Friday is game day, and for one athlete, the routine is always the same: 20-30 minutes of skating at the rink in the morning, classes and an hour and a half nap. The pregame meal is always the same: chicken parmigiana with a big plate of pasta, two waters and a Gatorade. In the locker room he dresses for the game, laces up his blades — right skate first of course — and then takes to the ice. He never spits during the national anthems and doesn’t leave the blue line until the anthems are finished.
Although you may not hear his name attached to too many goal calls at the Campus Center Ice Arena or see it overpopulating the box score, you probably will recognize him by his number: 17. He is Oswego State Lakers assistant captain Brad Dormiedy.
His game day routine is a combination of superstition and comfort, or as Dormiedy puts it, "I try to keep everything pretty much the same because the slightest thing can throw you out of whack."
It’s even more important that a player like Dormiedy does not get "thrown out of whack," given how important his role on the team is.
"You want guys on the ice that are in great shape," Lakers head coach Ed Gosek said. "Guys that can kill the penalties off, that can block shots, that are unselfish and that’s what he brings us."
According to Gosek, Dormiedy and fellow assistant captain, Neil Musselwhite, are not only the best penalty killing tandem in Division III hockey, but are also "pound-for-pound the two strongest guys on the team."
For Dormiedy, his job of being on the ice in a man-down situation is what he believes is his best asset.
"One thing that is my go-to is my penalty kill," Dormiedy said. "Even when I’m not playing well 5-on-5, they rely on me (to kill penalties). So that has been a cushion for letting me play my game. I have a skill or utility that they need, so I’m utilized in the lineup."
It also helps when the pressure of playing at the disadvantage is your favorite part of the game.
"If I had to pick one scenario to play in all my life it would be penalty kill," he said. "I’ve been doing that since I was 10 years old."
That prowess doesn’t go unnoticed. "As a fan, I loved it when number 17 took the ice on the PK," Ryan Maloney, former WNYO play-by-play commentator said.
"As an announcer, I hated it. There’s not much to call when the puck is tied up on the end boards for 15 to 20 seconds, but that always seemed to happen when Dormo was thrown out there. He was very disruptive to the opposition’s power play."
Luckily for Dormiedy — and the Lakers organization for that matter — Dormiedy’s parents stepped in at an early age to make sure he had the opportunity to play on the penalty kill. If it had been left up to him, he’d be playing somewhere else on the ice.
As a child of five, growing up in Ajax, Ontario, Dormiedy was asked by parents Robert and Karen asked him if he wanted to try playing in a league. After signing up, he jumped on the opportunity to hop between the pipes.
"I loved goalie," he said with a smile on his face. "I was a goalie for my first two years. And I guess my parents weren’t having that – they were a nervous wreck, so they got me into forward and from there I just haven’t looked back."
His love for goaltending wasn’t so much the recognition or even the equipment.
"It was [former NHL and Toronto Maple Leafs goalie] Felix Potvin," Dormiedy said. "He had the coolest style and I loved watching that guy."
The change was probably for the best. After high school, like most serious hockey players, Dormiedy joined the Canadian Hockey League, playing four years for the Bowmanville Eagles. In Oswego, Dormiedy is a role player, but he said that in Bowmanville he was the "big goal scorer." Then, coming to play for a Lakers team with scoring threats of Ryan Ellis, Peter Magagna and Brendan McLaughlin, Dormiedy had to find his place on the team quickly.
That came in the terms of being the role player, the hard worker and as a result, the penalty killer.
"Those types of people accept their role for what we brought them here for and Brad clearly did that," Gosek said.
However, being a role player doesn’t mean he can’t put up offensive numbers. In 94 games played to this point in his career, Dormiedy has tallied 48 points including 13 goals and 35 assists.
Despite the modest offensive numbers, the intangibles that he brings to the team will be missed when he graduates in May.
"Those are the guys you hate to see go," Gosek said. "The guys that are committed, that are great guys, they’re fun to be around, they represent your program well, those are the guys that have a lasting impression on you."
Even the freshman that have only been playing with Dormiedy for a few months realize how big of a void he will leave.
"It’s the hard work and leadership he brings [that] you can’t explain," freshman forward Chris Muise said. "He’s been here for four years, he knows how to win."
"Guys like Brad are few and far between and really hard to replace," said freshman forward Jon Whitelaw.
With a National Championship already under his belt, Dormiedy has one goal he has yet to accomplish: to win a SUNYAC title. Leading the Lakers to a conference record of 13-0-0 with three games remaining, his goal has become both realistic and optimistic.