For four years, Mark Fusco was the face of Harvard University ice hockey. He rewrote the record books, won championships and garnered just about every imaginable award.
In short, Fusco claimed his place in the long and storied history of Crimson hockey.
As a senior, the Burlington, Mass., native led his team to a second-place finish at the NCAA championship tournament in 1983, and skated off the ice as the first player from Harvard to receive the Hobey Baker Award, a perfect cap to an incredible college career. Fusco finished the 1983 season with his third MVP recognition and with the most points by a defensemen in a single season with 46.
More than two decades later, Fusco still holds two records that have yet to be broken – most career goals by a defensemen (44) and most career points by a defensemen (135). His play was unmatched by many as he shined on the ice, pulling in three MVP recognitions in consecutive years, and earning three first team All-American bids.
“I learned a lot in college,” Fusco said. “Bill Cleary [Harvard’s coach] was a double Olympian and [gold] medal winner and taught me a lot and encouraged me to consider international and Olympic competition as a path.
“And that was Part B. I pushed off joining the NHL to play on an Olympic team. I got to wear an American jersey and compete for the county. I was with a group of guys that were there for a common purpose. It’s different than playing club, it’s is a nationalistic event.”
After the 1884 Olympic Winter Games, Fusco decided to give the NHL a shot and signed with the Hartford Whalers as a free agent. Fusco retired after two seasons with the Whalers and one more competition with the U.S. National Team in 1985. He returned to Harvard and earned a business degree in 1990.
Currently, Fusco is partaking in a different kind of competition, as the president and CEO of Aspen Technology, the largest supplier of software to oil, gas and chemical companies in the world.
However, Fusco can still be found on the ice. He traveled to Quebec City in May 2008 and played with some former teammates.
Fusco’s career was permanently fixed in history with his induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002.
A Change Of Heart, Country For Trottier
Over the course of his Hall of Fame career, Bryan Trottier was known as one of the best two-way players in the game.
In 1984, it was Trottier’s decision to become a two-way international player that caused quite a stir at that summer’s Canada Cup tournament.
Undaunted by heavy criticism from fellow Canadians, Trottier chose to play for Team USA in the 1984 Canada Cup tournament, after playing for Team Canada in 1981.
Trottier made the decision, he said at the time, because he wanted to pay back the country in which he lived, and because his wife was American.
A native of Val Marie, Saskatch-ewan, Trottier was able to obtain the necessary U.S. citizenship just prior to the start of the tournament because of his Native American ancestry, which entitled him to citizenship in the U.S. and Canada, as well as a U.S. passport, which was all he needed for tournament eligibility.
That was good enough for American head coach Bob Johnson.
Trottier’s presence provided a boost to a much-improved U.S. team that included Chris Chelios, Phil Housley, Bob Carpenter, Tom Barrasso and Joe Mullen. The team finished with an impressive 3-2-1 record that secured them a fourth-place finish.
Despite being booed mercilessly by Canadian fans, Trottier was among the scoring leaders for the U.S. with two goals and three assists in six games.
Where Are They Now?
1972 U.S. Olympian
One of the most colorful stories among the great cast of characters on the U.S. squad that won a silver medal at the 1972 Olympic Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan was Stu Irving, who was plucked from the jungles of Vietnam to play for his country.
Soon after helping the U.S. to a silver medal, Irving signed a contract with the Minnesota North Stars. He played 11 years before retiring in 1982 and embarking on a long coaching career.
For 20 years, Irving served as an assistant coach at Merrimack College where he was part of a program that captured three straight ECAC East crowns.
In 2007, he took over the reins of the Valley Jr. Warriors Junior B team of the Empire Hockey League.
“What I give to the Jr. players, is the insight of knowing what it takes to make it to a college program,” said Irving. “This is my second year in the Jr. program. I’m having fun watching these younger kids develop.”