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The Syracuse Crunch goes to Hogwarts

....I mean, not really. But what if they did?

I’m imagining that Carter Verhaeghe is humming “Hedwig’s Theme” here.

I have a couple of party tricks that I like to pull out from time to time. One of them is reciting the Greek alphabet, which I memorized in 6th grade for extra credit and have never managed to forget. Another is being able to list all 50 states in alphabetical order (according to the Latin one, not the Greek one). Lastly, I am fairly accurate at guessing people’s Hogwarts House, and can usually judge where a person belongs within a few days of knowing them.

For those who might not be aware, Hogwarts is a fictional boarding school for witches and wizards within the Harry Potter universe. Characters who enter the school are sorted by the Sorting Hat into different houses, a system that sets up where in the school students live, who their trusted adults are, who they will be rooting for in sports, and who they will be attending classes with. Students tend to take on their house title like a badge of honor, as something that is both a part of, and helps define, their personalities.

Before you stop reading, I promise there’s a point here. My hope in writing this article is to allow you, the reader, a chance to better get to know the hockey prospects and veterans that play for the Syracuse Crunch in a way that’s a bit more fun and different than usual. Some of these guys could be coming soon to a Tampa Bay Lightning near you, after all.

There are four houses in Hogwarts, each one based on a set of different characteristics. Now, I don’t know any of these guys personally, so I’m basing my judgement calls here on what I see on the ice, what I’ve observed during events, and what I’ve heard others say about them. It’s obviously easier for me to do this when I’m personally acquainted with someone, but this was still a lot of fun and, in some cases, more challenging than I expected.

The four houses are:

  • Hufflepuff. Those in Hufflepuff value hard work, patience, loyalty, and fair play.
  • Gryffindor. Those in Gryffindor value courage, bravery and determination.
  • Slytherin. Those in Slytherin value pride in achievements, ambition, and cunning.
  • Ravenclaw. Those in Ravenclaw value wit, learning, and wisdom.

Some of these traits obviously lean towards the more stereotypical hockey player than others, but some of my discoveries through this little exercise surprised me. In the interest of full disclosure: I have been sorted by Pottermore into Hufflepuff, and I’m damn proud of it. However, I’m fairly certain that those who know me will be able to attest to the lack of bias towards that house, or against another for that matter, within this article.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Gryffindor

Here are my choices for Gryffindor: Andy Andreoff, Michael Bournival, Brady Brassart, Cory Conacher, Boris Katchouk, Hubert Labrie, Dominik Masin, Mitchell Stephens

Stereotypically, Gryffindor tends to be the more physical house. As with most stereotypes, it isn’t always true, and it certainly isn’t true that those in the other houses aren’t physical. But it is because of this stereotype that I put many players who lean on the physical side during play into this house. Conacher, Labrie, Andreoff, and Brassart fit this idea of physical players.

Katchouk strikes me as a rather determined player, as does Masin and Stephens. All of them are fighting different battles for visibility and recognition this season, but they’re fighting mightily. Stephens has been slowed by injuries, but whenever he has been able to play he hasn’t shown much hesitation or fear.

Finally, courage is another aspect of those sorted into Gryffindor. This category alone is why I sorted Bournival into this house. I can’t imagine going through the trials that he has, first with concussions, then with his ACL injury that he needed surgery for this past summer, and now with an assumed shoulder injury that has sidelined him once again. It takes so much courage to face these challenges and keep fighting, and I look forward to Bournival’s return once more.

Slytherin

For Slytherin, I sorted Ross Colton, Gabriel Dumont, Connor Ingram, Taylor Raddysh, and Alexander Volkov into this house.

It could be said that all hockey players have ambition, especially if they’re excelling in the AHL. One doesn’t make it this far in their career without drive, but I think Colton, Raddysh, and Volkov show their Slytherin pride most during play. They take advantage of situations during which they can excel, showing the fans why they’ve made it this far.

Ingram was actually kind of tricky to place. Ultimately, he ended up in Slytherin, mostly because of the amount of pride he takes in his game, his preparation, and his training. For those who know the cannon, he actually reminds me of Albus Severus Potter in a lot of ways.

Finally, I sorted Syracuse’s captain into this house. I do think it could be argued fairly effectively that Dumont is a Gryffindor, but to me, his personality doesn’t speak to the boisterousness that tends to mark that house. There’s also a degree of cunning to everything Dumont does. When he chooses to be physical, he does it for a reason. When he loses his temper over being thrown out of the face off for the millionth time, he gets it back in check pretty quickly. He can be pushed further than one might expect, but one just knows he’s plotting and planning the entire time on how to play the angles if things go too far. His achievements in this league are great, and he’s clearly a born leader. Those reasons are why I placed him here.

Ravenclaw

Those in Ravenclaw: Alex Barre-Boulet, Cal Foote, Cameron Gaunce, Eddie Pasquale, Nolan Valleau, Carter Verhaeghe, and Dennis Yan.

One of the main things I used to sort players into this house was the impressions I have on how they approach the game. Ravenclaws value wit and learning more highly than other houses. They’re great at creating and answering riddles. They tend to spend more time prepping for class, and more time learning and studying outside of class. While all hockey players are “students of the game” in some sense, these guys here seem like they take a bit more joy in learning about and plying their trade.

Barre-Boulet in particular was praised recently by Crunch head coach Ben Groulx about his hockey knowledge and IQ. Foote, Yan, Gaunce, and Valleau play with the air and confidence of players who have studied their position and know how to best use their skills to excel in it. Verhaeghe has studied this organization’s systems and taken advantage of its resources, including Barb Underhill, to improve his game. Pasquale’s mental and physical preparation was good enough to keep him healthy and focused over his past dozen or so starts in a row.

These guys are the learners of the team, and they do better because of it.

Hufflepuff

Those I sorted into Hufflepuff: Troy Bourke, Jan Rutta, Otto Somppi, Matthew Spencer, Ben Thomas, and Martin Ouellette.

The main characteristic I looked for here was patience. Many of these players have uncertain places within the organization’s depth chart. Heck, Rutta, for instance, doesn’t really even have a place at all yet. These are guys who have to be patient, and, despite their possible frustration (I’m looking at you, Ouellette), also have to call on their loyalty to the organization to stay focused and ready. This in particular isn’t easy, but there is absolutely something admirable about their ability to do it. Overall, they are hard workers who might not get the chance to show their skills as often as they want, but when they do get the chance, they put their best out there.

Well, there it is. I’d love to know if you would have placed anyone differently! Please feel free to tweet at me or to leave a comment down below.