Assistant coach Ryan Frain’s number eight was retired by the ice hockey club.
Ice hockey assistant coach Ryan Frain is no stranger to firsts.
In the club’s all-time record books, Frain ranks first in goals, assists, points and games played.
In his final year with the team last season, Frain led Temple in scoring as he helped the Owls earn their first birth in the American Collegiate Association Nationals.
But upon learning that he would be the first player in Temple ice hockey history to have his number retired, Frain admitted that these types of things never get old.
“It’s pretty cool. I actually didn’t know it was going to be happening,” Frain said. “It’s a great accomplishment.”
“I can’t take all the credit,” Frain added. “Teammates and coaches, throughout the years I’ve been here, they’ve really pushed me. They developed a drive in me to be the top dog and push me to carry the team on my back.”
Frain etched his name even further into the Temple ice hockey history books in a brief ceremony before the club’s game against William Paterson on Saturday night. Frain received a standing ovation from the home crowd at the Flyers’ Northeast SkateZone before watching a banner be unveiled with his name, retiring his number eight.
“Before Temple, I was mediocre,” Frain said. “I came here and wanted to be the top dog. I worked hard and it has paid off.”
During his five-year tenure as a forward, Frain scored 109 goals and handed out 116 assists, tallying 225 points. He led the Owls to five straight appearances in the ACHA Regionals and was a critical part of the team that made it to nationals in March 2011.
Senior defensive captain Jordan Lawrence played with Frain for three years and said Frain’s importance to his team as a player can’t be overstated.
“[Frain] was one of the main reasons that we got [to nationals],” Lawrence said. “The influence of him, the guys on the team rallied around knowing that he’d been here for five years and how successful he’d been. Everyone knew how much it meant to him, and that was a big motivation factor for us.”
Coach Jerry Roberts, who played with Frain for one year and coached him for his final two, said Frain is the best player that Temple ice hockey has ever had.
“[Frain] could do whatever he wanted to do on the ice,” Roberts said. “What was amazing about watching him play was that he wasn’t flashy. He was just faster, stronger and quicker than everyone else.”
While it’s clear that Frain made a name for himself throughout his career, Roberts said that to him, Frain’s legacy began as soon as he took the ice five years ago.
“It was the first weekend of the season, his second collegiate game ever. He had five goals,” Roberts said. “I was like, ‘This is amazing,’ and he told me, ‘Don’t worry about it.’”
“I got the vibe at that moment that something special was coming, five years of amazing hockey,” Roberts added. “Getting to know him, play with him, coach him now and work with him, it’s been a tremendous honor.”
Lawrence said he had a similar reaction upon first seeing Frain play.
“When I came in my freshman year, there were 12 of us new players, and right away we knew who [Frain] was,” Lawrence said. “He didn’t talk too much, but his actions spoke louder. It was obvious how big of a player he was here. Everyone respected him as soon as we came in.”
While Frain and Lawrence expressed admiration for Frain’s play, he was quick to give them a nod for helping him get to where he is.
“I’m really proud of my accomplishments individually, but these guys in the locker room who I’ve played with before, they were the ones that helped me through this,” Frain said. “It’s a really cool accomplishment.”
After graduating last summer, Frain asked Roberts if he could remain a part of the team as an assistant coach. Roberts said his decision was a no-brainer.
“The decision was actually made at the beginning of his senior year, and afterwards was just a formality of going through the motions,” Roberts said. “There are certain players that you know belong as coaches, and he’s one of them.”
Frain has been helping out on offense as a member of the coaching staff this year, identifying matchups and keeping players motivated on a team with a record of 8-18 that is fighting for a spot in the ACHA Regionals.
“[Frain] holds all of our players to the same standards that he held himself to,” Roberts said. “It’s funny because although we lost him on the ice, all those positive attributes that he brought to the locker room we still have.”
“He scored a lot of goals, he knows how to put the puck in the net, that’s something we’ve struggled with this year,” Lawrence added. “To get any inside information from him on putting the puck in the net helps us big time.”
Frain said he wanted to become a coach because he still wanted to play an active role in the program that he loves so much, but in having his number retired, Frain ensures that he’ll be part of Temple ice hockey forever.
“We’ve been trying very hard in the past few years at establishing a sense of tradition,” Roberts said. “We couldn’t have picked a better player to start with.”
Joey Cranney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.