November 15, 2007 PRINT Bookmark and Share

What's In a Name?

Sacred Heart Forward Proves That It's A Lot

by Matthew Conyers/CHN Reporter

When it comes to nicknames, no platform better spits out the lot than the wide world of sports.

Need some proof?

Look no further than the great sport of hockey.

There's the Grim Reaper, Mr. Hockey, and the Russian Rocket just to name a few.

Or how about the "Dominator" or "Cujo." And of course, no nickname list would be complete without adding the most famous of all hockey monikers, The Great One.

In the race for the coolest name on ice, however, all those nicknames fall by the wayside in the presence of the Sacred Heart Pioneers' Bear Trapp, owner of arguably the best name in all of hockey.

"It's an excellent name; you definitely can't take a day off with it, that's for sure," Sacred Heart head coach Shaun Hannah said.

While Dominik Hasek and Curtis Joseph may have some pretty clever monikers, it is Bear Trapp, who possesses the real deal. Bear Trapp is no mere nickname handed down in some dirty, crapped lockeroom, but the name that was given to the quiet forward from the far reaches of Saskatchewan the minute he was born. And what a name it is.

"I personally don't think it's a big issue at all, but it does get me a little extra attention," Trapp said.

A little extra attention. Trapp is being modest. When the 6-foot-1, 185-pound forward took to the ice against RPI the last two seasons, students dressed up like nice furry replicas of Bear's namesake and constantly attempted to ruffle the feathers of the mild-mannered Trapp. Along with Trapp's RPI fan club, rarely an away game passes without Trapp hearing a few cat calls from the resident student section.

"They can do it as much as they want, I don't care," Trapp said. "It's not that big of a deal, it might actually help me play better."

If Trapp sounds proud of his name, it's because he is.

In fact, rarely does a unique name like this find a owner so perfectly suited for it. Trapp, a rugged old school hockey player is a Bear (pardon the pun) along the boards and behind the net. Heralded among the league's coaches and players as an excellent forechecker, Bear has quietly lured opponents into his own Bear Trapp during his three years in the league — take the Saskatchewan native for granted and he will punish other players with his combination of offensive ability and strength.

"Bear has great hockey sense," Hannah said. "He adds a physical element that you can't teach. When he is playing, he finishes checks and plays with a purpose. He always goes all out."

The same can be said for Trapp when he is off the ice. Raised on a grain farm in western Canada, Trapp knows a thing or too about getting his hands dirty.

"Where I grew up there were no tall building or big city lights; the senior class at my high school had 22 kids," Trapp said. "We worked on the farm, rode the tractor and played hockey on the ponds."

It was on these ponds that Trapp dreamed of making it to the college hockey ranks and playing the role of big, bad power forward like his heroes Darcy Tucker and Brendan Shanahan. After a report broke in 2004 that Trapp was headed for Maine, Trapp packed his bags and travelled to Fairfield, Conn.

"I had a few options when it came to playing college hockey, mainly Atlantic Hockey schools, but I found a good fit at Sacred Heart," Trapp said.

In his first two seasons wearing the Sacred Heart sweater, Trapp is already the proud owner of two 40-plus point seasons. During his rookie campaign, which saw him earn Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Year honors, Trapp recorded 16 goals and 26 assists in 33 games. Along the way, he also managed to add six game-winning goals, good enough for fourth in the nation at season's end.

"[Trapp] brought good leadership to our team that first season," Hannah said.

Last year, Trapp nearly matched his rookie outburst with a stat line that saw him snag 17 goals and 23 assists in 36 games.

"Every time I'm out there I want to be seen as someone who is always working and trying get things done," Trapp said.

This season, Trapp, two goals and four assists in seven games, has taken his physical prowess to new extremes while guiding the Pioneers to a surprising start in Atlantic Hockey. Picked to finish fifth in the league preseason poll, Scared Heart has jumped out to third place in the conference and are only three points from sole possession of first place. For a team that has never qualified for the NCAA tournament, after 12 years in Division I, the quick start is reason for optimism.

"We are certainly encouraged by what we"ve seen so far this year," Hannah said. "The thing we like is that we"re progressing every week."

Along with Trapp, the Pioneers are guided by sophomore Dave Jarman and senior Alexandre Parent. Jarman has recorded six points already and Parent is tied for the team lead in goals, three, with sophomore Nick Johnson. In net, Stefan Drew has played six games for the Pioneers garnering a 2.49 goals against average and .915 save percentage.

Still, Hannah and company aren't ones to start celebrating after a month of hockey.

"We have a lot of unanswered questions that still need to be solved," Hannah said. "Our goal every year is to win the league and make history by getting into the tournament. At this point, we feel we've put ourselves in a place to chase that goal."

While the odds might be against the Pioneers to unseat the Atlantic Hockey preseason favorites, RIT, Air Force and Army, one has to believe having a Bear hiding on the roster can't hurt.

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