Blue and Gold Illustrated

January 2023

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 49 of 55

50 JANUARY 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY TODD D. BURLAGE I f veteran Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson ever wants to date him- self, all he needs to do is glance down his bench to star junior forward Ryder Rolston and that should do the trick. You see, exactly 30 years ago, a 37-year-old Jackson was working as the bench boss at Lake Superior State during his second year as a college head coach. Brian Rolston — Ryder's father — was one of Jackson's top players on that 1992 Lakers national championship team. And it's that history along with the respect and endearment that the elder Rolston passed along that helped attract Ryder to Notre Dame. "There were some pretty big-name schools that I had on my list," said Ry- der, who eventually narrowed his col- lege choices down to Notre Dame and Michigan. "But obviously I've always had a soft spot for Notre Dame because my dad played for Coach Jackson." Ryder was 11 years old when his fa- ther retired from pro hockey in 2012 af- ter 1,256 NHL games over 17 seasons, mostly with the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins. Brian finished his career with 342 goals, 419 assists, 761 points, a Stanley Cup championship with the Devils in 1995 and a silver medal at the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. Growing up next to his father inside NHL locker rooms from about the age of 3 to 11 provided Ryder a first-hand expe- rience and knowledge into what it took to compete and survive at the highest level. Rolston recognized he needed to be- come more of a complete player if he was ever going to follow his father's NHL path. And both father and son concluded that Jackson was the best college coach to make that happen. "A big thing was just learning how to play the right way and to be put in situ- ations where I would learn to become a pro," Ryder explained of his time and les- sons at Notre Dame. "And Coach Jackson is obviously one of the most respected coaches not only in the college hockey world, but in the hockey world in general. "Being able to build on that legacy as well. Keeping the family name alive under Coach Jackson." And the Rolston name remains alive and well under the 18-year Irish head coach. Through Nov. 25 and 16 games this season, Ryder led the Irish with 13 points (6 goals, 7 assists), and he easily paced Notre Dame with 65 shots. "This year has provided me a great opportunity," Ryder shared. "And the biggest thing for me is just having the confidence to handle it. I understand I need to be a producer on this team in order to help us win." Rolston joined the Irish as a fresh- man in 2020-21 after playing for Water- loo, Iowa, in the United States Hockey League (USHL), where he scored 16 goals and 17 assists in 42 games. The Traverse City, Mich., native was rated as the No. 102 North American player in the final NHL Central Scouting Rankings and was selected by Colorado in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Rolston's rights were later traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2021. But all those professional pursuits can wait. Ryder explained how in the imme- diate, top priority is helping this talented Irish team (8-8-2) string a few wins to- gether and lift it from .500 territory. "Our group hasn't lost any confi- dence. We know how good we are. We know how good we can be," Ryder said. "No one is worried. We have all the tools be successful, it's just about being more consistent." ✦ Hockey Junior Ryder Rolston 'Learning How To Play The Right Way' Rolston led Notre Dame with 13 points (6 goals, 7 assists) through 18 games. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS ND SPORTS Irish Roundup Through Dec. 12 HOCKEY (8-8-2 OVERALL, 4-5-1 BIG TEN) No. 19 Notre Dame split two games during its trip to Boston during Thanksgiving week, losing 5-2 to Boston U. Nov. 23 and defeating Boston College 5-2 Nov. 25 … The Fighting Irish lost 5-2 Penn State Dec. 9, but rebounded for a 5-3 win over the Nittany Lions Dec. 10 … After a three-week holiday break, the Irish will host Alaska Fairbanks Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. WOMEN'S SOCCER (17-3-3 OVERALL, 7-2-1 ACC) The No. 1-seeded Fighting Irish had their season end with a 2-0 loss to No. 2-seeded North Carolina in their NCAA quarterfinal match at Alumni Stadium Nov. 26. MEN'S SWIMMING AND DIVING (2-1) Notre Dame competed in the U.S. Open Nov. 30 to Dec. 3 at Greensboro, N.C. … The Irish are off until they head to Annapolis, Md., for a tri-meet against Navy and Princeton Jan. 13-14. WOMEN'S SWIMMING AND DIVING (2-1) The Fighting Irish took part in the U.S. Open Nov. 30 to Dec. 3 at Greensboro, N.C. … Notre Dame returns to action for a tri-meet against Navy and Princeton Jan. 13-14 in Annapolis, Md. VOLLEYBALL (10-18 OVERALL, 5-13 ACC) Notre Dame suffered a 3-0 home loss to Louisville Nov. 23 but snapped its nine-match losing streak in their season finale with a 3-1 triumph at Virginia Tech Nov. 25.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - January 2023