If you were to ask people around the Geneseo campus what their favorite school team is, many would say the Ice Knights. On weekends before big games, it’s almost hard to find people around the school that aren’t attending. The hockey players, too, are some of Geneseo students’ favorite student-athletes—and that’s just what you’ll find in senior goaltender Brad Hawayek. Hawayek represents the side of the Geneseo ice hockey team that we as students don’t always see. Despite not getting every start, however, he loves the game—and winning—more than anyone you’ll ever meet.
“I love it,” he said. “I love getting up and going to work and watching myself get better every day.”
This work ethic extends off the ice, as well, as Hawayek is on track to graduate this spring with a degree in biology. He is currently applying and interviewing at medical schools.
“Hockey helps with my professional career for sure,” Hawayek said. “I’ve learned time management and how to prioritize and what it means to set goals and work hard to meet them.”
Hawayek’s playing career has been on a different track than most Division III hockey players, as well as than most of the players on his own team. Many collegiate ice hockey players defer from college for a couple of years to play junior hockey and then get recruited to sign a letter of intent to play.
Hawayek, however, took only one year off to play 18-and-under hockey in Detroit for Belle Tire, which is one of the strongest programs in the country. After that, Hawayek decided to come to Geneseo, despite not being recruited by the team. It was at 19 years old as a first-year student that Hawayek went to try out for the Ice Knights and managed to walk on.
“Most guys age out of juniors and come into the school as freshmen at 20 or 21 years old. That really wasn’t for me,” he said.
Hawayek is not only different because he is one of the younger guys on the team as a senior at 22 years old, but he is also unique because he represents a side of the Ice Knights that many students don’t get to see. Hockey is different than a lot of sports at this school because players aren’t usually recruited out of high school.
For many of these guys, their road to Geneseo was long and winding, involving years of living and playing away from their family all over the United States and Canada. Hawayek is no exception, but he’s happy with where he ended up.
“It’s definitely going to be weird not being out there with the boys next year,” he said. “There’s no better feeling than a packed Ira on Saturday night for a big game, but I’m excited to get into the next chapter.”
Hawayek said that the next chapter for him will hopefully involve medical school, where the hard work and dedication that it takes to be an Ice Knight will most definitely translate. Whether it’s on the ice or in the classroom, Hawayek said that he’s proud to have been able to attend this school, to help bring home a SUNYAC Championship and to wear a knight on his jersey for the past four years.