One-on-One with Andy Simpson ’15
This week, I sat down with Andy Simpson ’15 of the men’s hockey team (17-10-4, 12-8-2), which just swept Princeton University in the first round of the 2015 ECAC Men’s Hockey Championship. The team will play Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, next weekend. Simpson has played in all 31 of the Big Green’s games this season.
How did you first get in to playing hockey?
I’m the first person in my family to play hockey. I don’t really know how I got into it considering neither of my parents were really athletes, but I think I started when I was about four. I played amateur hockey in St. Louis then played junior hockey in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Then I made it Dartmouth in 2010 and started playing here in 2011.
Did you play any other sports growing up?
I was big into baseball, and I also played high school golf. Every once in a while if it’s nice out in the spring I like to go down to Hanover Country Club with the guys, but it’s hard to find a lot of time with hockey.
What’s your favorite part about the game?
I love the competitive aspect of the game, especially because I’m a pretty competitive person. I also really enjoy the fast-paced nature of the game. It’s really a sport like no other. It really shows off your athletic ability considering you’re doing everything on ice, which I’m sure people don’t really realize how difficult it is to do.
What made you choose Dartmouth?
I was looking at a lot of Ivy League schools. Obviously education was really important to me, and then I came and visited here back in 2010 and immediately fell in love with the place. I really enjoyed all the guys on the team and wanted to be a part of it all. They took me around and showed me the campus and [Chi Heorot fraternity]. It was a really cool experience.
What have been the biggest highlights of your hockey season this year?
We started off really hot right out of the gate and then fell into a bit of a slump around Christmas, but I think as our record has shown we have been really consistent at the end of the season here. I think our goaltending has really been a highlight. James Kruger [’16] and Charles Grant [’16] have done such a great job [in the net,] and the rookies who came in to play this season have really stepped up to the plate. And then our returning guys have all been really hard workers at practice and have contributed so much to the team’s success this season.
Going into the ECAC tournament, how have you guys changed your practice schedule?
Towards the end of the season we always get a little bit more rest, especially after our big weekend series. We had today off and will most likely get Tuesday off as well before we leave on Thursday. Days off are especially nice with the academic schedule. I think we keep practices about the same as the beginning of the year. It’s a good way to gauge our improvement and compare where we have come from.
Can you tell me a little bit about Princeton this past weekend?
They’re a good team — definitely not what you’d expect from a team that isn’t ranked very highly. I thought we played well against them, both very physical games. I really like that kind of physical play and just get through the grind of the season to the playoffs. Both games we also played very well defensively. Yesterday we didn’t let up a single goal, which was really nice. Kruger played really well, so I think we really have good momentum going into Colgate. I personally like not having the bye and keeping the momentum going from our past wins. I think it’ll be a good match up.
What do you think about the tennis ball tradition at the Princeton games?
I like the tradition a lot. I think it’s like no other. I wish they would show the game on ESPN or something to hype it up a bit, but it was nice for the students to not throw the tennis balls after the first goal in our past game. During the playoffs each penalty is huge.
When you’re not playing hockey, how do you like to spend your time on campus?
I’m a government major, so that’s the more academic side of it. But when I’m not playing hockey I like to spend time with the guys at Heorot. Hockey takes up a big portion of time, though. So it’s really just school, hockey and hanging out with the guys.