At the start of the 2014-15 NHL season, three former Harvard University hockey players began the season on League rosters; there’s nearly that many skating just at Nashville Predators Development Camp this week.
Jimmy Vesey, a rising senior forward at Harvard, was selected by the Preds in the third round of the 2012 NHL Draft and is participating in Preds Development Camp for the fourth time. A camp veteran, Vesey was given the “Golden Helmet” on the first day of the camp by Preds Director of Player Development Scott Nichol – recognizing his successes and also positioning him as a person the younger players could look up to.
One of those very players is Vesey’s Harvard teammate Tyler Moy, who in the past few weeks, took advantage of Vesey’s knowledge of the Music City. Moy, a rising junior forward at Harvard, was selected by Nashville in this year’s sixth round and is participating in his first Preds Development Camp. Not only is he taking part in his inaugural camp, but Moy, a native of San Diego, is also visiting the city of Nashville for the first time.
“I didn’t really know anybody coming into camp – to have someone to talk to coming into it – to kind of get an idea of what to expect, that made it a little easier on me,” Moy said. “It’s nice to have that ‘big brother’ to look up to and show me the ropes.”
While Vesey and Moy come into this week’s Development Camp at different parts of their journeys to the NHL, both are coming off a season of successes with the Crimson.
After starting the season with points in 21 consecutive games, Vesey went on to lead the NCAA in goals (32) and take home ECAC Hockey and Ivy League Player of the Year honors. The 22-year-old also earned a spot as an East CCM First Team All-American and was named one of three Hobey Baker Hat Trick Finalists. In May, the North Reading, Mass., native was added to Team USA for the IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic.
“He (Vesey) is the type of player that when you put him in big situations, he’s going to come through,” Moy said. “You can attribute that to his confidence level and obviously his skill. His sight is unbelievable, and he’s got one of the best shots I’ve ever seen, it’s fun to watch him play.”
In a front-row seat for Vesey’s banner season, Moy was in the midst of his own season of successes that culminated in being awarded the Donald Angier Trophy as Harvard’s most improved player.
“The summer after my freshman year, I really tried focusing on [specific areas to work on],” Moy said. “I worked on my skating, I worked on my shot a lot; I really wanted to play a bigger role on the team.”
In his sophomore season, Moy finished with 27 points (12g-15a) in 37 games played, good enough for fourth on the team, a 17-point jump from his freshman year.
“I was able to get the opportunity to play with some pretty good guys; one of them is here at the camp – Jimmy Vesey – and whenever you get to play with people like that it’s a really great honor and a huge opportunity for a person like me,” Moy said. “I think it was both me working on my skills over the summer, trying to continue to develop over the year and playing with really good players. I’m happy it worked out the way it did, and I’m happy to be here.”
Moy’s improvements didn’t go overlooked by Vesey, who was excited to bring another Crimson skater into the Nashville fold.
“It’s awesome,” Vesey said. “I was very pleased to see him get drafted, especially by the Preds, and he’s someone that had a breakout last season as well. He worked for everything he’s gotten and, as a teammate, I’m proud of him and it’s good to see his hard work paying off.”
While knowing Vesey was helpful as he prepared for his first Preds Development Camp, Moy has been quick to start gaining an understanding of what the city of Nashville – and the Nashville Predators hockey team – is all about.
“I think I understand where Nashville is coming from, in the sense that, I don’t come from a town where there’s a lot of hockey,” Moy said. “It’s nice to see that Nashville presents a great opportunity to grow the game, and I’m happy to be a part of that. I’m trying to be an ambassador for spreading hockey – because I think it’s the best sport in the world. I think it’s a really awesome opportunity to be in Nashville and to be drafted by a team like the Predators.”