Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 43
 
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
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ALUMNI CUP: George Parros acknowledges the cheers in August 2007 as he displayed the Stanley Cup at Princeton University’s Baker Rink. Parros, a 2003 Princeton grad who scored 45 points in his college career, won the Cup in the 2006-07 season playing for the Anaheim Ducks. Parros, the first Tiger alum to play on a Stanley Cup winning team, is currently in his fourth season with the Ducks.

PU Hockey Alum Parros Thriving in NHL; Aiming to Help Ducks Win Another Cup

Ed Benkin

When people think of Princeton University hockey players, brawlers rarely come to mind. George Parros is an exception.

Parros is a 2003 graduate of Princeton. He was known for his physical play around the net. However, fighting is a no-no in college hockey. That didn’t stop Parros from dropping the gloves when he began to play professionally for the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL.

“It was never part of my game,” said the 6’5”, 222-pound Parros, 29, a native of Washington Pa. who played his high school hockey for the Delbarton School.

“I always did like to hit and play physical. It just kind of developed from there. I’d have to defend myself. I figured if I could fight and be physical at the same time, I’d probably have a better shot at making an NHL team.”

Parros’ physical play coupled with his fighting skills has allowed the former Tiger to carve out an impressive NHL career. He has been playing in the NHL for five seasons and has been a member of the Anaheim Ducks since coming to the franchise during the 2006-07 campaign.

In 2007, the Ducks captured their first ever Stanley Cup, and Parros became the first Princeton graduate to lift North America’s oldest trophy.

Parros is now joined by several other former Tigers who have made it to the professional level and believes the rise of Princeton professionals has coincided with the rise of the program.

“It’s awesome,” said Parros, who has been joined in the NHL by Tiger alums Jeff Halpern of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Darroll Powe of the Philadelphia Flyers.

“There are a lot of guys coming out of the program now and you see more and more of them in the NHL, which is unbelievable. I think it’s a real credit to Coach [Guy] Gadowsky and what he’s done there. There has been good recruiting and we’re seeing a lot of good players coming out.”

Parros first arrived on campus in 1999 and quickly became comfortable both on and off the ice.

“It’s always good for college guys to get away from home to develop and mature,” explained Parros.

“You’re leaving for the first time and you mature as an adult. You grow with a team of like-minded individuals and it helps you mature more. It’s a great place to learn hockey and learn some other lessons in life as well.”

Parros scored 20 goals and added 25 assists during his college career. The Los Angeles Kings selected him in the eighth round of the 1999 entry draft and held his rights during his days at Princeton.

After Parros played his last game with the Tigers, the Kings sent him to their AHL affiliate in Manchester. Parros played for the Monarchs for three seasons, and racked up 247 penalty minutes in his final AHL campaign.

In 2005, Parros got the call from the Kings. Parros played in 55 games during his rookie NHL season. He was traded to Colorado the following year but played just two games with the Avalanche before being shipped to Anaheim. It’s been a perfect match for Parros and the Ducks the past three years.

“They had a void when Todd Fedoruk got hurt,” said Parros, who quickly became a fan favorite with his flair for fisticuffs and droopy mustache.

“They brought me in and it’s just been a good fit ever since. I like where I’m playing. It’s a great organization to play for and hopefully I’ll keep playing for them for years to come.”

Parros was on the ice during the fifth game of the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals, when the Ducks finished off the Ottawa Senators for the title. Parros took his turn amongst his teammates to skate with the Cup during the celebration.

“It was unbelievable,” said Parros. “I had my family sitting in the corner of the rink. I went over to that corner and pumped it a couple of times and rubbed my mustache on it. It was an unbelievable feeling and it was something I’ll never forget.”

The NHL allows each player from the Stanley Cup champions to enjoy one day with the Cup. Many bring the Cup home to share with their families and friends. Parros spent part of his day at Princeton. He greeted members of the Princeton hockey staff as well as a host of youth hockey players at Baker Rink.

“It was great,” recalled Parros. “I took it to my high school in the morning at Delbarton and then down to Princeton in the afternoon. It was really cool to bring it back and share the experience with former teammates, faculty members, and friends along with all of those little kids in the area.”

Parros is hoping to be a part of another Stanley Cup championship in Anaheim. The Ducks reached the second round of the playoffs last year before falling to Detroit and are expected to contend again this year.

Meanwhile, Parros continues to get better each season. “You’re always learning along the way,” said Parros, who had a career-high 10 points in 2008-09 with five goals and five assists in 74 appearances. “There’s plenty to learn while you’re in the NHL, so I’m still keeping an open mind.”

The rest of the league has learned that a Princeton graduate can find his fair share of success in the NHL.

“It’s definitely every kid’s dream growing up,” asserted Parros, who has 10 penalty minutes in nine appearances so far this season. “Hopefully, I can make some more dreams come true here over the next couple of years.”

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