January 20, 2021

Back on the Ice After Pandemic Ended PU Hockey Career, Fogarty Produces Superb Start in Swedish Pro League

JORDAN RULES: Jordan Fogarty heads up the ice during his career for the Princeton University men’s hockey team. After graduating from Princeton last June, Fogarty headed to Europe to play pro hockey, joining Virserums SGF in Sweden’s Third Division. Through his first 10 games with the club, forward Fogarty tallied 11 goals and eight assists. (Photo provided courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton University men’s hockey team saw its season halted last March by the pandemic after it had swept Dartmouth in an ECAC Hockey opening round playoff series, Jordan Fogarty was planning to move on from the sport.

“I was pretty well prepared to have that Dartmouth game be my final time lacing up the skates,” said forward Fogarty, who graduated from Princeton last June.

“I was applying to work in finance because I worked an internship over last summer.”

But after hitting the interview circuit, Fogarty decided that he wanted to get back on the ice and committed to play a post-graduate season at Long Island University while studying for an MBA.

With the specter of COVID-19 hanging over the college season, Fogarty checked out options to play pro hockey abroad and eventually signed with Virserums SGF in Sweden’s Third Division.

“I got a really interesting offer in the summer to work as an internship with a Princeton hockey alum (Steve Shireffs ’99) at a credit management fund (Granite State Capital Management),” said Fogarty, an economics major who made the ECAC All-Academic Team three times.

“He said if you play pro, you can work for us remotely while playing. I got an agent and I ended up signing over in Sweden and dropping out of my MBA program.”

By November, Fogarty was on the ice for Virserums. “It was pretty cool, coming from a point from where I thought I was done playing hockey to playing a game professionally in another country,” said the 5’8, 180-pound Fogarty, who hails from Sarnia, Ontario, and tallied one goal and one assist in 46 appearances over his Princeton career.

“I let it sink in because one thing I learned from Princeton is that you never know when it is over so that is something pretty good.”

In his time at Princeton, Fogarty had a cool experience playing for his father, Ron Fogarty, the head coach of the Tiger men’s program.

“I think it is an opportunity that very few people get to have at such a high level of athletics, being on the same team as somebody you love dearly and somebody who raised you,” said Fogarty. “It was really cool, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

It did take some time for Fogarty to gain the trust of his teammates in his position as the coach’s son.

“It was tough my first few years, it is the elephant in the room,” recalled Fogarty.

“In my freshman year, the older guys were thinking, “How is this guy going to be?” I had to show that I wasn’t going to be a snitch and I was going to be one of the guys. The first year was interesting but then the guys kind of warmed up to it and understood that I was a player. I called him Ron at the rink, I never referred to him as my dad.”

In Fogarty’s senior campaign last winter, the Tigers got off to a tough start, going 1-8-3 on the way to posting a regular season record of 4-20-5.

“We just had to wait until guys get used to new roles and started to pull together,” said Fogarty.

“We showed that hey we don’t give up and towards the end of the season we were a pretty good team.”

The Tigers ended the season on a high note, going up to Dartmouth and sweeping the Big Green in a best-of-three ECACH opening round series, winning both games in overtime.

“Everybody just bought in, guys who were playing all of the time were smart with their shifts,” said Fogarty.

“Guys were really engaged and always watching and helping other guys out. Guys were blocking shots and there was just an energy around the team. Granted we didn’t win a lot of games last year but at that point we knew we could win. We were determined to win and destined to win at that point. It was pretty cool.”

While coming through against Dartmouth was cool, having the rest of the postseason cut short by COVID-19 concerns and then being sent home days later was tough for Fogarty and his classmates.

“I am still not over the fact that I didn’t get to go out like everybody else at Princeton to end their career,” said Fogarty.

“I felt for the guys and everybody. The way our season has always ended is that you fight until your last breath. The seniors get their last swan song, the game is over with their last shift there. Then you are in the locker room and there are tears and hugs. Then you get to go back and you have three months of hanging with the guys and saying goodbye. It just got all ripped away from us in a matter of two days.”

Over this time at Princeton, Fogarty developed deep bonds with the guys on the team.

“The number one thing is the people I got to play with, it was a special group of guys,” asserted Fogarty.

“It is different than most schools because we have no scholarships; guys check their egos at the door because we are all going to pretty much the hardest school in the world. All day, we are just grinding through class, through exams, and trying to maintain a crazy schedule. Then we are going to the rink and this is our time to be athletes. We are just such a close-knit group.”

Going through that grind helped Fogarty grow on and off the ice.

“It is a place that makes you mature really quickly, especially with sports and being older,” said Fogarty.

“I didn’t realize how much maturing I had to do until I was at Princeton and saw how the world works. It taught me a lot about relationship management, with people at the rink, older people, everybody you meet, and how important it is. It is understanding humility as well. In high school, I was a pretty good student. At Princeton, I was immediately introduced to a great deal of humbling and humility, seeing how much you need to learn and grow as a person.”

Fogarty had to utilize that maturity when he arrived in Sweden this fall and dealt with new surroundings.

“I got off the plane and I had two days to get used to the time zone and move into the hotel they had me in for the year,” said Fogarty.

“It was a culture shock at first. The town I am in has 1,800 people. It is tiny but the thing with Sweden is that it is such a rural and sparsely populated spot, it is all connected by their love for hockey. It is crazy; the entire town will go to very single game in every single city.”

It didn’t take long for Fogarty to find a comfort level off the ice. “I adjusted pretty well, the town is super nice,” added Fogarty.

“We have guys in the supporter group, which is essentially the booster group for the team and they lend us their cars any time we asked. In the hotel, we have five guys and we have the entire basement to ourselves. It has X-boxes, TVs, a pool table, and a ping pong table; it was kind of like being in college again.”

Once he got on the ice, Fogarty had some catching up to do.

“Sweden never really shut down the rinks, it was pretty impressive,” said Fogarty.

“Our team has our own rink so we were on the ice like two hours a day to start preseason training. I was pretty rusty at the beginning so I would go in the mornings and just do some skill stuff to get my feet back underneath me.”

In the first segment of the season, Fogerty displayed his skill, tallying 11 goals and eight assists in his first 10 games for Virserums.

“I have got line mates who also played college in the states,” said Fogarty.

“They are pretty good puck movers and then I just kind of found a groove there. The coach really liked how I played and put me in a lot of good situations and I started scoring.”

With the league going on a pause over the holidays due to COVID-19  concerns, Fogarty was looking forward to getting back on the ice for the team in January as it makes a push to get promoted to a higher league in the Swedish system.

“At this point in the season, it is just all about winning games,” said Fogarty. “I promised the coach that I would do my best to make sure that we got promoted to the next level.”

Drawing on his Princeton experience, Fogarty was getting the best of both worlds, doing work remotely for Granite State while starring for Virserums.

“We have a pretty good thing going there where I work a few hours a day,” said Fogarty.

“I am on the phone for a few hours and then I practice at night. So I take some hours off for practice and then finish up my work and start again the next day.”

Looking ahead, Fogarty is hoping to keep thriving on both fronts. 

“I would love to do that,” said Fogarty. “Playing hockey for a few years and to keep working for those guys are two things I found myself really enjoying. A personal goal of mine is to see what I can do with this.”