May 27, 2020

Wolf Pack captain Steven Fogarty talks with us on hockey and NHL return to play

Fogarty (Wolf Pack)

I know this quarantine series is focused on prospects, but I always wanted to dive into Steven Fogarty’s history and when I reached out to him, he was happy to contribute. So, we discussed his childhood, college career, how it prepared him for pro hockey and his ultimate goal. The Captain of the Wolf Pack also dives into the NHL return to play news.

Born in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Steven Fogarty had a tumultuous start to his life moving around a lot. With his dad relocated for the US army, a 1-year old Fogarty ended up in Cairo, Egypt. It is an interesting destination for an American kid to say the least.

After a short stop in New Jersey, the Fogarty family settled down in Edina, Minnesota where Steven started playing hockey at age 5 at a rink they had down the block. “Didn’t travel a ton, in Minnesota you play for your city association, so mostly local. Played a few summers on different traveling teams and did the usual trips up to Canada every once in a while“, talking about his first years on the ice. He played for Edina High in the USHS winning the section championship with his school several times. He played for the Chicago Steel in the USHL for a couple games before attending the NHL draft in 2011.

Draft and college

Fogarty was lucky that the draft was close to home, in St. Paul, Minnesota, and he was able to attend. Before the draft he spoke to several teams, the Rangers being one of them. “I Had no idea I’d even have a chance being drafted a year prior. I knew NYR was one of the teams I had talked to a few times, and was the one team I was hoping would draft me“, Fogarty continued on that weekend in 2011. He had already committed to the Penticton Vees in the BCHL and Notre Dame for the 2012-13 season. It gave the Rangers the rare opportunity to own a player’s rights for 5 years unlike the usual 4, for college players. Being drafted was a dream come true, as it is for everyone. He didn’t even plan on attending the draft at first, but his dad convinced him to go and by doing so, he was able to put on the jersey and be part of the draft.

After a year in the BCHL (where he played with a 14-year old Ryan Gropp), Fogarty switched to college and joined Notre Dame. With the Fighting Irish the young center laid the groundwork to what one day would become the entry level contract he’d be offered by the New York Rangers. Being a reliable 2-way center, his focus was never really on scoring but they saw something else in him that would be evident later on in Hartford.

Leadership

His leadership qualities added something to the team. It’s often scoffed at but leadership is something you are born with. It isn’t really something you teach. Fogary played the full 4 years with Notre Dame, the final 2 as their captain, before signing an amateur try out with the Hartford Wolf Pack the day he was offered his entry level contract. “It was a bittersweet couple days having my college career cut short, but do be able to sign with the NYR was a huge day for me and my family“, Fogarty said about the end of the 2015-16 season.

Fogarty is thankful for the opportunities which were given to him. Despite never being able to really break through on the ice as a team, he cherishes the memories of his academic career in Indiana. “Playing for Notre Dame for 4 years was the best time of my life. I Learned so much about me as a person, and was able to really develop as a hockey player as well. Wouldn’t trade it for the world”. It is important to not lose sight of what you have in your quest to chase your dream. Fogarty always knew pro hockey was a goal that needed determination, effort and luck. He eventually made it to the pros, but his college years are something he will remember forever.

Note from the author: This is something I heard from other college players as well. Justin Richards and Patrick Khodorenko praised the comradery of the years in college, and how their experience helped them grow as a person. I grew up in the Netherlands myself, lived in South Africa and now in VIenna, Austria. I never got to experience the US College lifestyle myself so all I have to go on is what I see in movies. These interviews have really opened my eyes as to how much of a cornerstone US colleges and universities represent in society, and it’s totally different from what we have in Europe.

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Pro hockey

In the summer of 2016, Fogarty prepared for his first season of professional hockey. He signed a 2-year entry level contract with the Rangers and played most of the season in Hartford with the AHL affiliate Wolf Pack. Fogarty has had a great relationship with the younger players and captained the team this past season. He is literally the Leader of the Pack. It has given Fogarty the challenge he was looking for. Pro hockey is different and there is a lot of competition. He feels college hockey with Notre Dame has prepared him for the jump.

He was given a shot with the Rangers a few times, and he is thankful for the guidance he had in his earlier seasons from the more experienced guys. “I had some great teammates over the years who have been great to look to for how to handle yourself on the ice and off“. Now, at age 27, Fogarty is praring for his 5th season as a professional hockey player. He is one of the older guys now, and he is the one younger kids look up to. “Being an older guy its been fun watching guys like Chytil or Lindgren come in and really blossom as players and be key players for NYR“.

Fogs, the number 19 and fishing

Fogarty, who is called Fogs by teammates, has never really cared much about a specific number, but when he had the chance, he picked 19. It has no real significance. He just used it as a kid, and stuck with it. Growing up, he was a fan of Alex Ovechkin and Patrice Bergeron. “I try to emulate Patrice Bergeron. His ability to dominate all 200 feet is pretty remarkable. He is always in the Selke trophy contention, and is a great leader on a great team. Seems like everyone in the league respects him as a person and player“.

Bergeron is a player that has been mentioned by 3 players I spoke to now this lockdown. Richards and Khodorenko see him as the one they try to model their game after. And while it’s almost impossible to get to the same level as Bergeron, emulating the style of play is a great way to push yourself to new heights. Outside hockey, Fogarty likes to go fishing and play golf with his family and friends. “I have a cabin in Northern Minnesota and I love hanging out there with the people closest to me”, Fogarty said.

Return to Play

The pandemic has affected life for Fogarty, as it has for all of us. It didn’t really sink in until shops closed and hockey was cancelled. “Especially as far as the hockey season goes, staying in shape as if the season resumes, but also not being able to skate. I am now starting to get into a routine as far as working out and taking care of my body so I am ready if we get the call to resume“, he continued. With the NHL season picking up soon, there is a chance he is called up to the team as there is no roster limit in the play offs. He has been spending time with his family, and trying to get as many workouts in as he can, but it’s tough to deal with the unknown.

Time will tell what happens next, but Fogarty, who is an unrestricted free agent after this season would be valuable to a young Wolf Pack team going forward.

Note from the author: I would like to thank Steven Fogarty for taking the time to sit down with me.

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