Christina Fuoco-Karasinski • College Times
The saying goes “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.”
ASU sports business major Joey Daccord put March to shame.
Considered one of the top collegiate goalies, Daccord made his NHL debut for the Ottawa Senators on April 4, three days after becoming the first ASU hockey player to sign an NHL entry-level contract.
The 22-year-old ASU junior rushed through an April 8 phone interview from Canadian Tire Centre to catch a plane back to Sonoran Desert heat to resume classes on April 9.
“It’s been a crazy seven days,” Daccord says via telephone on April 8. “When I sent my professors emails, they were pretty excited for me, and they were understanding.”
Daccord calls his Senators debut “surreal,” one that he lost 5-2 to the Buffalo Sabres. He chalked up 35 saves and an .875 save percentage.
“It was something I’ve looked forward to and dreamed of my entire life,” he says. “To have it happen was incredible. I skated out there and I had chills.”
Twenty family members and friends felt those chills right along with Daccord, who was selected 199th in the seventh round by the Senators in 2015. Hockey is in his blood, as his father, Brian, is the former goaltending coach with the Boston Bruins. The elder Daccord also played hockey professionally in Switzerland.
“I think my parents took me to the rink when I was 3 days old,” Daccord says with a laugh. “Hockey is just a big part of my life. I played other sports growing up. There were a lot of different things I liked to do while trying to be a kid.”
Being the Sun Devils’ first NHL player took a lot of heart. The North Andover, Massachusetts, native is the centerpiece of the university’s hockey program, leading the team to its first NCAA tournament. The season ended March 30 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, when the Sun Devils lost 2-1 to No. 2-ranked Quinnipiac University.
Daccord is a finalist for the Mike Richter Award. As of press time, the top goalie prize had yet to be announced.
“I think a lot of stuff goes into it, really,” says Daccord, describing his route to success.
“I really embraced the culture and lifestyle in Arizona and tried to make it my own. Being from Boston, it was a big change at first. It took a while to get used to it. But I’ve made it my second home. ASU has allowed me to play free and be myself.”
Initially, he admits, ASU wasn’t on his radar. He considered it after accepting an invitation to visit the Valley from men’s hockey coach Greg Powers.
“When I met with him, he and I hit it off,” Daccord says. “What’s not to love about Arizona? The climate and the atmosphere are good for me. I have an opportunity to play all I want and showcase my ability.”
Daccord is banking on another try with the Senators, as he signed a two-year contract. Before next season, he’ll head to training camp.
“Everybody’s goal is to play in the NHL and we’re all trying to make the team,” Daccord says. “I’m looking forward to doing the same.”
His love for hockey is simple.
“To me, it’s just the coolest sport in the world,” Daccord says. “I hit the ice and everything in the world goes away.” CT