This year, Nick Garfield ‘16 became the first member of Elon’s Club Ice Hockey to be selected into the Atlantic Coast Collegiate Hockey League’s (ACCHL) Hall of Fame for his overall performance as a player from 2012–2016.
Throughout his time at Elon, Garfield played as a Defenseman for the club in the ACCHL M2, and was named ACCHL Defenseman of the Year. During his sophomore year, he took on the role as Assistant Captain and Secretary to the club, and progressed to being Captain and President during his Junior and Senior years. For two years in a row, Garfield was also named an ACCHL All-Star.
His success as a hockey player and leadership roles for the club are what made the League Board members decide to vote Garfield into the Hall of Fame this year.
“When I found out, I joked that there was no way it was based on skill. I was never a goal scorer or a super flashy player. I did my best every game to keep myself and my team at a high intensity without allowing the ups and downs of the game to bring us along on an emotional roller coaster,” Garfield said. “I think I am being inducted because of leadership and for that I feel truly honored. I am so lucky to have played for Elon University, Coach Paul Cormier, Coach Rich Arnesen and with the team of legends who dedicated their time with me.”
While Garfield may have found his selection humorous at first, he was honored to have been selected.
“[It feels] amazing,” he said. “It was something that I certainly did not see coming but brought me back to the college games and fun atmosphere all of those guys helped us thrive in back in 2016.”
As Captain and President of the club, Garfield had a lot of goals, including removing the club from any debt, unifying the team through various events to inspire commitment and ensure that the club always had a fun and friendly environment so that players would want to continue playing hockey. Overall, his goals for the club were met to varying degrees, but now he hopes that the club will make a bigger presence at Elon.
“I was once asked if I wanted to see our team reach the varsity level. I said no, that this community has the perfect level of commitment to let very good players predominantly from the Northeast continue playing hockey while also being able to enjoy a very genuine college experience. Thinking back I would say that hockey is something that may eventually be able to unite our Universities student body. As more and more Greek organizations are being shut down and Elon invests more money/has more donors creating better facilities on campus I cannot help but think how amazing and profitable it would be to include a rink somewhere in their growth plan,” Garfield said. “My Elon experience did not include an amazing amount of school spirit but rather passion for individual organizations, perhaps larger investments into our sports facilities for both new sports as well as bettering previous stadiums and arenas will help unify our student body.
Since his graduation, Garfield hasn’t played as much hockey due to his travels, but when an opportunity arises to sub for a men’s league, he said he always jumps in. Looking back on his time in the club, Garfield’s favorite memories were riding to all the games in the van with the team. However, one memory that really stuck out to him was when the team beat UNC Chapel Hill during his senior year. He recalled playing with another senior defenseman, Mac McCann, and trying to finish the game by battling in the corners on the ice and pushing Chapel Hill players away from the net to keep hold of their small lead.
As for the current club players, Garfield advises them to make the most of their remaining time on the team.
“The party doesn’t really have to end when you graduate. You will continue to have fun with friends, you will continue to occasionally stay out too late and you will carry on with life after graduation hopefully even happier than your four years here,” he said. “But this is your last chance, for the rest of your life, to play competitive hockey within a community and culture that lives for the sport. The importance of that cannot be understated. Acknowledge the scarcity of this privilege before every game and you will play with a bigger fire.”