“I had a great surgeon [Dr. Robert Nascimento at St. Elizabeth’s],’’ said Alber. “And Bert and Ross, I thank them for getting me through it.’’
Hard to believe
One person who had a hard time coming to grips with Alber’s grand plan of going to BC was his mother, Debbie. When he called to tell the family he had earned a scholarship, it was met with skepticism.
“My mom actually didn’t believe me when I told her,’’ said Alber. “She also didn’t believe me when I told her I committed to BC. She wanted to hear it from Coach York. For all of us, I think never in a million years would we have expected to be in that situation.’’
“It was a real, real surprise to us,’’ said Debbie, reached by telephone in Clifton Park, N.Y. “It was one of those ‘that happened really, really fast.’ He was hoping for Division 1 and was being recruited by Division 3.”
When she learned her son had been offered a walk-on role, she thought he was kidding at first.
“I was ecstatic, and then the tears came,’’ she said.
The scholarship was even harder to fathom.
“I thought, ‘This can’t be real.’ It was so exciting,’’ she said. “He has worked so hard to get where he is. He loves playing with the team.
“He always sets goals, which are usually a little more than he might be able to make, but he makes them. He set his goal in his mind that he would be back [this season]. He has always strived and pushed himself as hard as he could. It’s really been a Cinderella story.’’
Alber said it has been the realization of a dream.
“I came in with really no expectations,’’ he said. “I obviously never in my wildest dreams thought I’d get playing time or a scholarship.
“I’m just really happy and lucky that Coach York gave me a chance and I made something out of that chance. I really wasn’t expecting such a great program as BC to ask me to be on the team. For me, it was kind of surreal.’’
Back in 2001, Alber and his father, Larry, went to the NCAA Frozen Four in Albany. BC beat North Dakota for the championship. He was 12 at the time and remembers daydreaming about what it would be like to wear the Maroon and Gold.
“I watched the game and thought, ‘Wow, this is one of the best teams in college hockey, I can’t imagine what it would be like to play there,’ ’’ said Alber. “It was awesome. Back then, I would have never imagined playing at this great place.’’
For Alber, dreaming big paid off.
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.