By Carly Grimaudo
Special to GoHolyCross.com
As many young Canadians from outside the Toronto region, senior captain Erik Vos (Carlisle, Ontario) had made the sport of ice hockey a huge part of his past, present and future. On the ice before he even knew how to lace up his skates, four year old Vos, like most other Canadian boys dreamed of some day making it to the NHL, a dream which continues today in his final collegiate year of ice hockey. From playing at such a young age, either with his team in the arena or on the rink in his backyard with his father and brother, Vos developed an early love for the game, one that has grown much stronger over the years into today. Though the sport offers multiple different pathways leading up to the ultimate goal of being a professional hockey player in the NHL, Vos and his family both agreed that the ideal pathway for him included college hockey and a top notch education at Holy Cross.
Through his play in the British Columbia Hockey League it was clear that once Vos arrived in Worcester to be a Crusader he would have a huge impact on the success of the team. As a member of the Powell River Kings of the BCHL, Vos tallied 62 goals and 81 assists in 120 games, totaling an outstanding 143 career points. During the 2008-2009 season, after scoring 39 goals and recording 44 assists for a total of 83 points, Vos was selected to play in the BCHL All-Star game.
His success on the ice continued while donning a purple, black and white uniform the following year as a freshman at Holy Cross. Overall during his freshman year, Vos played in 31 games and recorded four goals and three assists for a total of seven points. Then in the 2010-2011 season as a sophomore, Vos played in 34 games and scored eight goals and had 11 assists for 19 points. The same year he also gained league recognition by being named Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week on Feb. 4th. Last year as a junior, Vos had his best collegiate season to date when he played in all 39 games and recorded a career-best 13 goals and 14 assists for 27 points. He ranked third on the team in points, fourth on the team in goals and fifth on the team in assists.
Vos' individual achievements on the ice have also contributed to the team's overall success, especially over the past two years. Making strides in both the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons, the men's hockey team is looking for an Atlantic Hockey championship for the first time since the 2005-2006 season. In 2010-2011, the Crusaders made the semifinals for the first time since their 2005-2006 victory. Then last season in 2011-2012, the team won 20 games for the first time since the 2005-2006 season. These two team achievements in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 have set the stage for further improvement this year and heightened the hope of acquiring their ultimate goal of a league championship and NCAA tournament appearance. If Vos and the rest of the Crusaders continue this 2012-2013 season as they've started it so far, their goals are likely to become a reality.
Vos talked to GoHolyCross.com to give us a closer look at what makes him successful on the ice.
GoHolyCross: Why did you choose Holy Cross?
Erik Vos: After initially visiting Holy Cross I knew I wanted to come here. First off, the unbelievable campus was a huge sell, but also the coaching staff and how they never "beat around the bush," and were realistic with me.
GoHolyCross: What have you learned in your hockey career at Holy Cross so far that has made you into the player you are today?
Erik Vos: I've learned that focus and a great work ethic must be shown every day. As all students know, the rigorous academic demands force you to be well-disciplined when it comes to getting your work done. The coaching staff demands the same type of daily commitment when we show up to practice, if we're not focused and if we're not working hard, we aren't getting better. A daily commitment both on and off the ice will make a well-rounded person.
GoHolyCross: Is there anything that the coaches told you to improve earlier on in your career that you feel like you have?
Erik Vos: Early in my career, coaches were all concerned with my skating. I believe that I have improved my skating, as I now feel stronger and faster on my skates.
GoHolyCross: What are some of your favorite things about being a part of the Holy Cross men's hockey team?
Erik Vos: Having the longest season for any sports team on campus, my favorite thing is the camaraderie we have between the guys. We are on campus for almost all of the school breaks, which really enables the guys to hang out with one another and get to know everyone. This translates well to the ice, as we know that we have to push each other to become better as a team.
GoHolyCross: Who have been some important positive influences in your life on and off the ice?
Erik Vos: My most important influences in my life have been family. My parents have continually supported my hockey career and have always been positive influences off the ice as well. My sister, Elise, and brother, Paul, have also helped my career in their own separate ways, and we always stay in contact even though we are in different countries.
GoHolyCross: Does your family get the chance to watch you play?
Erik Vos: My parents are able to make about half of the games, due to a heavy portion of our schedule being in Western New York. They also come to Holy Cross a few times throughout the season, but having games in Rochester, Niagara and Buffalo make the trip from Toronto much easier.
GoHolyCross: What are you goals and expectations for the upcoming season?
Erik Vos: Our team goal is to return the Atlantic Hockey Conference championship back to Worcester and return to the NCAA Tournament. As seniors, we've come close and have had the teams that could have won, but it is our last kick at the can and anything less than a championship will be considered a failure.
GoHolyCross: What is your most memorable sports moment?
Erik Vos: My most memorable sports moment would probably be scoring the game winning goal in the historic Quebec Peewee Tournament which put us into the finals. At age 13, playing in front of 10,000 fans is exhilarating and I will never forget that feeling.
GoHolyCross: Who is your favorite professional hockey team and why?
Erik Vos: My favorite pro hockey team is the Toronto Maple Leafs. Growing up just outside of Toronto, the Maple Leafs have one of the most passionate fan bases and I always dreamt of playing for them.