The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News



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Hardworking Husky: How Jack Williams’ passion for hockey became leadership and success at Northeastern

Sofia Sawchuk
Jack Williams crouches on the ice. The sophomore has notched three Hockey East Player of the Week designations this season.

Growing up, Northeastern men’s hockey sophomore forward Jack Williams always had a stick in his hands. 

“You could never get it out of me,” Williams said. “I was always whacking everything in sight.” 

His consistent love for the sport guided him through his career in junior hockey. He found a home with the Michigan Muskegon Lumberjacks in the United States Hockey League from 2019-22, where he was named captain his final season and then continued his journey to Matthews Arena. 

As a freshman in the 2022-23 season, Williams played in all 35 of Northeastern’s games. He had quite the impact, with six goals and seven assists while providing some unforgettable moments, including head coach Jerry Keefe’s favorite memory of Williams — his Frozen Fenway goal that aided Northeastern’s upset win against the University of Connecticut. 

His dedication to the team and passion for hockey additionally led to multiple awards, including three Hockey East Player of the Week designations so far this season  and the team’s Unsung Hero Award in April 2023. 

While Williams appreciates these honors, his main focus is to play the best hockey he can.

“My expectation was to go out and give the team what it needs,” Williams said. “I really enjoy doing that for the team, and to see [the awards] happen is just a reward for all the hard work and all the hours and all the dedication. At the end of the day, it isn’t what we are striving for.”

The start of the 2023-24 season wasn’t easy for the Huskies, with injuries creating multiple setbacks and a losing streak to recover from. For players like Williams and teammate sophomore defender Vinny Borgesi, they had to step up when the team needed it most — when junior forward and captain Justin Hryckowian suffered an injury early in the season and the team called for two additional assistant captains. 

“Even though they are sophomores, they are both leaders,” Keefe said. “They are both guys that the staff have a lot of trust in and that the team trusts.”

Williams says he makes sure to learn as much as he can from respected teammates as he does from coaches. Last summer, Williams joined Hryckowian in Montreal for a week of hockey, where he refined his skills on the ice and learned valuable lessons from a teammate he truly admires. 

“He has everything right,” Williams said. “His details are unbelievable, his habits, he’s the hardest worker and an unbelievable captain. He’s a great human.” 

When sharing the responsibility of assistant captain with Williams, Borgesi had nothing but praise for his teammate. Confidently making plays and having one another’s backs, both Borgesi and Williams have already curated a successful career at Northeastern, and they’re just getting started. 

“Every time I’m on the ice with [Williams], especially during games and power plays, I’m super confident about making plays,” Borgesi said. “He’s someone that I look up to as a player, as a friend. He’s a great mentor, he’s a great guy, just super awesome to be around. It can only get better from where it’s at.”


Jack Williams takes a shot against Lowell. Williams tallied a goal and an assist against the River Hawks Feb. 17. (Brian Daniels)

Not only has Williams been a reliable teammate, he has proven to be an impactful leader — something he prides himself on. Graduate student forward and assistant captain Liam Walsh commends Williams’ drive on and off the ice and how his commitment allows him to better connect with his teammates.

“He’s a guy that anyone can get on the ice with and mesh well with just based on his work ethic. He’s a dog on the puck and always making the players with him and around him better,” Walsh said. “It’s easy to look at that and say I want to be better because I know you’re giving it your all.”

When Keefe first saw 14-year-old Williams play at Berwick Academy, he knew he had the makings to be a great player. Keefe said the culmination of an unyielding work ethic, instinctive hockey IQ, natural leadership and the desire to come to the rink to improve every day have granted him his success.

“What makes good players elite is when you combine a skill set with the work ethic he has,” Keefe said. “That’s why he is an elite player.” 


As a leader and devoted teammate, Williams always focuses on the team as a collective and provides it with what it needs, knowing that a great player can only be as good as the team around him. He credits the Huskies’ improvements to focusing on the specifics and fine-tuning its skills at every opportunity. 

“It comes back to details at the end of the day, finding ways to sharpen those up in practice, push each other every single day and try to get the best out of each other,” Williams said. 

With both coaches and teammates commending his actions, Williams has left a remarkable impact on his team while playing at Matthews Arena. His consistent strive to grow as a player is evident in how his teammates and coaches regard him. 

“He’s always been a kid that I felt was made for this program. I see a kid that just earned everything,” Keefe said. “When I think of Williams, I just think of a kid that goes out and earns everything. He stayed true to the process even through junior hockey and just kept getting better and better, and when he came in here he came ready to make an impact.”

Among all the success, Williams has stayed true to his roots. He learned how to remain committed to hockey while playing at a high-caliber level and is still preserving his passion for the sport he has always known. 

“Keep loving the game,” Williams said. “When it becomes a job, it takes a toll on you. But if you’re having fun and you love coming to the rink every single day, it’s the best thing ever.” 

For his team, coaching staff and student fans, Williams has already demonstrated his skill and how he has earned his time on the ice; this season he secured a hat trick against the University of Minnesota-Duluth Dec. 28 along with a third-period goal that contributed to the Huskies’ 2024 Beanpot title. Now, it’s just about moving forward and what he can accomplish. Walsh said William’s future is bright.

“There’s going to be hard times that will come with the success he’s going to have,” Walsh said. “Bear with it through the tough times because the reward is going to be worth it. If he sticks to what he’s doing, doesn’t get outside himself, he’s going to have all the success in the world.”

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