Born to Be a Bobcat

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Born to Be a Bobcat

Photo: Quinnipiac Athletics

Photo: Quinnipiac Athletics

Photo: Quinnipiac Athletics

Photo: Quinnipiac Athletics

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Freshman ice hockey player Joe O’Connor is living the life athletes could only dream of: playing for the team they grew up watching. Born and raised right in Hamden, Connecticut, O’Connor and his family have Quinnipiac hockey in their DNA.

His father, Brian, was raised in Hamden and went on to be drafted by the St. Louis Blues. His grandfather, Ralph, coached the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team from 1978 to 1980. From there on out, Joe and his family have been rooting for the Bobcats.

“We had season tickets,” O’Connor said. “I went to every game, it was awesome.”

Having a father who was able to successfully build off his college career and a grandfather that had an impact on the foundations of Quinnipiac hockey helped O’Connor find his game.

“Especially now coming back and playing here, there’s definitely a lot of pressure,” O’Connor said, who claims the pressure helps him become a better player. He describes his father as “a tough guy,” and recalled that “he played a huge role” in his early development as a player.

After playing in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, O’Connor decided it was time to come back to Hamden.

It’s a great place to play. I was living in Alberta for the past 2 years, so I thought I’d just come home. It’s a pretty nice campus and a pretty nice rink, as well.”

O’Connor observed that his time with the Bobcats has been just as he’d imagined it while growing up.

“Everything is first-class here,” he added. “The coaches are awesome; all the guys are awesome.”

Knowing that his family is always close by to support his team doesn’t hurt either.

“Being out there in Alberta you have just your billet family and a couple of friends. Here I have my hockey friends, all my friends from home, and my family. So it’s pretty cool and it’s kind of nice as well.”

Joe hopes to bring more success to the O’Connor name during his career here at Quinnipiac. Just as he put it: “It’s the whole O’Connor family here,” and he intends on keeping it that way.