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Shelby Perry bound to play hockey at Colgate University

April 22, 2014

By CLAUDE SCILLEY

Shelby Perry calls it her adventure.

“I don’t know what to expect,” she says, “but I’m really excited for it.”

What excites the Holy Cross Secondary School student these days is the prospect of playing hockey next winter at Colgate University, the 195-year-old liberal arts college in Hamilton, N.Y., where, it just so happens, her future coach is from her home town.

“Shelby has only scratched the surface, in terms of the kind of player she can become,” said Greg Fargo, the former Kingston Voyageurs goaltender who will be beginning his third season as the coach of the varsity women’s hockey team at Colgate this fall.

“With the right people around her, at a place like this — she’s got a lot of skill, she’s got good hockey sense, and I think the combination of the two is going to allow her to be a good player at this level.”

Perry, captain of both the Kingston Junior Ice Wolves of the Provincial Women’s Hockey League and the OFSAA silver medal-winning Holy Cross Crusaders, discovered Colgate in the winter of 2012, when Ice Wolves coach Harold Parsons took the team to visit to the central New York campus. She returned with her parents last November.

“It’s close to home, the coaching staff is awesome … I really felt like I fit in there and I could be a student there,” Perry said. “I liked the environment; I liked the size of the school. I didn’t want to go to a big school.”

Perry was involved, as the recruiters say, with other schools, but not to any great extent. “I was getting emails every so often, and they’d ask for my test scores … pretty basic emails that I think they sent to a bunch of players.

“I wanted to feel like the coach really wanted me. I was really involved in a conversation with Colgate.”

Fargo didn’t want there to be any doubt about his interest in Shelby.

“This class is where we put the majority of our time and effort in recruiting over the last couple of years, as well as the class that’s going to follow it,” he said. “We feel this will be a pretty good representation of where our program’s heading in the next couple of years.”

Perry, it seems, is an important part of that.

“What’s exciting about Shelby is she comes from a program where she played a leadership role,” Fargo said. “She played in just about every key situation that you can think of over the last few years. She was the captain, she saw time on the power play, on the penalty kill, was out there for key faceoffs. All the key moments for her team, she was out there.

“When you come to the next level, you expect your players to excel in those areas. You can’t teach that kind of experience. She brings that kind of experience to us right away.”

The Raiders didn’t make the playoffs this season, and not for three of the last four years, predating Fargo’s time in the program. As a result, the incoming crop of rookies is expected to start contributing right away. “We expect to take some steps in the near future,” he says.

Perry felt that vibe.

“I like the idea of being part of their rebuilding,” she said. “I feel like I’m going to be a big part of the team when I go there. That was (important). I didn’t want to go down and be on the fourth line. I want to be a contributor on the team.”

Fargo identified, as one of the school’s intangibles, the academic support implicit in the fact Colgate fields 25 Division I NCAA teams despite a student body of less than 2,900.

“As a student athlete it’s a challenging environment academically, but yet it’s not 100 or 150 people in your class. You’re sitting in a class of 15 or 20 students, where you can get to know your teachers, they get to know you, and you’re sitting beside other athletes you go to school with every day. There are a lot of people going through exactly what you’re going through.”

Aside from an Ontario Games championship she won with a regional team, silver seems to be in Perry’s blood. In addition to her silver medals at OFSAA, Perry was a member of the Ontario team that was second at the national under-18 championship in Calgary in November and she was a member of a Toronto Bulldogs team that twice finished second at the Beantown Classic, an elite showcase tournament held annually in Boston.

Perry says she enjoyed her time as a peer tutor in Grade 11, working with an art class in the Bridges program at Holy Cross. It sparked Perry to pursue special education as her course of study.

“I really enjoyed working with them,” she said. “This year I took a sports leadership class, which is the same thing but it’s a gym class with the special needs kids. I feel like this is something I want to do for a career.”

Fargo, who played hockey on scholarship at Elmira and got into coaching immediately after graduating, first as an assistant in the men’s program at Canisius and then as head coach of the women’s team at his alma mater, a Division III program. After four years there, he moved to Colgate.

Landing at Colgate is fulfillment of a dream, Perry said. “I’ve always wanted to get a scholarship to play hockey in the States.”

It’s a dream Fargo says he’s delighted to share with the first Kingston player he’s ever managed to recruit. “I’m really excited about it,” he said, “and I’m excited for Shelby.

“Growing up in Canada, you don’t always get exposed to the great opportunities that are down here. I’ve gone to Kingston and done some talks about what it takes to obtain a scholarship, to be recruited. To see that come full circle, for Shelby to have gone through a similar process that I went through and now have a chance to live out her dreams, it’s pretty awesome.

“I’m excited just to be able to share that with Shelby, and I’m excited to see what she can accomplish here in the next four years.”

 

About Colgate

What: 195-year-old private liberal arts college in Hamilton, N.Y., a town of about 7,000, 65 kilometres southeast of Syracuse

Enrolment: 2,900

Academics: 53 majors offered

Average class size: 18

Athletics: 25 Division I teams

Team name: Raiders

School colours: Maroon and white

History: Founded by Baptists as the Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution in 1819, one of the original trustees was William Colgate, founder of the soap company; name was changed to Madison University in 1846 and to Colgate in 1890

It’s not easy: Only 26 per cent of students who apply to Colgate are admitted; the most recent freshman class had an average GPA of 3.77 (out of 4.0) and an SAT score of 1,420

Lucky number: 13; legend says Colgate was founded by 13 men with 13 dollars, 13 prayers and 13 articles; Colgate’s address is 13 Oak Drive, and its zip code is 13346, which begins with ‘13’ and ends with three digits that add to 13

Thanks for the break: Colgate’s swim team went to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for training during spring break in 1936; it became an annual event, one that was copied by other schools and is said to have spawned the college Spring Break phenomenon

Noted alumni: Ed Werner and John Haney, two of the creators of Trivial Pursuit; columnist Andy Rooney; hockey players Mike Milbury and Andy McDonald; screenwriters Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan) and Ted Griffin (Ocean’s Eleven); songwriter Johnny Marks (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer; Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree; Holly Jolly Christmas); Dr. Henry Nadler, developer of the procedure for amniocentesis; football hall of famer Dan Fortmann; U.S. Supreme Court chief justice Charles Evan Hughes (1930-41), and William Rogers, U.S. attorney general (1957-61) and secretary of state (1969-73)

Sources: Traditions and History of Colgate University; www.colgate.edu

 

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