By Lili Watford
The attributes that define a hockey player are hardworking, tenacious and loyal. These characteristics are exemplified by Ice Dawg forward, David Eberly.
Eberly was first introduced to hockey by his best friend in kindergarten when he was six-years-old. From then on, his passion flourished.
“I might have told my parents that I wanted to play really bad and so my dad took me to a Thrashers game,” Eberly said. “That’s when I fell in love with the sport.”
Like many young players aspiring to become great hockey players, Eberly’s favorite player growing up was Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins’ captain and star forward.
“From a young age, he was just who I looked up to because he was so good,” he said. “He’s such a good two-way center and that’s the best way to describe how I try and play.”
He even has a signed puck from Crosby that he acquired after keeping quiet about a secret practice session the player was having at Eberly’s morning skate.
The Atlanta native first realized he wanted to play collegiate hockey at the University of Georgia after attending a practice session with the Ice Dawgs during his senior year of high school.
“I just loved the vibe of everyone on the team and the whole experience was really enjoyable,” he said. “From that point on, it was pretty set in stone that this [playing for UGA] is what I wanted to do.”
Ever since he first laced up his skates for the Ice Dawgs Eberly has been deemed the most superstitious guy on the team.
He “always has something going on.” Whether that be wearing the same socks every game, drinking from the same water bottle or his pre-game skate routine, Eberly is a creature of habit.
Over the past three years, Eberly has been a part of countless team victories and has had some unforgettable highlights. One of his favorite memories was the 3-2 overtime win last season against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies during the 2023 AAU National College Hockey Championship.
Back in March, the Ice Dawgs knocked off the No. 1 seed, St. Bonaventure Bonnies, 3-2 in overtime to win their pool and advance to the quarterfinals. Evan Parente scored the winning goal for the Ice Dawgs, which took the team out of pool play at the National Championship tournament for the first time.
“Just watching [Evan] Parente score that goal in overtime and then everyone mobbing him and how we just beat the number one ranked team again– it was probably one of the most memorable experiences for me.”
While Eberly has achieved great things throughout his hockey career, he gives all of the credit to his success to his family.
His family has had a huge impact on his success both on and off the ice. Their “hard work and perseverance” have contributed to his attitude about not taking things for granted and being appreciative of everything.
Eberly said that no matter how trivial something may be “putting hard work into every area of my life is how I approach everything.”
Away from the ice, Eberly is pursuing a degree in journalism. A field of study that was inspired by his ninth-grade English teacher who encouraged him to apply his gift for writing to his future career.
“I think the biggest thing for me is at some point in my life to work around or work with hockey,” he said, “I want to either work for a team in some area of writing or communications or work for a company like TNT. That would be awesome.”
While Eberly plans to return for a fifth year, he has high hopes for what the Ice Dawgs can accomplish this season.
“We all know that we are capable of going further in the national tournament. We’ve got some more talent this year and a deeper team, so I think that’s the expectation, to make it far in the tournament, if not win.”