PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Each time Derek Army sets foot in Schneider Arena, he carries the responsibility of continuing a family tradition at Providence College.

“My grandfather’s always here, and so is my dad, being the coach. I like going through the locker room and seeing the pictures, and I re-live it every time,” Army said. “Every time I put on the jersey it’s a different feel than maybe for another player. I not only have to play for the school, but I have to play for everything my family has done here.”

Army, the son of former Portland Pirates coach Tim Army, could be overwhelmed by the pressure. He represents the third generation in his family to play hockey at Providence. His grandfather, Tom, played for the Friars from 1952 to 1955, and his father, Tim, played at Providence from 1981 to 1985. Tim Army is in his sixth season as the Friars’ head coach.

Still, when Derek Army reaches the bench, the task at hand takes priority over thoughts of family ties.

“It’s more like he’s a coach and I’m a player,” said Army, a freshman center for the Friars. “He does so much, and he’s the coach who knows the most of any coach I’ve played for. You listen to him. He’s a dad but I don’t consider that, and no one else does, either.”

Army, 19, lived in Maine for three years and played hockey at Scarborough High School during the 2005-2006 season, his freshman year. At the time, Tim Army was in his first season at Providence.

In 2006, Derek Army, his younger brother Travis and his mother, Sue (who ran track and cross country at Providence) moved to Rhode Island.

Army played for three years at Moses Brown School in Providence. He spent a postgraduate year at The Gunnery School in Connecticut, where he scored 23 goals and 22 assists.

“It’s a lot faster in college hockey,” said Army, who has two goals and four assists in 16 games. “Moving from high school to prep school, prep school was faster. The hockey here is the extreme. Every shift, you go 110 percent. Just the difference in skill level and speed, it’s something you’re not used to, so you have to battle through it.

“Hockey-wise, the biggest transition is probably playing 110 percent every shift. You’re giving everything and emptying the gas tank. After weekends, I have nothing left in me.”

Like many freshmen playing college hockey, Army is learning how to balance academics and athletics, as well as sharing a living space with teammates Damian Cross and Kevin Hart, a Greely graduate.

Army remembers a time when he and Hart would talk about what the future in hockey held for each of them.

“Growing up, we always said we were going to play together, however it was going to end up,” Army said. “We go at it about little things, back in the day it was street hockey, mini hockey or even Greely versus Scarborough.”

Army is also discovering his role with the Friars, playing primarily on Providence’s fourth line.

He has his responsibilities on the ice – driving to the net, working in the corners and helping generate offense.

But Hart believes Army also appreciates continuing his family’s legacy at Providence.

“It means a lot to him,” Hart said.

“Playing high school hockey in this area, a lot of people know him and know his name, and there’s a lot of pride there for him to be the third generation of his family playing here.”

 

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at: [email protected]