Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University
The Huskies’ thrilling run to the NCAA tournament in Cincinnati marks a welcome return for Northeastern’s Jerry Keefe.
Keefe, who is in his second season as associate head coach and his fifth season overall behind the bench, began his professional hockey career with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks of the American Hockey League during the 1999-2000 season.
Following the Huskies’ practice on Thursday afternoon, Keefe looked back fondly on that experience and the city itself. “ Being a young kid coming out of college, I was just learning how to be a pro,” he said.
“It’s a great city. I’m a big baseball fan, and the Reds are huge around here,” he said, adding that he caught the team in action at the old Riverfront Stadium during his time in Cincinnati.
The Mighty Ducks played at the Cincinnati Gardens, an arena located about seven miles north of the U.S. Bank Arena where the Huskies will play Friday. For his part, Keefe’s pro career lasted five years, including a pair of seasons in Europe. In fact, Keefe played one season for the Belfast Giants, and he also returned to Northern Ireland this season when the Huskies played in the Friendship Four tournament there.
This trip marks the first time in about 15 years Keefe has returned to Cincinnati, and he said there’s been no better way to come back than with the Huskies on college hockey’s biggest stage. “It’s just awesome to be here with Northeastern,” he said.