Alexander Kerfoot a big part of Harvard’s path to Frozen Four

April 4, 2017

Alexander Kerfoot first took to the skates about the age of 5 and his parents brought him to the Hollyburn Country Club in West Vancouver, British Columbia.

“Anybody who tried out made it,” Kerfoot said of the facility’s youth programs.

Harvard’s future hockey co-captain was off to a good start, and later his development accelerated when he joined the Hollyburn Huskies, a program that produced the likes of current NHLers Buffalo Sabres center Sam Reinhart, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Griffin Reinhart and Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly.

This week, the 22-year-old Kerfoot and the Crimson are getting ready to step onto the ice at Chicago’s United Center for the Frozen Four. Third-seeded Harvard (28-5-2) will face No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth (27-6-7) in the national semifinals on Thursday night.

Kerfoot’s performance this season was reflected in his status as one of the 10 finalists selected for the prestigious Hobey Baker Award. While the 5-foot-10 senior center, a fifth-round NHL draft pick of the New Jersey Devils in 2012, won’t end the season as the nation’s top scorer, he clearly has carried the Crimson on his back in similar fashion to how other vaunted locals such as Boston University’s Mike Sullivan in 1989-90, Boston College’s Tim Sweeney in 1988-89 and Vermont’s Martin St. Louis in 1997 did for their respective teams.

In his final college season, Kerfoot has tallied 16 goals and 29 assists to tie classmate and right winger Tyler Moy (22 goals, 23 assists) for the most points on the team, and the scoring total includes eight on the power play and four game-winners. Along the way, he has been named All-ECAC first team and All-Ivy first team.

In a 3-2 victory against Air Force in the NCAA East Regional final, a win that propelled Harvard into the Frozen Four for the first time since 1994, Kerfoot contributed two assists. The pair of helpers gave him 122 career points in 120 games, leaving Kerfoot just outside the top 20 all-time for the Crimson.

Kerfoot and fellow senior co-captain Devin Tringale of Medford relish the fact that Harvard has blazed a trail of success — which includes an 18-game (17-0-1) unbeaten streak — through the “one-and-done” era. Seven seniors dot the Harvard roster, including an all-senior second line of left winger Luke Esposito, center Sean Malone and Moy. The group weathered a 10-17-4 campaign as freshmen, but is 68-29-9 since.

Kerfoot, an economics major, pointed to “leadership by committee” working for the Crimson, as opposed to depending upon one or two teammates.

“Guys who are coming to Harvard know what they are getting into,” Kerfoot said. “You’re coming not just for hockey, obviously our coaches and everyone involved in the program have done a great job of turning around and getting it to be one of the elite programs in the country, but guys know when they’re coming here that there’s more than just playing hockey. They know that they are coming for the academics and everything involved with being a Harvard student, and I think that is a pretty special opportunity and something we definitely don’t take for granted.

“I think if you see a guy like Jimmy Vesey, last year, who was up for the Hobey Baker after his junior season and he chose to come back for his senior year (when Vesey won the award before signing an NHL deal with the New York Rangers), it’s hard for anyone to leave who is not in the same situation. I think it just has a trickle-down effect on everyone else involved in the program and it’s great for college hockey.”

The Kerfoot pipeline has only started to flow from British Columbia. Younger brother Colton, 21, is a freshman forward with the Crimson and Daniel, 16, plays at Middlesex School in Concord.