This article is part of the 2022-2023 printed “Hockey Edition” that will be available on campus Friday, Sept. 30 and at both men’s and women’s opening nights. Be sure to get your copy!
Whether he’s recording stats, picking up pizza at T Anthony’s, perfecting the warm-up mix, or suiting up and stepping in, graduate goaltender Patrick Schena has done it all. And while most Terriers have followed a pretty traditional path to the locker room at Agganis Arena, Schena’s was anything but ordinary.
Despite being a Massachusetts native, Schena started his hockey career while he was living in New Jersey and spent his early years playing for youth local teams. After a few years in New Jersey, he and his family moved back to Massachusetts, where the goaltender began to take his hockey future more seriously, playing at Andover High School and Central Catholic High School, before tacking on a post-grad year at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire.
While at Exeter, Schena was recruited to play football at Stevenson University. After a year at Stevenson, he transferred to Wesleyan University where he played both football and hockey.
“Eighth grade was my first year playing football,” the graduate student said. “I honestly just did it to get in shape, for hockey.”
From Wesleyan, Schena continued his move up north to the University of New England where he found his home at the rink. Schena spent his junior and senior years playing for the Nor’easters in the midst of a pandemic and knew that he wanted to play another year. Thanks to the NCAA Covid eligibility rule, he could.
“My senior year was kind of a wash. I wanted to get another good year of hockey in before I kind of called it quits or like until the game told me I had to stop playing,” Schena said.
For Schena, longtime goalie coach and mentor Brian Daccord was the key to that extra year of playing. Daccord, President of Stop It Goaltending, has a long history of goalie coaching. He worked in goaltending operations, scouting and development, and coaching for several NHL squads including the Arizona Coyotes, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and home team Boston Bruins. He began working as the goaltending coach of BU Men’s Hockey most recently.
Daccord, who had coached Schena for 13 years, was quick to offer him a position in the Terrier locker room.
“He knew I wanted to keep playing and he ended up getting one of the coaching jobs here at BU that summer,” Schena explained. “He asked me if I’d be interested in coming in and helping the team, mostly working for the video coach and working for him.”
When the 21-22 season began, Schena would travel to away games with the team to help with all things goalie-statistics related. In his analytics role, he was responsible for recording scoring chances, shot types, goals against, and goal expectancy for and against the team and opponents. From there, he compiled the end-of-year report, something that he believes takes the subjectivity out of the game.
“You can make judgments and the numbers can back it up. Or if you thought something and the numbers suggested otherwise, it’s like, these numbers don’t lie. This is what happened. It definitely gives a little bit more perspective into what’s actually going on.”
What Schena wasn’t expecting though, was a season-ending injury for teammate Ashton Abel. Because the NCAA expects teams to dress three goaltenders in each game, Schena was called in to fill the role as the third goalie at practice. He then found a consistent spot in the locker room in early 2022 thanks to lots of international play for junior and starting goaltender Drew Commesso.
“When Drew [Commesso] left for the world juniors last year, there was probably a good two weeks span where I was practicing with the team a lot,” he recalled. “Then he went to the Olympics, really happy for him, and it allowed me to continue practicing for a little bit longer, which I was super pumped about.”
His time on the ice didn’t just end there. In May, the stars aligned when the coaching staff reached out to Schena to tell him that he still had an extra year of eligibility and that there was an open spot on the roster. In a quick turnaround, Schena sorted out his medical eligibility and was able to officially join the team for the 2022-23 season.
Schena has worn a lot of hats when it comes to Terrier Hockey, but the rostered goalie helmet is the one he’s most excited to put on.
“There are a lot of great changes that have been made… We have pretty high expectations for ourselves. And I’m excited to see what we can do as a group this year.”