(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
With all the moving parts since the inception of the NCAA hockey program at Arizona State, you would be hard pressed to find many holdovers from the ACHA team.
Two of the few who have stuck through the good and bad are defensemen Drew Newmeyer and Ed McGovern. From an ACHA championship to a five-win season, it has been a tumultuous career for both, but they have stuck with the program nonetheless.
With the ushering in of highly touted recruits, it has forced both to take back seat roles, a stark contrast from when they were in the spotlight with the ACHA Sun Devils. However, it has not affected either one.
“I just do what I always do and have a good attitude every day,” Newmeyer, a senior, said. “I just work hard and try to be a good teammate. I think that’s the most important thing and why I am still here. I think a lot of guys feel the same why. That’s probably one of my better attributes.”
Newmeyer had a successful ACHA career, scoring 37 points over his two seasons. He mentioned former captain Colin Hekle as someone who has prepared him for the role he is in now. Newmeyer said the life-work balance between school and the team is something that he has gained experience in over his time at ASU.
Thus due to his veteran status, he is one of the rare players who has seen this team evolve, even from last season in their first NCAA campaign.
“From a roster standpoint, we are much deeper all around,” he said. “I think guys are more confident. We don’t just play deep, we expect to win every game and I think that is the most important thing.”
McGovern, who is only a junior, has played in only three games this seaso, and also has yet to record a point. Despite this, his contributions have not gone unnoticed. In addition to providing experience to potential freshmen that he is paired with on defense, he has also found ways to contribute in practice by setting the tone and working hard.
He has not changed his mentality in games much despite his decreasing role.
“Getting the puck out of our zone, moving it up to the forwards, just trying to create some offense for them and basically just being safe on the backend,” McGovern said.
He had only one year of experience with the ACHA squad, but was able to make the NCAA team as essentially a walk-on sophomore. He ended up playing in 21 of 29 games last season despite not having the same pedigree as some of the freshmen on the team.
“It got me playing against older guys who have played juniors before,” McGovern said of how ACHA hockey prepped him for the NCAA level. “A lot of these guys played juniors for 2-3 years and the biggest jump was quicker hands and faster decision-making.”
Now as both embark on the twilight of their careers as Sun Devils, they have a shared mantra with a couple of the other veterans.
“I just want to leave it better than I found it,” Newmeyer said. “I think all the older guys agree. Four years goes by really fast, and I know for me I’m just trying to enjoy my time here and do everything I can for this program, whether it’s take a backseat role, I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help.”