Class Reunion

Yale Trio Continues Proud Tradition Of Bulldogs On Olympic Ice

GANGNEUNG, South Korea – College reunions are usually reserved for special occasions, like a graduation anniversary, and are typically held close to campus. Three members of the U.S. Men’s Team are enjoying their own reunion of sorts, but it’s not taking place near the New Haven, Conn., campus where they first met.

For three former Yale University hockey players, Mark Arcobello, Broc Little and Brian O’Neill, they are together again half way around the world and are enjoying every minute of it.


“We had a lot of success in college, and I played on a line with those guys at times. We’re rooming together here in Gangneung,” said Broc Little, the first Arizona native to play on the U.S. Men’s Hockey Team.


“It’s kind of like riding a bike, you get back in the room with the guys and the same jokes are still going. It’s cool playing with those guys.”


To make it even sweeter, they are joined by their former coach Keith Allain, who is the goaltending coach with the U.S. squad.


“When they walk out the door you never think you’re going to have a chance to coach them again,” Allain told the New England Hockey Journal. “I do see them every summer … but to actually be in the locker room with them, and be on the ice with them in practice, was really, really special. I think we’d all like to do it one more time.”


While they all entered the Ivy-covered walls of Yale’s campus a year apart, they enjoyed several years together, and helped the Bulldogs to an East Coast Athletic Conference title in 2009 and an Ivy League crown in 2009 and 2010. They have stayed in touch over the years and have even trained together in the summers back home. The U.S. coaching staff is hoping the chemistry they developed playing at Ingalls Rink will carry over to the Olympic ice.


“When I see Mark or when I see Broc I know exactly what to expect,” said O’Neill, who scored the first goal of the tournament for the U.S.


“It helps you feel comfortable in a high-pressure situation and I think that will bode well for all of us because in a situation like this you want to be as comfortable as possible and as quick as possible. I think that’s the biggest benefit of being together on the ice.”


When Jim Johannson put this team together, all three had the attributes he was looking for to compete on the big ice. Each of them can flat out fly, and being Ivy Leaguers they have a head for more than just the game. So far, they’ve shown that here. O’Neill and Little are paired up on a line with fellow flyer Garrett Roe, while Arcobello is bookended by talented collegians Troy Terry and Ryan Donato.


“We all know how each other plays so well, we went to school together for three years and we’re all similar players to the way we were back then,” Little said. “That can definitely help. Any time you have a little bit of chemistry and know how a guy plays you can use that to your advantage.


While it would be fun to reunite with his fellow Bulldogs, Arcobello is enjoying his role mentoring future NHL stars.


“I like those players. They have a lot of skill and are going to have some really good NHL careers,” Arcobello said. “Terry has that good vision and can really pass the puck and find those seams. And Ryan, he pretty much has every tool. He has size, speed, skill and he can shoot the puck. So, I’m really excited to play with those guys.”


While Yale players have historically earned spots on previous U.S. Olympic Teams, this collection of players is the most since six Bulldogs represented the U.S. at the 1932 Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y.


And while John Bent, John Cookman, Franklin Farrell III, Bob Livingston, Francis Nelson and Winthrop Palmer never became household names in the game, they did help the U.S. win a silver medal.


Now three more members of that Yale fraternity have their chance to bring home a medal and be the toast of the town, and the country.


“To be on this team is really special,” Arcobello said. “It’s special in its own right because it’s the Olympics, but to share it with those guys is even better.”

Live from the 2018 Olympics:

2/21 | Slater Is Father Timeless

2/21 | Amanda Kessel's Journey Back To The Olympic Stage

2/18 | Yale Trio Reunite On Olympic Ice

2/16 | T.J. Oshie Still in Spotlight

2/15 | North Carolina Native Playing For Korean Team

2/13 | Take Five With Dani Cameranesi

2/13 | U.S. Men's Team Likes Its Chances

2/12 | Phone A Friend

2/11 | Men's Team Young & Old

2/11 | Take 5 With Brian Gionta 

2/10 | Heavy Hearts 

2/10 | Take 5 With Sidney Morin 

2/9 | Take 5 With Ryan Stoa


Follow USA Hockey Magazine as it chronicles the march to gold for the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Hockey Teams. USA Hockey Magazine editor Harry Thompson is in PyeongChang, South Korea to provide daily news, features and interviews from the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

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