Editor's Note: This article was written and used for the Dartmouth/Cornell-Colgate Game Program this past weekend at Thompson Arena.
Three rows from the back of the bus, senior Alex Goodship sits in his seat writing down notes in a spiral-bound notebook. The overhead light shines through the darkness of a late Sunday night ride back from Cambridge and provides just enough visibility for him to have a clear view of the reminders he is jotting down.
The top button of his dress shirt is undone and his tie is loosened, but the look on his face is all business.
He is writing down key points for a job interview the following morning. Not listed anywhere on the lined sheet of notebook paper were reminders to include anything about strong backchecker, defensive zone faceoff specialist or solid play in the corners.
The world of finance he hopes to enter cares little about how he played in his own end or about his on-ice connection with linemates. However, if he were to write down his strengths as a hockey player, you can be sure those traits would be included on that list.
When asked to describe his style of play, Goodship didn't hesitate in his response.
Laughs echo throughout the back of the bus as teammates listen in. He smiles and thinks about a serious answer to the difficult task of labeling himself as a player.
"A defensive forward. Kills penalties, does whatever he is supposed to do, eats up minutes for the more talented guys."
Junior Matt Lindblad chimes in from the seat in front of him, "Scores late third-period goals to put teams away!" referencing Goodship's goal in the final minute of a 5-1 win over Clarkson in his season debut on Jan. 26.
That mentality of putting your head down and working through adversity served him well as he did not dress for the first 19 games of his senior season, relegated to the stands as a healthy scratch in that time. It came from a father that spent 25 years as a brick mason before going back to school to become a pastor when his sons were just boys.
At 14, the family moved from Ontario to Blackfalds, Alberta, after his father was assigned a congregation there. The move and the change in his father's profession did little to alter the work ethic instilled in he and his two brothers.
"It's definitely a blue-collar mentality to our family. My younger brother is a mechanic and my older brother runs a heavy-duty shop that works with trucking companies," the middle Goodship son said. "Our parents were incredibly hard-working and I think that transferred down to us.
"We look at things from the perspective how fortunate we are and to never take anything for granted. From that I am very appreciative that I have been given the ability to go to one of the best schools in the world and not only play hockey here, but also get a great education."
Roughly 2,600 miles from home, it's hard for his family to see him play in person regularly. Unlike the Walsh family that makes the trip to Hanover from Shannonville, Ontario, on a bi-weekly basis, Goodship's parents have only been to Thompson Arena once in the four seasons Alex has donned the Green and White, coming out for the 2011 Ledyard Classic.
Senior night will be low-key for Alex as his older brother will be on-hand while his parents will return for graduation, choosing to celebrate his academic achievements in June.
"They're not at the rink every night, but they watch all the games online and when I get home I have four texts from my dad telling me about what he saw on the video."
Not appearing in a game until January as a senior might be disheartening for some, but Goodship opts to look at things from a different perspective.
"I'm happy with where my hockey career got me. I'm here at Dartmouth and that's pretty great. I don't think I will look back and be disappointed with where hockey took me since I have had some great opportunities and experiences the last four years."
A member of the Class of 2013 seems to resonate as a point of pride for the five members. Mike Keenan, Dustin Walsh, Mark Goggin, Jason Bourgea and Goodship have clearly developed a bond during their time with one another in the Upper Valley that all five mention right off when discussing their collegiate careers.
"We always say we are the closest class and with our size it has helped us be like that. We lived with one another all four years and made a connection as a group that the others haven't been able to have.
"It's nice to have those guys to turn to when you need it - it's a support group there for you all the time," he continued.
As the season hits the final month,
Goodship is back in the lineup and contributing on a nightly basis with his
brand and style of hockey. His grinding in the corners and awareness of the
penalty kill might not be as glamorous as some of the stats the top-six
forwards post, but are just as important to the success of a team looking to
make its mark in 2012-13.
By Pat Salvas