Hat trick: Life as an Eagle Scout, goalie and engineering student

Hat trick: Life as an Eagle Scout, goalie and engineering student

SU men's hockey goalie Eric Parker applies the lessons he learned as an Eagle Scout to the rest of his life.
Published: February 27, 2019
SU hockey goalie helmet

For SU Men’s’ Hockey goaltender Eric Parker, the position between the pipes requires a confident mindset. As the “backstop” for the Orange, Parker always manages to stay focused when his teammates are on the opposite side of the ice.

“When you’re down there in a game, I talk to myself,” Parker said. “You’re just kind of in your own little world, which is kind of cool and I like that.”

Constantly reminding himself to make “simple, easy saves” and to “think about the play you are in.”, Parker attributes a steady, simple approach to his style of goaltending;

A junior mechanical engineering student, Parker grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut. After learning how to skate from a group of family friends, he decided that hockey would be the sport for him.

“Their mom was an ice skating coach, so we would go skating every Friday after school,” Parker said. “I kind of enjoyed skating, so that’s kind of how I went into hockey.”

Regarding his inspiration to be a goaltender, he stated that “rolling and diving around the ice” sold him on the position.

As Parker’s love for the game intensified, so did his desire to improve. This opportunity came when he joined the Connecticut Junior Rangers, one of the tri-state area’s leading AAA youth hockey organizations. While under coach Jeff Hamilton, a former NHL player, Parker found himself in a much more demanding environment with greater opponents.

“We were playing against kids that were already committed to college,” he said.

Though hockey is one of his bigger passions, Parker is also a member of the Eagle Scouts. Under the guidance of his father, he managed to climb through the ranks to become an Eagle Scout, which, according to Parker, was no easy task.

“When I was in high school, it was kind of tough to juggle both the time commitment of Boy Scouts with the time commitment of playing hockey,” he said.

Hockey Goalie
Eric Parker gets ready to block a goal against him. Parker is the goalkeeper for the SU men's hockey team.

Despite these difficulties, Parker grew to enjoy his experiences through Boy Scouts, which ultimately led to him earning the highest rank of Eagle. This honor is only granted to four percent of Boy Scouts after a lengthy review process.

Parker believes the lessons he has learned as an Eagle Scout have translated over to his hockey playing and vice versa. One lesson he learned during a 12-day hike in Philmont, New Mexico has stayed with him for a long time.

“That was a really tough trip,” Parker said. “It rained a lot of the days and it kind of taught me a little bit more about myself with perseverance and that definitely helps coming out on the ice because if you have a bad game or a bad week of practice, you’re just going to have to find it in yourself to keep going forward.”

Hockey Helmet

Life lessons are not the only thing Parker has translated from Boy Scouts to hockey. His mask, designed by Allen Schneider at Vice Design, dons the Eagle Scout emblem on the backplate with the motto “Be Prepared” placed underneath in bold black and white. In addition, the back of the mask adorns the American and Croat flags, symbolizing both sides of Parker’s family. The mask also sports the colors of SU, including the iconic orange S and an intensely smirking Otto the Orange.

Despite SU’s more dominant presence as a basketball school, Parker chose to attend Syracuse for its balance of mechanical engineering and hockey.

“I knew that I had to take academics first before hockey,” Parker said. “I wanted to find schools where I would both have the opportunity to play hockey, but also have a good engineering program. Syracuse gave me the best opportunity — the most guarantee of playing hockey.”

As a mechanical engineering student, Parker explained that he enjoys the process of finding a definitive answer. A member of SU’s Engineering Excelerators, Parker acts as a tour guide for potential students who are interested in the university’s engineering program.

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Parker stated that after he graduates, he might take a short break from hockey to focus on developing a career in the defense systems industry.

“I’ve done it (hockey) for my whole life,” Parker said. “So, I want to take a break from it but it’s always going to be a part of me and I’ll definitely come back and play. I also might take a break from playing goalie. I’ve got to score a couple of goals.”

The SU Men’s Ice Hockey team will be closing out their season with two matchups against the University of Rhode Island. They’ll face URI at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 1 at Tennity Ice Pavilion.