Hanson native Billy Sweezey has been a standout for Yale’s men’s hockey team.
Commitment, confidence, grit, poise, resolve and wit. All are on full display when you watch Yale men’s hockey defenseman Billy Sweezey skate.
The Hanson native just concluded his inaugural campaign on the ice for the Bulldogs. He coined it his “most fun” season yet. The 6-foot-2, 204-pounder appeared in all 33 games for Yale, scored a goal, notched five assists and led the club with a +13.
Sweezey’s path to one of the oldest schools in the nation is an interesting one. After beginning school and high school hockey at Archbishop Williams, he transferred to Noble and Greenough, repeated his sophomore year and played three seasons there and was honored as a captain his senior campaign. After Nobles, he decided to take a year off from school and competed in the United States Hockey League for the Chicago Steel. In the midst of all that, he committed to Yale as a junior in high school.
Sweezey said one of the toughest shifts to the collegiate ranks he was tasked with was not on the ice.
“The transition into a college classroom, especially at a place like Yale, was pretty tough,” Sweezey said. “My dad always stressed doing well in school to my brother and me, so I was able to get back into the swing of things after a few weeks.”
Sweezey said everything on the ice went relatively smooth after he was able to work diligently with his coaches to get past the adjustment period.
“The biggest difference is the speed,” Sweezey said. “Guys are faster and stronger so you have that much less time to make a decision out there. The room for error is extremely small.”
One aspect Sweezey said he prides himself on is his physicality on the ice. However, it can be a detriment at times, and caused a few issues at the early stages of the season. Though, he was able to figure out how to become more disciplined, which can be seen by a season-best sixgame no penalty streak from Jan. 13 to Jan. 28.
“I think I improved in that aspect a lot this season,” Sweezey said of his discipline. “A lot of it comes down to being able to relax during the games and keep my emotions in check; never getting too high or too low.”
The rising sophomore said when he reflects back at his 2016-17 campaign, one moment that comes to mind is Yale’s 3-2 overtime win over Dartmouth in the first round of the ECAC playoffs on March 4. In the triumph – the Bulldogs’ last home tilt – Sweezey netted a third-period assist that knotted the score at 2-2.
“After the game and handshakes, we lined up and saluted our games for the final time,” Sweezey said. “It really hit me that I was going to be part of something really special for the next three years.”
Sweezey, who went through the Hanson School System up until high school, said he looks forward to the offseason for a bevy of reasons.
“I still see all my friends from home when I’m there and look forward to coming home,” Sweezey said. “I’ll probably skate two to three times a week doing skills work. Then I’m in the gym lifting four to five times a week. I also play three on three with my best friends once a week which is probably the most fun.”