ASU’s Daccord Reflects on NHL Experience

Photo Credit: Richard Martinez
By Andrew Bell

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind for former ASU goaltender Joey Daccord.

After playing in ASU’s first-ever NCAA Tournament game in Allentown, Pennsylvania on March 30, he returned to Tempe. Two days after losing their NCAA first round game, Daccord signed an entry level contract with the Ottawa Senators, the team who owned his draft rights.

The Senators sent him straight from Tempe into the ring of fire to take on the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, April 4 in Buffalo. In a span of five days, Daccord went from making ASU college hockey history to becoming the first Sun Devil to play in the National Hockey League.

“It actually didn’t come together until Monday morning around 9 a.m.,” said Daccord of signing with Ottawa. “Then I was at the airport at 10:30. It was pretty crazy. It took me all day to travel and get to Ottawa, and then I had to be up early Tuesday morning to get to the rink in Ottawa. Work out, practice, then it was right to the team plane and fly to New York City. In 24 hours, I was in downtown New York City. It was crazy.”

After two cross-country trips in a 72-hour span, Daccord made 35 saves during a loss in his NHL debut. Nonetheless, making history as the first Sun Devil to play in the NHL was no small feat.

Daccord didn’t want to break in any new gear for his first NHL game so he wore his Sun Devil goalie mask with maroon and gold goalie pads. A pitchfork donned in an NHL arena.

The surreal experience hit Daccord when he was picked up and taken to Senators practice by a 2008 NHL All-Star and a 2010 Olympic silver medalist.

“My first morning, Bobby Ryan drove me to practice,” Daccord said. “You go from ASU and all of a sudden, you are in the car with Bobby Ryan picking his brain from an NHL All-Star. It was pretty cool. They were all so welcoming and so nice to me. They really made me feel comfortable when I was there.”

Daccord’s family and ASU head coach Greg Powers both took in the game in Buffalo. While it might have been a remarkable experience, the ensuing days after the NHL season concluded might have brought Daccord back down to earth.

Days after playing with the Senators, he was back at ASU to attend class, where he plans to finish his degree in Sports Business.

“Hockey is awesome and being able to make money playing hockey has been a dream of mine my whole life but at the end of the day, I can’t play hockey for the rest of my life,” Daccord said. “The degree is extremely important to me and I actually made a promise with my parents that if the opportunity ever arose to leave early and play professional, I promised to finish my degree. I plan to hold that promise.”

Thus, there is the Joey Daccord story – The story that took him from your everyday Division I college student athlete by day, to becoming a professional netminder by night, all in the span of five days. Now the North Andover, Massachusetts native gets to spend his Summer back in Boston before gearing up for more professional hockey.

Above everything else, Daccord was proud of his roots as a Sun Devil. He officially put a checkmark next to his name as the first ASU player to play in the NHL.

“I hope that with what I have tried to accomplish and what I have done here that people will see that you can come out here and you can be a professional hockey player. You can come here and achieve any dream you want,” Daccord said. “I think it just proves that for this program, the sky’s the limit. I think once we get the new arena and the new facility, this place is going to be one of the top destinations in all of college hockey to attract the highest and the biggest recruits. I think in a matter of 5-10 years tops, this place is going to be a top-10 team every year and it’s going to be pumping out NHL players.”