Wolves’ Gjurich to return as player/coach

Hockey

POTSDAM — Massena native Jordan Robert has waited five years, time he says went by quickly, to put on a Clarkson University men’s hockey jersey and play for the Golden Knights. That will change this fall when he joins the men’s hockey team as a freshman forward.

He committed to Clarkson after the 2013-14 season, when he helped lead Massena to its last state title in boys hockey.

That was followed by two years at the Gunnery Prep School, two years in the British Columbia Hockey League with the Surrey Eagles and one final season in the BCHL with the Cowichan Valley Capitals.

A 5-foot-11, 176-pound forward, Robert tallied seven goals with 15 assists in 33 games last year.

“For me, I think (five years) went by fast,” said Robert, 21. “It was obviously quite a journey and a great experience for me. Looking back at it, five years is a long time, but it didn’t feel like that for me at all. It kind of flew by.”

When asked if he was a Clarkson fan growing up Robert responded, “I’ve never even been to a St. Lawrence game. I always grew up watching Clarkson. It was a dream come true for me. I was at the games every weekend, got so many jerseys and sticks signed by players. I am always excited to give that back to my community (by signing). I don’t want my life to just revolve around hockey. I want to know the town and the people.”

Robert’s favorite Clarkson players come from the George Roll championship years and include former Clarkson assistant captain Matt Curley, a Madrid native who is now the head coach of Alaska Anchorage, as well as Nick Dodge, the captain of the 2007 ECAC Hockey Tournament championship team and captain of the 2008 ECAC Hockey regular-season champions.

“I had the pleasure of (Curley) being one of my coaches at the U.S. national development camp program,” Robert said.

Former Clarkson goalie David Leggio was another favorite of Robert’s and, when Robert announced his commitment to Clarkson on Twitter, he got a pleasant surprise.

“Leggio messaged me right away through social media to congratulate me and welcome me to the family,” Robert said. “When I got that from him, I knew I made the right decision right away. He had no need to message me whatsoever.”

Robert agreed to play for Clarkson so long ago that the two assistant coaches at the time, Andy Jones and Phil Roy, have both moved on to other jobs, but head coach Casey Jones also made a big impact.

“What impressed me the most is how he’s honest,” Robert said of Jones. “You hear a lot of coaches offer you this and that. He tells you straight. He told me this is what I need to do, this isn’t what I am good at, this is what I need to improve on. You can trust him and he’s always there for you. What caught my eyes is how open he is and how friendly he is. I knew he was a coach who made me feel like I was at home. If I lived far away, I know with him I’d feel at home.”

Robert doesn’t live far away. Massena Arena, his old high school home, is 21 miles from his new home, Cheel Arena.

“I have a pretty big group that will be coming around every game,” Robert said. “I have a lot of friends who are excited for me to go (to Clarkson). I have a big family, uncles and all, who live around the area, a lot of people that will be excited.”

Coming to Clarkson will also reunite Robert with one of his youth coaches, Josh Bartell, who is the director of Cheel Arena and a former Clarkson player himself.

“He made the most impactful seasons for me when I was with the St. Lawrence Thunder,” Robert said. “He believed in me. He played a big role and led me to believe I was a better player. Without him, I don’t know if I would be in this position.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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