grew up in Waltham, Massachusetts, where he played goalie for Waltham High School. He graduated in 2012 and decided to go for a postgraduate year, or a year of education after high school, which is common for students hoping to better their academics or expand recruitment before college. After a recommendation from high school teammate and friend Doug Usseglio, Jordan chose the Winchendon School.

Diagnosed with a season-ending concussion, Jordan’s first hockey season at Winchendon ended early, ultimately halting his recruitment. However, Becker College, who had recruited the goaltender out of high school, still wanted him.

After his injury limited his options, he decided to go to Becker to play hockey. He walked onto the school’s Division III soccer team as well.

“My hockey coach warned me of the commitment of being a dual-athlete, and wasn’t too fond of me playing both sports because I was there for hockey,” Jordan said.

But after a year and a half on Becker’s roster, a new opportunity presented itself. The Jr. Bruins, an organization for amateurs between 16- and 21-years-old in the United States Premier Hockey League, or USPHL, reached out to Jordan with hopes he’d fill an available roster spot.

After his teammates at Becker encouraged him to take the spot, Jordan joined the Jr. Bruins alongside his classes. That year, the team went on to win the USPHL national championship.

“After winning a national championship, I thought to myself, ‘What a great way to leave hockey,” he said.

After not even dressing for Becker’s Division III squad, Jordan said he was through.

“I accepted that I was done with hockey because I didn’t want to ruin my dreams of playing for a NCAA program again,” he said.

With hockey all but out of his mind, Jordan applied as a transfer to Bryant University and Northeastern University to improve his academics. As the son of a Northeastern alumnus, he grew up a Husky fan and wanted to follow his father’s footsteps. After hesitantly paying his deposit to Bryant, Northeastern accepted Jordan and he abandoned the investment to follow his dream.

Jordan wanted little to do with hockey at the time, even with the opportunity to play club.

“There’s a stigma that club hockey is a joke,” he said, explaining why he hesitated to join the team, “but here and at other top club programs, that’s just not true.”

But during his first year at Northeastern, he decided to join. Still, he said he only ended up playing five or so of the team’s approximately 30 games.

“I sucked my first year,” he said. “I had no passion left for hockey my first year.”

His second year on the club team, the goaltender had to step into the starting role and began playing pretty well. Out of nowhere, men’s hockey head coach Jim Madigan called him and asked if he would like to practice with the team.

“Once he called me, it all came back,” Jordan said. “I started loving hockey again. That ignited it all.”

Jordan also remembers how honest Madigan was: Madigan told Jordan up front that he would only practice with the team until a given date.

True to his word, that was it, and Jordan returned to club. With his love of hockey reignited from Madigan’s call and the level of competition he faced in practice, Jordan led the club team to their league championship, earning him a spot in the club league All Star Challenge.

Over the summer, Jordan reached out to the varsity program’s goalie coach and asked if he would work with him to improve for the upcoming club season. He started off the club season well, continuing his success and becoming the only club goalie to ever shut out Florida Gulf Coast University.

On December 19, 2017, Madigan called Jordan again. It was the same request as the year prior, and Jordan didn’t think too much of it.

At the time, Jordan was living in his Waltham home, commuting for class and participating in the Waltham Police Department cadet program. Jordan said the police officers were some of the staunchest believers in him and would constantly remind him of his talent as a goalie, challenging him by saying “you’re at Northeastern, why don’t you try to go walk on?”

After practicing with the varsity team for a month, Madigan offered Jordan a roster spot for the rest of the 2017-18 season. Overwhelmed, Jordan accepted the roster spot.

“I was just ecstatic to be playing NCAA hockey at any level. My life changed overnight,” Jordan said as he couldn’t help but smile.

The same nine-year-old kid who received former goalie Gibson’s stick in 2005 watched with his teammates on the bench, 13 years later, when Northeastern men’s hockey ended their 30-year drought and won the Beanpot championship. He was among those who stormed the ice in celebration.

“I think the coaches I was lucky enough to have — coach [John] Maguire at Waltham, [Fred] Carpentino and Madigan here — all really put the thought in my head to keep going,” Jordan said. “The varsity team really made me feel accepted, and did all they could to let me know I was a part of this family.”

As his dream came to a close with the end of Northeastern’s season, Jordan compiled a few gifts and memorabilia from his miracle season.

“This week, Gaudette gave me a stick, and when my mom was putting it away, she found the stick from ‘05,” Jordan said. When she told him, Jordan decided to reach out to the goalie who gave him his stick.

Jordan’s mother messaged Gibson on Facebook.“When he responded, he asked me for my stick,” Jordan said. “It’s funny how things like that work out.”

 

Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly stated that Jordan led his club team to a national championship. The team won their league championship.

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From walk-on to Beanpot champion