The feature story below on men's hockey senior co-captain Brian McCafferty, is part of a year-long commitment to highlight Harvard’s captains and other intriguing student-athletes. For more question-and-answer features click here and enjoy the high-caliber student-athletes whom we have come to enjoy.
Senior Brian McCafferty is now three weeks removed from his collegiate hockey career at Harvard. The co-captain of this years team finished his career with the Crimson with seven goals and 48 assists, including a goal and seven assists during the 2008-09 season. McCafferty offers some insight into his plans for the future in this segment, he also explains the superiority of his alma mater Belmont Hill and shares the ongoing traditions the hockey team continues.
Needless to say, McCafferty had a great run with Harvard: Being a part of the NCAA tournament his freshman year, playing in the Beanpot Championship in 2008 and of course winning the ECAC Championship to advance to the NCAA's. He has represented the Crimson with class and dexterity and has left a lasting impression on the program.
What is your area of concentration at Harvard?
How has it prepared for life when you graduate?
Well, seeing as how I can’t find a job in this economy, I guess it hasn’t prepared me all that well. No, but seriously, it has taught me a lot about myself as a person and a student and about the future that I one day hope to pursue.
How have your studies helped you athletically? How have athletics helped you academically?
I think that it is hard to make a direct correlation between economics and hockey, but I will say that in balancing the two throughout my life, it has taught me my greatest skill, time management. When so much time is devoted to hockey, you learn how to balance your studies, and vice versa. Moving on in life, this will be a skill that I carry with me in whatever I do.
Your father and two of your brothers went to Harvard and played different sports in their time here. Was that a major reason for you to play hockey at Harvard?
It was definitely a major reason that I came to Harvard. Growing up, my parents actually never put any pressure on me to come to Harvard. They always encouraged me to weigh my options and go wherever I felt comfortable. The fact that I saw my two brothers go here and spent a lot of my time at their events and games though, made Harvard feel comfortable to me. When the time came to choose schools, I could not imagine going anywhere else. In terms of playing hockey, that was just the luck of the draw.
Have there been any good pranks or gags that your teammates have pulled on one another that are acceptable to share in this Crimson Character?
There have been some pretty good pranks in my time here, some more acceptable than others. I guess the major one that comes to mind is our “shoe checks.” Every team meal, someone sneaks around with a spoonful of ketchup and covers the shoe of an unsuspecting teammate. It makes for some funny reactions and is a tradition that should live on forever.
What has been your favorite moment as a member of the Harvard hockey program?
There have been too many great moments with this team to narrow it down to just one. On the ice though, some moments that top the list have been winning the ECAC Championship, playing in the NCAA Tournament and playing in the Finals of the Beanpot. Off the ice, the best moments come in hanging out with my teammates and the conversations we have in the locker room.
What are some of your goals upon graduation from Harvard?
I actually don’t like to think about graduation all that much, so I haven’t made that many goals. Off the top of my head, recovering from the depression of graduating and finding a job would be my top two goals.
When it comes to off-season workouts, what is your favorite lift and drill?
I think that’s an oxymoron. When it comes to lifting and the off-season, nothing is a favorite, except when it’s over.
The Belmont Hill School has produced some of the finest Harvard hockey alum in the programs 113-year history... Coincidence?
...I think not.
Tell us your favorite movie of all time?
My favorite movie would have to be either "Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade" or "Crocodile Dundee 2". I absolutely love the Indiana Jones movies and have watched them more times than I can remember. Growing up I had an Indiana Jones Hat, a fake gun, a leather jacket and a rope (which I used for my bullwhip) that I would wear around, but I guess that is a little too much information.
What is the furthest west you have traveled?
Las Vegas. Hockey is not that popular out west, at least not while I was growing up, so I never got a chance to go out there. Last spring, my roommates and I went to Vegas for an...um...educational trip. We learned a lot.
Were there any sports that you participated in other than hockey at Belmont Hill?
I played both lacrosse and football at Belmont Hill, although my football career was cut short when I tore my ACL sophomore year.
Had you ever gone to watch the Beanpot before you came to Harvard? If so, how old were you when you saw your first Beanpot game?
Yes, my father always used to take my brothers and me; I think we went every year when I was growing up. In terms of my first Beanpot, I was definitely too young to remember, so I’d say five or six.
Along those same lines, how old were you when you saw your first hockey game?
Well, my oldest brother Kevin started playing hockey when he was probably eight or nine, which means that I was probably two or three when I first watched his games.
There is a lot of history in your hometown of Lexington, and one would imagine that there were plenty of class field trips in elementary school. What was your most memorable field trip to see the historical sites?
Seeing as how I am not the biggest history buff, my memories of class field trips are a little vague. But I will say that going to watch the Battle of Lexington reenactment with my class has always stuck with me. I was probably in first or second grade at the time, so I really thought we were watching a war take place. It was pretty cool.
Which Harvard athletic spring sporting event are you most looking forward to see?
I can’t wait for the lacrosse and baseball games to start up. There is nothing better than watching those games on a sunny afternoon.
What's the longest you've gone without sleep?
About 36 hours. We took the red eye back from Vegas and went right into working reunions. I couldn’t sleep on the plane, so it made for a long day.
If you could have any super hero’s super power on the ice during a game, which one would it be?
I would have to say Wolverine’s power of regeneration. I have had some trouble with injuries and old age throughout my career, so it would be nice to feel 100% all the time and never have the aches and pains getting old.
What is your favorite destination?
That’s an easy one, Walt Disney World. I think I have gone to Disney World every year of my life and I love it as much now as I did when I was five. It’s the greatest place on Earth.
Grape soda or orange soda?
I’m not a big soda guy, so neither. I’d rather have a glass of water, or chocolate milk.
Which is a bigger rivalry, Brown or Yale?
Yale, for sure. No matter what the records are or when the game is, they always play us hard. After every Yale game, you always have a few more bruises than usual.
If you could pick a European country to play hockey in, which one would it be?
Playing in any European country would be a blast. I have never spent any significant time in Europe, so it would be a great chance to see the world while playing the game I love.
In a battle of the brothers, who is winning in a race to eat a half-gallon of clam chowder; Michael or Alex Biega?
Mike, without a doubt. On our team, we have a “director of food and beverage” who is responsible for helping coach out with all food related decisions because he loves food the most. Let’s just say Mike has been well groomed for the position and will most likely be a two time director before his time is done here.
Crimson Characters: Hockey's Brian McCafferty