NHL Players Combining Skills and Smarts

NHLPAContributor IIIApril 3, 2012

NHL Players Combining Skills and Smarts

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    Think hockey players are all brawn and no brains? Well, think again. There are many players who not only possess incredible hockey skills, allowing them to make a great pass or anticipate an upcoming play but also have the book smarts to be equally creative off the ice.

    Find out whose academic scores are off the charts and what makes each player so darn smart.

Dominic Moore – Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Harvard University – 2003

    Dominic Moore has made a name for himself as a gritty, effective two-way forward who is willing to do anything for his teammates. Now with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Moore has been a key player on the Southeast Division-leading team by using his hockey smarts in important situations. He must have picked that up at Harvard University. Moore graduated in 2003 after leading the Crimson to two NCAA titles. He even got to play with his brothers Mark and Steve in 1999-2000.

Shawn Horcoff – Edmonton Oilers

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    Michigan State University – 2000
    Mathematics and Finance Majors

    As impressive as it is for Dominic Moore to have a degree from Princeton, Edmonton Oilers centre Shawn Horcoff's academic CV is equally impressive. Horcoff studied math and finance at Michigan State University, receiving his degree in 2000, while starring for the Spartans. It’s all those smarts that probably played into management’s decision to name the Trail, B.C. native the 13th captain in team history in October 2010.

Matt Moulson – New York Islanders

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    Cornell University – 2006

    In only his third second season with the New York Islanders, winger Matt Moulson has turned into quite the prolific goal scorer. In his first full NHL season in 2009-10, Moulson netted 30 goals and followed that up with 31 in 2010-11. Showing true consistency, he's already tallied 29 through March 12 this year. But the Mississauga, Ont., native wasn’t always a known commodity. He got his start at Cornell University, where he was team captain and eventually earned his degree in 2006.

Darroll Powe – San Jose Sharks

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    Princeton University – 2007 Sociology Major

    A relentless forechecker and an excellent penalty killer, San Jose Sharks' winger Darroll Powe is the type of player any contending team needs in order to challenge for the Stanley Cup. Powe has the ability to make intelligent, sound decisions by studying the tendencies of his opponents—assets that could play a role in a long playoff run for the Sharks this spring. The Saskatoon, Sask., native has a degree in sociology at Princeton University and was captain of his team in his senior year.

Craig Adams – Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Harvard University – 1999

    Craig Adams is a valuable asset wherever he plays. He has used his skills in the face-off circle and on the penalty kill to be a key contributor to two Stanley Cup-winning teams—the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes and 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins. Combined with this, Craig is also not afraid to mix it up either. Originally selected by the Hartford Whalers 223rd overall in 1996 while attending Harvard University, Adams eventually graduated from the Ivy League school in 1999.

Kevin Westgarth – Los Angeles Kings

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    Princeton University – 2007

    Kevin Westgarth is one of hockey’s toughest customers. Anyone who follows the Kings or has laced up the blades against Kevin can vouch for that. He is a player who understands his role with the Kings and is effective at doing his job. Judging by his 18 fighting majors in the past two seasons with the Los Angeles Kings, Westgarth is quite adept at standing up for his teammates in all situations. Along with his tough-guy abilities though, Kevin is one of the the more academic players away from the rink, having graduated from Princeton University in 2007.

Tanner Glass – Winnipeg Jets

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    Dartmouth College – 2007

    Winnipeg Jets' winger Tanner Glass is known for his ability to dish out big hits on the forecheck, as well as contribute offensively from time to time on a dynamic Jets team. But Glass is as smart as he is tough graduating from Ivy League’s Dartmouth College in 2007.

Mathieu Darche – Montreal Canadiens

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    McGill University – 2000 Commence Major (Marketing and International Business)

    It looks like Mathieu Darche has made it big. Since joining the professional ranks in 2000, the St. Laurent, Que. native has played in 250 NHL games for five different teams. He now seems to have found a spot at home. The left-winger is back in Montreal—where he once starred with the McGill Redmen – and has 48 points in almost three seasons with the Canadiens. While at McGill, Darche managed to tally an impressive 62 points in just 26 games during his final season. But for all hi success on the ice, he may have actually performed even better in the classroom. There, Darche earned a commence degree in marketing and international business.

Joel Ward – Washington Capitals

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    University of Prince Edward Island – 2005 Sociology Major

    When Joel Ward wasn’t drafted out of the Ontario Hockey League, he had to adjust his approach to fulfilling his professional hockey dreams. Knowing this, the North York, Ont., native went to the University of Prince Edward Island, earned his sociology degree and was a standout on the ice. He was the Panthers’ rookie of the year and then followed that up with three consecutive team MVP awards, averaging over a point per game in every season on the Island. After playing with the Minnesota Wild and the Nashville Predators, the right-winger is now an important cog in the Capitals' wheel.

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