The Student News Site of Clemson University

The Tiger

The Tiger

The Tiger

Off the ice with Liam Clark

Ellie Godwin // Provided

Senior Liam Clark (23) celebrates Clemson’s win over Middle Tennessee on Jan. 13, 2023.

Following Clemson club ice hockey’s standout season, many are wondering who the men behind the face masks are. The Tiger sat down with forward Liam Clark to discuss his love for the sport and journey to Clemson.

Kelly Kaelblein (KK): Where are you from, and how did you start to play hockey?

Liam Clark (LC): I’m from Ridgewood, New Jersey. And I actually didn’t start playing hockey until I was a little older; I played baseball and football, mostly when I was in elementary school, and basketball. And in fifth grade, I got cut from the travel basketball team. This kid that I was friends with played roller hockey. So I was like, “Oh word, I’ll play roller hockey,” I guess. Just tried it out with him. And I really liked it. That was the same year the (New Jersey) Devils went on a Stanley Cup run, too — they didn’t win, but I got super into it. I started playing roller hockey in fifth grade, and I started ice skating in seventh grade, then started playing travel the next year. We won our roller hockey championship in sixth grade. That was super hype. We had a little three-game series in the playoffs, so it felt like we were in the NHL.

KK: What’s your earliest memory of playing hockey? 

LC: When me and my brothers were little, we didn’t really have hockey sticks or anything, but we liked playing hockey. So my dad would take us to the roller hockey rink in our town, and we would use a wiffle ball and wiffle ball bats and whack them around on the roller rink, so that was really fun. 

KK: Why did you decide to come to Clemson?

LC: I knew that I wanted to go to school in the South when I was in high school. So I think when I was a freshman in high school, I did one of those college matching surveys. And I think Clemson came out as my top choice on it. I started looking into it more — started following the football team and everything — and then when I visited, I really liked it. As soon as I got in, I withdrew my applications from the other places and was like “Yeah, I’m going to Clemson.”

KK: How did you find out Clemson had a hockey team?

LC: I figured after high school that I was just done playing hockey because I thought there were probably 20, maybe 25 guys here that were better than me, so I didn’t bring my gear down or anything. I knew that there was a team, so I just went to I went to Tiger Prowl the first week that I was here and I found the hockey guys. I just walked over and asked them what was up with the program. I started talking to the old head coach, Matt, and we found out that we were from the same town. He basically convinced me to try out, so I had my mom ship my gear down, and I made it as a practice squad player at first. Then, I dressed for every single game that season and just kept going from there.

KK: What are you most proud of during your time at Clemson?

LC: The day that I first tried out, we didn’t have locker rooms at the rink. It was so disorganized, and nobody really even cared. When we would lose games, the mentality was just like, “Oh, it’s just club hockey,” and nobody really cared about the team. So being in Pennsylvania at Nationals with such a tight-knit group of guys who all play for each other and play their hearts out like every game, it’s just been really cool to see the progress. Personally, probably scoring a goal assisted by Charles (DuBose) this year. It was a really cool moment to get to give him a hug after that.

KK: What are you hoping to do once you leave Clemson?

LC: My goal is to get a good job in New York, move back to Ridgewood and get a house in Ridgewood. Yeah, that’s what I’ve been hoping for. There’s one house where there’s a sick view of New York City. I probably won’t, but I’d really love to get that house.

KK: What is your favorite memory from your time at Clemson?

LC: Our trip to Knoxville this year. There was the Tennessee versus Alabama football game. Just like that whole weekend, even though we lost both games. 

KK: How are you going to remember Clemson?

LC: I’ll remember Clemson for its culture. It’s very welcoming, and everybody’s really friendly. The whole vibe of the football games in the fall, the tailgates, going downtown and being out and around everybody. You can always find random people to talk to random things about. It’s not hard at all to make friends with people that you’ve never met before. 

KK: How do you want Clemson to remember you?

LC: In terms of the hockey team, I just hope that people will remember me as a hard worker. Not much other than that, probably. I mean, in the classroom, too, I would hope that my classmates and everything would be so hardworking. And as a good friend to the kids on the hockey team and my roommates and everything like that.

KK: What do you want people to know about you?

LC: I would consider myself somebody who takes the time to stop and look around. So for the past semester, I’ve been trying to really appreciate the time that I have left at Clemson and just kind of take it all in and really appreciate it. I feel like a lot of people tell you, “You have to stop and look around,” and that’s something I actually make a concerted effort to do.

Interview responses were edited for length and clarity.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Tiger

Your donation will support the student journalists of Clemson University . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Kelly Kaelblein
Kelly Kaelblein, Asst. Sports Editor
Donate to The Tiger

Comments (0)

All The Tiger Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *