HAMILTON, N.Y. — Newburyport High School alumnus and current freshman Colgate University hockey player Derek Freeman is preparing for Friday’s Regional Round of the Division 1 NCAA Tournament.
Colgate (20-13-5) is a three-seed in the tournament. The Raiders will look to advance to round two by earning their third win in four meetings this season against two-seed Ferris State (28-10-3).
“I worked my butt off to get in the lineup,” Freeman said. “I worked hard to get where I am and my first year has gone really well. It was a learning experience going from a top-line guy to a little guy, but all of the older guys have been great and have helped me learn my way.”
Working hard is something that Freeman had become known for in his four years of Newburyport Clippers hockey.
“Derek stepped in as a freshman and was an impact player right away,” said Newburyport head coach Paul Yameen. “He was a captain, a 100-point scorer and a huge part of our championship teams. He always played big in big games. It was never more apparent than our trips to the TD Garden. Through all of the accolades, though, what was more impressive about Derek was his leadership skills. He was one of the top players on a good team as a sophomore and was depended on by his teammates. That is not an easy task for a 14-year-old boy, but he certainly excelled at it.”
What makes Freeman’s journey to D-1 college hockey more remarkable is the course that he chose. Rather than quit Newburyport hockey to play on a junior team, he finished his senior season as a Clipper before setting his sights on the next level. It’s a decision Freeman is thankful for.
“The way I look at it now, I would never second-guess my decision,” he said. “As long as you’re good enough, you’ll get to where you have to be. We won a state championship my junior year and lost in the championship game my senior year. I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else. If you work as hard as you can, you will get to where you want to be.”