|Doug Rogers |
Doug Rogers is a 6-foot, 190-pound hockey player who gushes about his mother, uses phrases like “academic opportunity,” and speaks eloquently about doing well at Harvard University. He’s also thankful for his numerous learning experiences, and credits his coach and teammates for having shaped him into a mature, disciplined young man. By all accounts, he is someone who understands how to treat people with respect, fairness, and consideration.
Surprising? Don’t let his civilized side fool you. Rogers doesn’t lack the grit or toughness to take his game to the next level. Instead, the hybrid of all of these qualities--coupled with a competitive edge fueling his drive toward success--makes it likely he will someday be playing in the NHL.
The Islanders selected the young forward as their fourth-round choice in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, after taking notice of Rogers’ success with St. Sebastian's high school.
“Growing up, I was a big Boston College and Boston University fan,” said Rogers, a Watertown, Massachusetts resident. “I’d always go to the Beanpot to watch all of the Boston teams. I dreamt of going to a big-time hockey school, but my mother steered me toward Harvard because of the education aspect ... as I got older, I got a little wiser, and figured that I’d take advantage of the academic opportunity that Harvard offers just in case hockey didn’t work out.”
Luckily for Rogers, hockey has been working out in a big way. In his sophomore season at Harvard, Rogers led his team in goals (13), and was one of the team leaders in both assists (19) and points (32). His total goals nearly doubled from his freshman year to his sophomore year, an increase that Rogers credits to experience.
“Over time, you learn what you need to improve upon,” said Rogers. “My coach really helped me realize how to put up more goals and score more. I also think it has to do with maturity. You get stronger as you get older.”
Despite his dedication to being an athlete, Rogers--an Economics major--made it clear that it is important to balance playing hockey with his academic interests.
“You just need to have a really disciplined schedule,” said Rogers. “You have to take all of your classes in the morning because you have hockey and workouts in the afternoon. Schoolwork has to get done at night. You also have to plan ahead if you’re going to miss class. Even though some teachers dislike athletes, most of the time everyone’s pretty fair, teachers and students alike. There’s a respect level there ... ou just have to make sure that you let your teachers know about games. Don’t leave them in the dark.”
So what is it like playing hockey for the Ivy League? Well, for one thing, it is extremely competitive.
“In the Ivy League, pretty much every team is a big rival because we all compete for the Ivy League Title,” said Rogers. “Cornell is one of our more exciting games. We always have a hard fought game against them. ... There are a lot of one goal games in the league we play in. Every once in a while you get a blowout, but it’s a pretty competitive league. ... Cornell’s arena is definitely the loudest building we play in. It’s small and they pack it in, so it gets really loud in there.”
Rogers has had no difficulty translating the competitiveness of the Ivy League to his play this week at Prospects Camp.
“I compete the same in college and professional hockey,” said Rogers. “The guys here are trying to make the NHL. ... It gets more competitive as you get into the professional range because there’s a business involved, and people are only focusing on hockey because it’s what they want to make a career out of. In college, you have a couple options; you have your academic career and your athletic career. There’s a big difference.”
This year marks Rogers’ third appearance at Prospect Camp, and he is excited about being part of the Islanders.
“My favorite thing about the Islanders organization is the personnel here and all of the guys that I’ve been to camp with,” said Rogers. “They really make me feel at home here, like I belong, which is nice. The coaches really teach you a lot, and I feel like I’ve learned the most about being a complete hockey here. Hockey has taught me how to be disciplined, hardworking, and focused. I’ve used those skills to help me throughout my whole life, and now I’m furthering my hockey education.”
Rogers is confident, composed, and ready to move forward. His favorite player? Steve Yzerman. The NHL team he’d most like to play against?
“The Detroit Red Wings,” Rogers replied, “because I was a big fan growing up. Well, I’m still growing up…but it would be fun to play them.”
And you can be sure that it will not be long before Doug Rogers gets that wish.