October 31, 2003

Puttin' a Hurtin' On Opponents

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Visit Collegetown Bagels any given morning and you might just hear someone order a ‘Hornby in the Box.’ You might wonder if the intrepid customer is simply asking for some sort of French Danish to go. You may even think they’ve gone completely mad and mistaken the tiny establishment for a Krispy Kreme Donuts. You’d unfortunately be wrong on both accounts.

The newly added specialty drink is actually an ode to the widely admired fan favorite of the men’s hockey team, senior Greg Hornby.

“Yeah I’ve tried it. I didn’t get to pick the actual ingredients, though” said the Nanaimo, B.C. native. “It’s great to get that recognition and just know that people appreciate what you do.”

And what Hornby does is bring his physical, unrelenting style of play to each and every game for the Red. Renowned for his highlight reel hits and propensity to both draw and take penalties, Hornby has become one of the Red’s most valuable assets in his three years at East Hill.

Last season, Hornby — playing alongside the Abbott twins — was part of the Red’s “high energy” line. This line brought an in-your-face style that often put opponents on edge, creating scoring opportunities for a line formed with defensive intentions.

“We just have a good chemistry, we play with the same physical, high tempo style. It’s rare to find an entire line that does the same things,” said Hornby of playing with the pair. “By banging, crashing, forechecking, and staying in guys’ faces, we make the other team make big mistakes with the puck. Then we just have to capitalize on our chances.”

And capitalize they did, racking up 18 goals and 41 points in 2002-03. The trio concurrently didn’t allow a goal to be scored while they were on the ice until late in the postseason. This fact lead several national journalists to dub Hornby “the most underrated player in college hockey.”

The line also stepped up in important games, tallying the game-winner against Brown at the ECACs and notching a goal in the Frozen Four.

“He rushes people, because they’re aware of his presence on the ice. Him being out there forces them to get rid of the puck in a hurry because they don’t want to get hit by him,” said head coach Mike Schafer ’86. “He provides that physical presence every team needs.”

Hornby also brings the Red another unique service in his ability to draw power play opportunities. Often the instigator, Hornby can rile up an opposing team’s enforcer in seemingly no time. Whether through his subtle trash talking or simply by speaking with his 5-11, 220-pound frame, Hornby is always looking to get a mental edge on his opponents.

Some of the Lynah Faithful’s favorite moments come when an opposing player is escorted to the penalty box while screaming obscenities at a seemingly innocent and uninterested Hornby.

“We need him to draw even more penalties this year and, at the same time, take less,” said Schafer of Hornby’s occasional inclination to get too involved and draw his own penalties.

Still, whether in the box or not, Hornby has become one of the Faithful’s most beloved for good reason. During the Red’s exhibition game against the U.S. National Under-18 team, the Faithful serenaded Hornby with a newly renovated version of “I Wanna Know if You’d Kill Someone” with Hornby as the question’s object, rather than Stephen Baby ’03.

“Stephen Baby’s a great player and it’s great just to be associated with him,” said Hornby, who hasn’t yet heard the rendition. “It’s great to have the fans like you, it makes you proud to be a part of a program like that. It makes me proud just to wear the jersey.”

And as long as the Faithful keeps singing, and Hornby keeps making big plays, you can guarantee that this guy won’t be your average cup of coffee.

Archived article by Scott Jones