By Brooke Killgore
Tonight’s puck drop begins the annual celebration of Alumni Weekend and the several players who are to be inducted into the Syracuse Men’s Hall of Fame. The banquet will be held Saturday October 21st at 6 p.m. The Class of 2023 consists of eight players from various years—one from another college—and the 2013-2014 Championship team. Their accomplishments are listed below.
The first inductee is Brian Christe, who was one of the forefounders on the early team from 1963-1965. The Ontario native was a dominant forward on the ice, followed by an incredibly strong line. Though records for the SUMH team during his career are not as accesible, he is said to have 23 goals alongside a high of 11 assists. Christe was also placed third in the Finger Lakes Collegiate Hockey League for his accumulation of goals.
The second inductee is Vic DiMaria, a forward who helped pave the way to Syracuse’s first FLCHL championship and was crowned the league’s most valuable player for the 1976-1977 season. Originating from Long Island, DiMaria grew up surrounded by the love of hockey and began competing collegiately at Farmingdale Community College. After some time on the ice, he transferred to Syracuse and began his star-studded career here. His ability to move the puck helped Syracuse secure its championship win, after a successful hat-trick to defeat Hobart College, 15-3. He still continues with hockey today, having coached several youth teams and developing their love of the sport.
The third inductee is Ken Fry, a Massachusetts native who led the 1987-1991 teams both as a successful center and eventually, a co-captain. Regarded as “one-hell of a skater,” Fry was apart of the 1989-1990 championship team and continued to help push Syracuse to develop into a well-rounded group. As a captain, he followed the mantra of “We’re going to show up and work hard and then we’re going to go home and enjoy it,” and still follows it today. Though Fry let go of hockey after a shoulder surgery, he now enjoys bouts of golf in his down time and creating new technologies to help people suffering from trauma and joint replacements.
The fourth inductee is Juan de la Rocha, who is said to be “a true hockey guy” during his 1994-1998 collegiate career. There is no shortage of achievements for the Schenectady forward as he was elected to Eastern Collegiate Hockey League – Second Team All-Star for the 1995-1996 season, as well as leading the team in scoring during his senior year. De la Rocha was also assistant captain during his junior year and eventually held the title of team captain his last year. Creator of the well-loved “Hockey House”--a place for anyone to come by and enjoy sports–de la Rocha continued on with the sport through coaching and even named the “2022 NYSPHSAA Coach of the Year” for his several playoff appearances with Shen High School.
The fifth inductee is SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry graduate Jeremy Bovay, who played as a forward for SUMH from 1999-2002. One of the first players to compete at Tennity Ice Pavilion, Bovay is said to have “amazing stick handling and skating skills, who possessed a deep passion and respect for the game.” He competed on “The Edward Line,” a strong and successful trio of him, Jaime Stasko and Jon Gardner; who all shared the middle name “Edward.” During his time, the Potsdam native and his line helped put up several great runs and were regarded as “the biggest fire power line we had that last year.” Bovay joins Stasko and Gardner to be the only SUMH forward line in program history with all being Hall of Fame inductees.
The sixth inductee is Jaime Ketchabaw, a successful and talented goaltender hailing from Westchester County. His 2011-2016 hockey resume is not short of achievements. During his time with the SU Men’s Hockey program he played on two Championship teams, went to two ACHA National Tournaments, played in the Frozen Dome Classic; where SU beat WVA 5-2, and was selected to the 2015-2016 NECHL All-Star Team. Claiming #30 to be his lucky number, Ketchabaw started as a junior and senior, helping defend Syracuse’s net with an overall .915 save percentage and kept a 23-7-0 record his final year. Jaime is a double inductee this year as an outstanding individual player and of the 2013-2014 League Championship Team (19-0-5) being inducted into the SUMH HOF.
The seventh inductee is Nick Pierandi, who is the first SUMH coach to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. With a goal of taking Syracuse to the top, Pierandi did a lot more than just gain the Orange recognition–he pushed them past being just a college club team. He helped led ‘Cuse to three ACHA national tournaments (2014, 2016, 2017), capturing three Regular Season NECHL League championships (2014, 2016, 2017) as well as a 2017 NECHL league playoff championship.” Alongside these victories, the Orange also “achieved 100+ Wins and four straight, 20+ Win Seasons establishing SU as a perennial top 20 Division 1 Club team.” His legacy lives on in the program today and his is inducted alongside his 2013-2014 championship team.
The eighth and final individual inductee is Glenn “The Wall” Schaul, a New Jersey defensemen who was considered to be “a great skater with a hard shot, who could move guys out from in front of the net.” Competitng from 1983-1987, Schaul played alongside his brother, Scott, to make an impenetrable line against their opponents. His junior and senior year, he took on a leadership position for the team, acting as both co-president and president, coach and captain of the team. Schaul helped put Syracuse into the ICHL and the 1987 team managed to place second overall. He is recognized as the 2023 recipient of the Van Winkle Award, for helping to save the SUMH program, while also “reinvigorating the program and raising it to a new level of performance.”
The 2013-2014 championship team is regarded as the beginning of a new era within SUMH history, as they began a six-year streak with four championship wins and three national invitiations. An extraordinary performance, the Orange came out to be 19-5-2, with an undefeated streak of home games, 11-0. The team was led by captain Russell Suskind and assistant captain Niall Harding, alongside coach Nick Pierandi and they were the first SUMH team to ever receive an invite to the ACHA National Tournament. Overall, the team ranked #19 in the ACHA and currently have six members in the Hall of Fame today, with the induction of Pierandi on Saturday night.