Jared Fiegl with Cornell University (photo courtesy of Cornell University Athletic Department)
Jared Fiegl is one puck drop away from 100 college games.
He could have hit the milestone this past weekend, when the Big Red split a weekend series with Miami, but the senior forward from Cornell stayed in Ithaca — the first time he hasn’t traveled with the team — due to a shoulder injury.
Cornell, with a 10-2 overall record this year, has a three-week break before their next matchup against Canisius College on Dec. 30 — the perfect amount of time for Fiegl to rest up and get back on the ice for the big game.
A 2014 NHL Entry Draft Arizona Coyotes draft pick, Fiegl has scored four goals and six assists during his time at Cornell, with one of those assists coming at the Red Hot Hockey Event at Madison Square Garden against Boston University. Though he wouldn’t characterize himself as a goal scorer, Fiegl’s goals have come at opportune times, with one opening scoring for Cornell during his junior season in a win against No. 18 Princeton for a 4-2 comeback.
Every year, Fiegl’s game output has increased, going from 26 his freshman year — the most of any freshman on the roster — to all 35 games at center his junior year. Because of this, his teammates voted him the Iron Man Award, an honor given to the player that perseveres through the most in a season.
“When your teammates are voting for you and you get an award, that’s even more special because that’s when you know your teammates respect you as a person which is huge to me,” Fiegl said. “To be respected from the guys on this team and to get that award was kind of like a momento that these guys do respect the things that I do.”
Before Cornell, Fiegl played for the Under-16 Colorado Rampage team from his hometown in Parker, Colorado. After two years there, he made the 1,111-mile trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan, in order to play for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program during his junior and senior years of high school. With his parents and two brothers stationed in Colorado, he stayed with a host family in order to play for the NTDP.
“That was crazy,” Fiegl said. “You just get dropped off on someone’s porch and you’re just living there for two years. I don’t even know how to describe it. And I mean, obviously as time went on it became a super comfortable experience. The family was awesome, I still keep in touch with them today.
“They were part of my life for two years, every night we played mini hockey sticks — they had three younger kids themselves. When I was there it was 8, 10, and 12 year old kids, so when I was there it was right up their alley, playing mini hockey sticks every night or just watching movies. So it was a really good experience once you get to know them and get a bit more comfortable. It felt like home.”
Jared Fiegl with Team USA in 2013-14 (Photo by USA Hockey)
While with the NTDP, Fiegl played in 101 games throughout the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.
When with the U17s, Fiegl recorded eight goals and nine assists for a 17-point season and was a member of the 2013 Under-17 Four Nations Tournament championship team.
During the 2013-14 season, he scored two goals and four assists and was a member of the gold medal U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team at the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Under-18 Men’s World Championship in Finland.
As it turns out, though, the 2013-14 season was a little more tumultuous than it may seem. Following a coaching change at the University of Denver in-season, Fiegl re-evaluated his college commitment.
Luckily Ryan Bliss, another NTDP alum from the 2013-14 season, urged Fiegl to take a look at Cornell where he had already committed, and Fiegl couldn’t have appreciated the program more.
“I think hands down it’s the best program in college hockey in terms of an honest, hard working, blue collar, get-things-done kind of team,” Fiegl said. “I don’t know how other teams are, but we have the most team-oriented program that I’ve heard of, where everything is focused on being the best team on and off the ice ... It holds being a teammate a priority over some other aspects which is huge to me.”
Now, Fiegl is looking to make the most of his final season with the Big Red as an alternate captain and can’t wait to get back on the ice with his teammates as soon as possible.
After all, 100 is waiting.