Vesey Follows Family Success
Harvard Expecting Big Things Out of Freshman
by Bryan Lipiner/CHN Reporter
Hockey has always held a presence in Harvard freshman Jimmy Vesey’s blood. His father of the same name played collegiately at Merrimack, before enjoying a 15-game NHL career with the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues, totaling three points during his brief stay.
“I think any time you have a relative who played professionally in anything, there's some pressure to be a good player,” the younger Vesey said. “I'm extremely grateful that I have a father who played, not only for the hockey genes I've inherited, but also for the knowledge that he has passed on to me so far in my career.”
Taking after his father’s skills, Vesey made plenty of noise in his amateur career before Harvard. Vesey played for Belmont Hill throughout high school, while also lacing up his skates for the South Shore Kings of the EJHL (Eastern Junior Hockey League) in 2011-12. During his tenure, Vesey was awarded the league’s Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year.
Furthermore, Vesey shattered various records and captured the spotlight in his time with the EJHL. The forward notched 48 goals and 43 assists through 45 games, both good for the highest ever totals in a single season.
Consequently, he had an eventful summer prior to getting to Harvard. Vesey was picked No. 66 overall by the Nashville Predators in the 2012 NHL Draft, and then participated at the U.S. World Junior Evaluation Camp at Lake Placid in August, and has a good shot of making the final World Junior roster.
“Getting drafted is any young hockey player's dream, so being at the draft with my family and hearing my name called was an incredible experience,” Vesey said. “It took a while to sink in, but I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity to be apart of such a first-class organization.”
Yet, Vesey chose to hold off on his pro career, and instead pursue an education at one of the finest universities in the country, Harvard.
“What stood out in recruiting him was his on-ice talent, his ability to score goals and create offense on the hockey side and then his academic background and overall character made him a great fit for a place like Harvard,” Crimson head coach Ted Donato said.
In beginning his collegiate career, Vesey didn’t waste any time during his first contest with the Crimson, scoring twice and recording an assist en route to a 5-0 victory over Bentley.
“I was pretty nervous in the first part of my first game, but I think getting an assist and getting run over early got me involved,” Vesey said. “After I got over the faster pace and the loud environment, I just tried to take it like any other game.”
Vesey later added an assist in Harvard’s Nov. 2 3-2 win over Brown, and currently leads the team in points with four. The team has high hopes for the season, and Vesey is a big part of that.
Donato believes that Vesey will continue his success as the year goes on, and has a high amount of potential in collegiate hockey and possibly the NHL.
“My hope is that he just continues to improve, find a way to impact the game every night, scoring goals or setting up plays and I think the future for him is very bright,” Donato said. “He has a lot of tools in place, a lot of ground to cover like any 19-year old, but he has a chance to be a very special player, not only here at Harvard but beyond.”
Meanwhile, Vesey looks for Harvard to continue their success in crucial upcoming conference home games against Union and Rensellaer, and on the road vs. Cornell and Colgate.
“My biggest goal this year is to become a more complete player. I want to do everything I can to help the team win and be a player that can be put on the ice in any situation,” Vesey said. “I'm excited to see what we can accomplish at the end of the year.”