By: Jack McElligott and Zach Harnischfeger
The SUNY Brockport Golden Eagles hockey team has grown in prestige and relevance over the last decade. Head Coach Brian Dickinson has put a focus on building a strong culture and foundation for his players and coaches to succeed. After reaching the SUNYAC semifinals and falling 2 goals short of keeping their season alive. The team is looking to build and move even farther than years past.
Dickinson has been the head coach of the hockey program at Brockport since the 1999-2000 season. He has been at Brockport almost his whole coaching career, having only three prior years of experience before.
“I’ve learned how to take care of my family because it wasn’t always about winning and losing. This has been a great opportunity for me to just grow as a person and really become close with every player that’s come through our program,” Dickinson said.
It’s this focus on family and team chemistry as the main point that has grown the hockey team over the years. Taking over a struggling program with little prestige and helping them fight in a competitive SUNYAC conference. To end the 2021-22 season, they fell short 3 to 1 against the eventual SUNYAC winners the Geneseo Knights. Dickinson says that the loss has only made them hungrier to pass all previous Brockport teams.
“Our trajectory is right to where, you know, hey, we feel like we can compete for a SUNYAC championship this year. And, you know, it’s all based off of what the previous teams have done to get us to this point. Because when you have that great culture and you do things the right way, more players want to come,” Dickinson said.
Brockport is not without its losses on the roster this year, as players like Ryan Romeo who was their MVP and leading scorer (32 points in 21-22 season) are graduating or moving on. Still, they hold one of their biggest returning players in Junior forward Andrew Harley. The leading goal scorer for Brockport last season (15 goals in 21-22 season) is excited to get back on the ice.
“We know we’re right there. We just got to take that next step and we think we got some, some good freshmen coming in. That should help our scoring a bit up front and hopefully we can hold up the back end…I think we’re in a pretty good spot to take that next step,” said Harley.
Andrew Harley is on Brockport’s top offensive line again this season. Listed with Connor Galloway and Freshman center Chase Maxwell. Maxwell alongside other forwards such as Josh Grund and Manny Sanchez make up part of the freshman depth on this offensive unit.
“We’re going to be deeper upfront, last year we were a line and a half and then we were hopeful after that, but this year, we’re three to four lines deep,” Dickinson said.
On the defensive side they have senior captain Anthony Hora as their top defenseman. Alex Monteleone a graduate transfer student who has been to a D3 national championship before also joins the squad. The most important piece of the puzzle is senior goalie Nolan Egbert, returning from a solid first year in net. Last year in 20 starts Egbert made 569 saves, and had a save percentage of .912.
“This year we have so much offensive talent coming in from the freshmen that I think we’ll be able to go toe to toe with anyone in the SUNYAC when it comes to goals…my job as a goaltender is to try and make up the slack on defense. So hopefully I could do that,” Egbert said.
With skilled freshmen and experienced transfer students being added alongside a list of talented returnees. This Golden Eagles roster could be the most talented in program history. Coach Dickinson’s focus on team culture and building trust between players has brought them here. Making Brockport an appealing destination for hockey players looking to grow in skill and also in life.