Mark Milley Reflects On His Time At Princeton

Mark Milley stood inside the Tampa Theater, a 90-year-old building with small velvet seats and an overhanging balcony. He smiled on the stage in front of a starry sky and a cardboard cutout of a castle, accepting his Lou Lamoriello Award. Medals filled the left side of his chest, denoting his status as the country’s Army General, a montage of red, green and blue. He’s formidable in stature with grey hair contrasting against his dark jacket line with gold rims on the sleeves and shoulders.

The award, honoring a college hockey alumnus with a distinguished professional path, was presented just before the Hobey Baker Award. Like Hobey Baker, Milley too had played college hockey at Princeton.

But after accepting his award, after posing for photos and engaging with fans, the Army General stopped to speak to a child the quarter of his size. Milley jested, telling the kid – a Minnesota native – that if he wanted to play hockey, he’d have to move to Boston.

The city on the Charles was close to where Milley himself, a Winchester, Mass., native playing prep school hockey at Belmont Hill, started. When time for college arrived, Milley remained on the East Coast and took the five-hour trip south to Princeton.

Milley had applied to different schools, but the old Ivy League college – with grey stone buildings, its campus locked in time and historic rink that paid homage to the greatest player in college hockey – enchanted Milley.
“I liked Princeton the best and felt like there was a certain chemistry there and a certain chemistry with the coach and the hockey team, so I picked Princeton,” Milley said. “It was great and I never looked back. It was wonderful.”

While he dressed in black and orange, Milley skated on the same ice with and against bogeomeths of college hockey – from the powerhouse BU teams driven by Mike Eruzione to Clarkson’s Dave Taylor.

“All that 1980 Olympic hockey that came from the East, I played against all those guys,” Milley said.
While a Tiger, Milley played with current writer and producer David E. Kelley. Kelley worked on a range of shows including The Practice, Ally McBeal and Boston Legal. In 2014, Kelley was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.

“He’s done very, very well, been very successful in Hollywood,” Milley said. “He was always an extraordinarily disciplined guy, always did his homework sort of thing and as I understand it, he writes all his own scripts and works very hard and very, very disciplined. So more power to him and I’m really happy for him.”

The 1980 Princeton graduate has returned to Princeton, whether speaking at the school, attending reunions or commissioning the school’s ROTC.

“The army is a team organization. It’s very team oriented because you don’t accomplish anything in the military by yourself, whether it’s in combat or in training,” Milley said. “It’s always operating as a team, or team of teams, so the teamwork of team sports has direct applicability to service in the army. I think that’s one thing I think that you draw from my time at not only at Princeton but all the team sports I’ve played on over the years.”

Milley was named the 39th Army General of the United States on August 14, 2015. The former hockey player dedicated over the last 30 years of his life to the army, serving the country in various capacities. Milley, commanded the Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. (check this), also served in Afghanistan and commanded FORSCOM – the army’s largest command.

Both his parents served in World War II, his mother with the Navy and father with the Marines.

“The other thing from a different angle, not from athletics, but at Princeton they always emphasize critical thinking,” Milley said. “[It’s] not so much what to think, but how to think. And that’s always stayed with me as well. It’s the critical thinking skills that can be applied not only in the military, but in government, in the commercial sector, no matter what walk of life you choose to do.”

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Getting To Know the Freshmen Tigers: Liam Grande

Liam GrandeFor the past three seasons, Liam Grande skated for the Cobourg Cougars of the OJHL, overlapping with Princeton sophomore Alex Riche. While Grande only appeared in 27 games last season, he averaged over a point per game and recorded 28 points in 27 games. He netted a career-high 59 points last season and finished his career with 126 points.

Eye On The Tigers spoke with Grande to see what the incoming freshman had to say:

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Why did you choose Princeton University?

I chose Princeton University because it was the best fit for me both academically and from a hockey perspective. The academic side of what Princeton has to offer is diverse and impressive. When I visited the campus it was awesome, everything from the grounds to the arena. The hockey program most suited me in terms of coaching and an ability to take my game to the next level.

What are you most looking forward to?

I am most looking forward to starting my university career. I graduated from high school two years ago and have since been playing junior hockey and working so I’m really excited to get back into the classroom and to get on the ice.

When did you get into hockey? What’s your earliest memory?

I started into hockey when I was about four or five years old but I have been skating since age three. My earliest memory of hockey is playing for the San Jose Sharks in my first year of house league in my home town. From the first time I stepped onto the ice with my hockey stick, I knew I would love the game of hockey. I have never looked back!

What NHL team did you grow up rooting for and why?

I grew up rooting for the Toronto Maple Leafs for two reasons. First, both my parents loved the Leafs, as well as my grandparents on both sides. I come from a long line of staunch Maple Leafs supporters and growing up that was the only team on the T.V. Saturday night. Secondly, my favourite hockey player of all was Mats Sundin, who was of course captain.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in hockey?

The biggest challenge I have faced in hockey is dealing with injury that comes hand in hand with playing the game at a high level of intensity. Hockey is a rough sport and undoubtably has gotten rougher as I have moved through more demanding and talented leagues. Dealing with injury from the sideline can be challenging and frustrating, but overcoming these challenges makes you stronger as a hockey player and as a person. Keeping strong and healthy and motivated is at the centre of my game.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen when playing hockey?

The strangest thing I ever saw while playing hockey was when I was very young with my hockey team in Ottawa for a tournament. We were playing in the quarterfinals and were in the second period when the fire alarm in the building went off. We were all forced outside of the arena and the game was delayed. Ottawa had just had a major ice storm and the parking lot and surrounding grounds were a sheet of ice. We were all in our hockey equipment and skates so we started skating outside for fun. Eventually we were allowed to go back inside to continue to play but the sprinkler system had gone off over the ice surface and had frozen over. In our opponent’s end there was a massive hill of ice right in front of their goalie’s net and it took the arena staff an hour to chip away the ice and prep the surface. From start to finish that game must have lasted 4 hours – the longest game I have ever played. I don’t even remember the final score – I just remember what a crazy afternoon hockey game that was!!!

Who’s the most influential person in your hockey career?

Most influential person in my hockey career? My parents for sure. Neither of my parents played hockey but they both loved watching the game (big Leafs fans remember). Right from an early age they put me in power skating and skill development programs. It hasn’t stopped. They continue to be my biggest supporters in every aspect of my life. The amount of time and money they have invested in not just me but also my two brothers is crazy. They are, hands down, the most influential people in my hockey career. I wouldn’t be were I am now without them.

What’s the most exciting experience you’ve ever had?

From an early age my life has revolved around hockey and school so it makes sense that one of the greatest experiences I’ve had would be a hockey one. In my midget year we went to the OHF’s (provincial championships) and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Even though we lost in overtime in the finals, it was a great journey for me personally and for a great group of young men who skated beside me. The road getting there was tough. We had a really close team and supportive coaches and parents. Getting the opportunity to play for a provincial championship with all the pressure and excitement was a memorable experience.

What do you plan on majoring in/what are your academic interests?

My academic interests are math, finance and science. Right now my plan is to major in economics. There is so much offered at Princeton that I hope to seek out other options as well. The plan is to take advantage of all the school has to offer.

What do you hope your legacy at Princeton University will be?

To win a national championship is the goal. I want to leave Princeton with the jersey in a better place than when I got there.

Previous Q&A: Jordan Fogarty | Derek Topatigh | Joey Fallon

See also: Princeton announces 2016-17 incoming freshmen

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Getting To Know the Freshmen Tigers: Jackson Cressey

Jackson CresseyAs the captain of the Coquitlam Express last season, Jackson Cressey recorded a career-high 71 points despite missing several games due to injury. He played in 56 contests last season and scored a career-high 34 goals. He finished his career with the Express with 128 points across 198 games.

Eye On The Tigers caught up with Cressey to see what the incoming freshman had to say:

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Why did you choose Princeton University?

I chose Princeton because the opportunity to attend one of the best schools and be a part of a great hockey program has always been a dream of mine and impossible to give up.

What are you most looking forward to?

I am most looking forward to meeting the rest of the guys and opening night against Michigan State.

When did you get into hockey? What’s your earliest memory?

I got into hockey I believe around three. My earliest hockey memory was my uncle giving me my first road hockey stick

What NHL team did you grow up rooting for and why?

Vancouver Canucks as they are my hometown team.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in hockey?

My biggest challenge was trying to stay positive and be opportunistic when I was struggling to get ice time my first year in junior.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen when playing hockey?

The strangest thing I’ve ever seen while playing hockey was a bench brawl we had down in Las Vegas during an Atom tournament.

Who’s the most influential person in your hockey career?

My Junior coach Barry Wolff has probably been the most influential. He put a lot of trust and confidence in me [and] gave me the opportunity to attend a school like Princeton

What’s the most exciting experience you’ve ever had?

Attending game 7 of the Stanley Cup final in Vancouver was the most exciting experience.

What do you plan on majoring in/what are your academic interests?

I plan on majoring in Operations Research and Financial Engineering.

What do you hope your legacy at Princeton University will be?

I hope to be remembered as hard-working and dependable on and off the ice when I leave Princeton.

Previous Q&A: Jordan Fogarty | Derek Topatigh | Joey Fallon | Jeremy Germain

See also: Princeton announces 2016-17 incoming freshmen

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Getting To Know the Freshmen Tigers: Jeremy Germain

Jeremy Germain

Jeremy Germain spent the 2015-16 season with Chilliwack of the BCHL. Through 76 games he posted 48 points. Prior to playing for the Chiefs, Germain played for the CT Wolf Pack after concluding his playing career at Choate Rosemary Hall.

Eye On The Tigers caught up with Germain to see what the incoming freshman had to say:

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Why did you choose Princeton University?

I chose Princeton because it is exceptional in both academics and athletics. I also fell in love with the school after playing in the Lawrenceville Tournament every year with Choate.

What are you most looking forward to?

I am looking forward to spending a lot of time in probably the most historic rink in the NCAA, and meeting new, exceptional people from all over the world.

When did you get into hockey? What’s your earliest memory?

I got into hockey when I was around three or four, my earliest memory being a learn to skate practice at the Northford Ice Pavilion near my house.

What NHL team did you grow up rooting for and why?

I grew up liking the Blues because of Chris Pronger, but now I don’t really have a favorite team.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in hockey?

I fractured my leg when I was 13, which took about a year to get back up to game speed and fully recover from.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen when playing hockey?

There’s a lot but a personal one that comes to mind is when I shot the puck over the net, it hit the glass and came back over the net, hit the goalies back and went in. Also once in mites (about six-eight years old) a kid on the other team skated from his bench and gave our fans the middle finger.

Who’s the most influential person in your hockey career?

I have two big hockey influences in my dad and my grandfather, both of whom were at virtually every practice and game for the first 15 years of my life, and who both played professional hockey, my dad being a defenseman and my grandfather a goalie.

What’s the most exciting experience you’ve ever had?

When my dad and I visited my sister in Bangkok and got to explore both the city and the Thai countryside.

What do you plan on majoring in/what are your academic interests?

I plan on majoring in Economics, but I like History and English as well.

What do you hope your legacy at Princeton University will be?

I hope to leave the hockey program in great shape by the time I graduate and to take advantage of as many of Princeton’s academic opportunities as I can.

Previous Q&A: Jordan Fogarty | Derek Topatigh | Joey Fallon

See also: Princeton announces 2016-17 incoming freshmen

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