February 8, 2011

Scrivens ’10 Follows C.U. Goalie Legends to Pros

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In ranks with the likes of David McKee, David Leneveu ’05 and Ken Dryden ’69, Ben Scrivens ’10 was the most recent of a long string of great goalies to come out of the Cornell men’s hockey program. With an overall 93-percent save average (2873 saves in his career) and an impressive 19 shutouts to his name, Scrivens had a remarkable run in the world of collegiate hockey; however, hockey was not always at the forefront of his mind — the biggest selling point at Cornell was the premier education.

“I knew that [Cornell had] a great program and they produced NHL goaltenders in the past, so coming in as a freshman I didn’t even expect to play,” he said. “I expected to come and get my school work done and move into the real world. I was extremely fortunate that the coaching staff saw enough in me to let me play.”

Scrivens, a student of the School of Hotel Administration, learned the secrets of time management so he could better balance the pressure of both schoolwork and being a varsity athlete.

“I enjoyed all four years in the hotel school and on the rink,” he said. “Some days I only had enough time to wake up and go to class. Then you go to the rink, come home and write a paper, then go to bed. The best thing about [being a] student-athlete is that you learn how to divvy up your time to get stuff done. You have to be really efficient with the time you have left over.”

Though he proved himself to be a good student, by  junior year Scrivens was also impressing the Cornell hockey coaching staff. While he never thought that a professional career was in the cards, by his third season Scrivens was starting to catch people’s attention.

“[Playing professionally] probably started to cross my mind my junior year. We won our first two games and I got a few shutouts early. I thought maybe if I could keep up and keep putting up solid numbers I might have a shot at it,” he said. “It was always in the back of my mind that it won’t be me that signs. I never anticipated that I would be [that] guy, that I would have a real shot at playing professionally.”

Today, Scrivens plays for the Toronto Marlies, an AHL affiliate for the Toronto Maple Leafs. In his first 13 games played, this Cornellian has shown that he is capable of playing with the best of the best, sporting a 92-percent save average and one shutout so far.

“When I first was done at Cornell and was leaving, I expected the NHL shooters,” he explained. “I thought I was going to get picked apart [playing professionally], but having spent half the season in the pro life I realize that the game is different but it’s not as big a jump as I thought it’d be. The players were very good in college … and when you see guys you played with and played against and the jumps they made, you see the top guys in college can make it in the NHL. It’s not as big a jump.”

The game is played the same (well except for the intensity of the fights), but playing hockey in college is definitely not the same as playing in the pros. Scrivens explained that there are mainly two big differences in his opinion.

“In college you play two games a week, and you focus only for those two opponents that are coming up. In terms of games you play [on the professional level], there are so many. In the college season you can lose a game early on in the season that prevents you from making the NCAA tournament — the pressure is there. In college there is more emphasis on trying to win every game.”

While the pressure to win every game may not be as high as it was in college, the pressure to play in front of a larger crowd is slightly greater. Though the game may be rougher than before, Scrivens’ new lifestyle is much tamer.

“It’s kind of boring, not to make it sound too bad,” he quipped. “There’s a lot of down time and travelling on the road. I do what most teenagers do: I play video games and I read books — maybe four to five books so far. There’s not too much you can do. You can’t leave town or play other sports in case you get injured.”

Scrivens’ appreciation for his experiences at Cornell was obvious when he reminisced about his time spent on East Hill.

“[These] four years go by incredibly quickly and you never know when the next opportunity is going to come around — like playing Harvard at home. You never know when you’re going to get an opportunity like you have now,” he said. “Take advantage of it now and when you get older you’ll realize how great being at Cornell and playing here really is.”

Original Author: Lauren Ritter