Last night we got the chance to sit down with Boston College hockey sophomore Brooks Dyroff. Brooks was recently honored with the BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award for his work with C.E.O. 4 Teens, a non-profit that offers educational opportunities to teenagers in third-world countries. We chatted about Brooks' recruitment to BC, this year's Eagles hockey team, a look ahead to next season and all the great work he's doing with C.E.O. 4 Teens.
BC Interruption: You were a late addition to the Eagles' roster in 2009. Tell us about how you came to play for York and the Eagles.
Brooks Dyroff: I was on the team last year which was really cool because it was amazing to be a part of the National Championship team. Unfortunately, I didn't get any playing time so that kinda reflects my recruitment process with Coach York and the Eagles. Like you said, I was a late edition to the roster in 2009. Coach York had been recruiting Chris Kreider. We were linemates at Phillips Academy and I developed a relationship with Coach York and Coach Cavanaugh over some email correspondence. I let him know that BC was one of my top choices for school and I'd love the chance to maybe be a recruited walk-on. They looked a little bit more into my bio and some of the things that I was doing. Talked to my high school coach. Luckily everything fell in place. When they offered for me to come play at BC, it was an easy decision.
BCI: Some of the younger players will be forced to step up next season and take on more a leadership role, with guys like Gibbons, Joe Whitney and Muse graduating and Atkinson, Jimmy Hayes and Samuelsson turning pro. How do you expect the team to respond next season and who are the guys that will step into those leadership roles?
BD: You're right. It's going to be really tough to lose that solid core of our team. There's a lot of offensive power being lost between Cam, Brian, Joe and Jimmy too. It's definitely going to be tough. But at the same time, I came into BC as part of a really big class. I think we had 10 of us to begin with. Kenny Ryan left the first month of school. Now the numbers are dwindling. Phil Samuelsson is taking off. Our grade is shrinking a little bit but we still have a really solid core from the Class of 2013. Guys like Chris Kreider, Brian Dumoulin, Pat Wey. Patch Alber, who got a lot of time this year -- are all going to develop into solid role models on the team.
With John Muse leaving, we have a really, really solid goaltender in Parker Milner. He got some decent time freshman year. Not so much this year, but that's because Muse was playing so well. He's just kinda a hidden gem. I don't think people have been able to see what he's been able to do so far. So he's going to be solid between the pipes. We have a great leader in Tom Cross and the two alternate captains Paul Carey and Barry Almeida. It's going to be a team with a new personality. No question about it there. But at the same time, everyone is maturing. We had such a young team when we won it last year that I think people are maturing off the ice as well as on the ice -- developing their skills.
BCI: Going into your junior year, what are some personal goals that you have set for yourself entering next season?
BD: Like I said, I didn't play at all freshman year. This past year, I knew I wanted to try to break the lineup with such a great team, that's obviously hard to do. But I was lucky enough to play around 9 or 10 games so I was happy with that but not completely satisfied. I just want to build off that going into my junior year. Continue to do what I've been doing, and that's just working hard on and off the ice. That's going down for skates in the morning. Working on individual skills so that coach sees I can get better and just contribute to the team in any way that he sees fit.
Right now, I think my role is an energy guy, a grinder on the fourth line. Someone who gets in there and forechecks hard and just creates a lot of buzz so that some of our scoring lines can go out and do some damage. Also be a solid defensive player so there's no question of being a liability out there. I just want to continue to work on my game and hopefully show coach that I can be a solid addition whenever he needs me.
BCI: This year's Eagles team was obviously extremely well accomplished. A Beanpot championship, a Hockey East regular season and tournament title and 30 wins for only the third time in program history. How do the Eagles build on this success next season? What are some of York's and the team's goals next year heading into the offseason?
BD: I don't think there's any secret recipe on how we try to do better than we did this year. We had such a great year and unfortunately ran into a tough Colorado College team on not one of our best nights. I think like I was saying for myself as a team and as a group of guys we just continue what we are doing and stick to the formula. Coach York, Coach Cavanaugh and Coach Brown have been around a long time and know what they are doing. So we all need to just buy into that and show the younger guys -- some of our new freshman recruits this year -- that this is the way it's gonna be, and by that I mean buy into the program. Buy into what Coach York is telling us and I think we'll be fine. We want to get some good team chemistry and if we stick together, I really think we are going to make a good run at the full thing next year.
BCI: Shifting gears a bit. You were recently honored as this year's Hockey Humanitarian Award recipient for your work with C.E.O. 4 Teens. Tell us more about C.E.O. 4 Teens. How'd you come up with the idea?
BD: I was humbled to receive the award. I've just been amongst a group of people and a group of players in the hockey community like Tucker Mullin. Like Alecha Hughes from Yale. These players are doing amazing things in the community. It was a privilege to be amongst that class of people. It was even more of a privilege to receive the award on behalf of BC, on behalf of my team and on behalf of C.E.O. 4 Teens. I think it's almost unfair that I get singled out for this honor because there's so many people who have helped me achieve this along the way. One of which is my best friend, Kenny Haisfield, who goes to school at University of North Carolina. He's put in just as much work or more than I have with this project. It's been a blessing and I think it's going to help Kenny and I raise a lot of awareness for C.E.O. 4 Teens.
What C.E.O. 4 Teens does is we try to raise money to help send underprivileged teenagers in third world countries to pursue education. We've been able to do this in Indonesia for the past four years, sending 10 students per year to school so that they can receive a one-year English and computer skills class. Once they finish this class, they can take out loans from C.E.O. 4 Teens. On average, the incomes of these students increase five to six times so they are able to support themselves and their families much better and basically improve their quality of life. It's been really enriching for me and Kenny.
BCI: Do you plan on continuing your great work with C.E.O. 4 Teens after graduation?
BD: Yeah, we really do. We're passionate about this and we've enjoyed the process -- both the ups and downs. We've looked at it as a learning experience. I think it maybe took shape into something we didn't know it would, but we really want to continue it. And like I said, learn as much as we can to help it grow and develop. Some of our goals are to expand to different countries, different continents, so I think that all comes with time. But we definitely want to keep it going after we both graduate.
BCI: How can members of the Boston College community get involved with C.E.O. 4 Teens?
BD: I'm really glad you asked. Anyone who wants to reach out to myself or Kenny, our emails are on our website, which is CEO4teens.com. You can donate through our site which would be absolutely amazing and we appreciate any amount of money -- whether it's a dollar or a thousand dollars, it makes such a difference. They can donate, which is really easy.
Also, one of our newest initiatives is through social media. If people are interested, we've love if they could go to our Facebook page and like it so we can raise awareness for what we are trying to do. Or follow us on Twitter at @CEO4Teens.
BCI: Last one. Tell us about your recent trip to St. Paul. I'm wondering if you have any funny stories to tell / report from one of your last two Frozen Four experiences?
BD: This one might not be funny to me and the team, but our only strength coach that comes with us is Russ DeRosa. He's an amazing guy and I want to credit a lot of why I was able to step on the ice and fit in this year to him. Because I've gotten a lot stronger and faster because of his program.
In Detroit last year, we were lucky enough to go out to a pretty nice dinner. At the end, we were waiting for the check and Russ showed us a couple of dinner tricks that were pretty hilarious. One was putting his knuckles up to the back of his spoon, making the appearance of someone drying themselves off after getting out of the shower. I don't know why I remember that but it was pretty funny and might be a little snippet, insight into our Frozen Four trips.
BCI: Thanks for joining us Brooks. We really appreciate you taking the time and learning more about C.E.O 4 Teens.
BD: Thanks. If you also could give a shout out to my teammates. They've been amazing over the past two years to me and such a huge part in why I want to continue C.E.O. 4 Teens. We've been wearing some blue hats around campus that say "C.E.O. 4 Teens" on them. Not a day goes by when 7-10 guys on the team aren't wearing them. So I really just want to give a shout out to them because they've been so helpful along the way.
For more information on C.E.O. 4 Teens, be sure to check out C.E.O. 4 Teens on Facebook and follow @CEO4Teens on Twitter.