Athlete of the Week Q&A: Alec McCrea
Each week, BRSN chooses one athlete that stood out among his or her peers, both within Cornell and the Ivy League. This week, we interviewed junior hockey defenseman Alec McCrea following his literal last-second goal to secure a win against arch-rival Harvard on Saturday.
BRSN: What was your mindset going into the game against Harvard?
AM: My mindset before the Harvard game wasn’t any different than it is for games against other teams. Although it’s a big rivalry and a lot of hype surrounds the game, I just wanted to focus on controlling my emotions and playing fundamentally sound. We’ve had that game marked on our calendars ever since they beat us in Lake Placid last season, so we were in the right place mentally.
BRSN: How did you first get started with hockey, and what kept you in the sport?
AM: I first started playing hockey when I was in the third grade. At that time, ice hockey in California wasn’t as big as it is now, so I played roller hockey at a local rink near my house. I actually started as a goalie and played for about a year before making the switch to ice hockey where I became a defenseman. What ultimately kept me in the sport was the immediate passion that I had for the game. I remember my first time skating on ice at a youth tryout and the feeling that I had. Hockey is unlike any other sport that I played growing up. It’s a perfect balance between creativity and complexity, and I fell in love with it. Throughout my youth experiences, I was fortunate to be a part of some great teams with unbelievable chemistry in the locker room. The friends that I made during those years were a huge part of me continuing to play the game, and I still keep in touch with a lot of them.
BRSN: Recognizing that you were once committed to play for Harvard, how special was the game-winning goal to you?
AM: That was an emotional goal for me. It was special in more ways than one. Seeing the guys battle back like we did and then being able to finish the job shows our character as a group. Our junior and sophomore classes hadn’t beaten Harvard yet in our Cornell careers so it was nice to cross that off the list.
BRSN: What is your favorite hockey memory?
AM: I would have to say scoring the goal against Harvard is my new favorite hockey memory. Before that it was probably winning a regular season championship with my junior team or beating New Hampshire last season at Madison Square Garden.
BRSN: Do you have any pregame superstitions or routine?
AM: I don’t have any superstitions but I do have routines that I like to follow especially on game days. I usually like to eat the same kinds of food for lunch, and do the same stretches before on-ice warmups. Other than that though I’m not too particular.
BRSN: Why do you think you guys have started off the season so successfully?
AM: I think our team has been successful thus far because we have done a great job of following the process day in and day out of what kind of team we strive to be. We challenge each other, hold each other accountable, and push ourselves everyday to create a competitive atmosphere and develop strong character. During games we have done an excellent job of staying true to our identity and overcoming adversity at opportune times. In addition, the chemistry and bond that we have in the locker room is one that has significantly impacted our success as a whole.