Andrew Joudrey Providing Experience and a Calming Influence for the Falcons

Author: Darryl Dionne, PHPA Director of Communications and Business Development
Date: Apr 29, 2014

As the Springfield Falcons seek to advance in the American Hockey League Calder Cup playoffs, centerman and Alternate Captain Andrew Joudrey – a two-time Calder Cup Champion, whose experience and leadership combine to bring a veteran presence to the Falcons, is making some noteworthy contributions both on and off the ice. 

In fact, success has followed Joudrey throughout his hockey career.  He was a member of the 2005-06 NCAA Nation Champion University of Wisconsin Badgers during his junior year, where he also served as Alternate Captain.

“Winning that championship was a pretty special feeling,” recounted Joudrey.  “Wisconsin was the number one seed that year.  We played the Frozen Four close to home in Milwaukee, then the finals were in Green Bay – we had the home crowd advantage for the final four must-win games, which was a much different vibe than a 7-game series.  It was an unforgettable experience for sure.”

The following season, Joudrey was named team Captain while leading the Badgers with 29 points and 20 assists.  Although the team didn’t repeat as National Champions, Joudrey caught the eye of an area scout for the Washington Capitals.  Following the Badgers season, he signed an Amateur Try-Out Agreement with the Capitals’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Hershey Bears, and saw action in the team’s final five regular season games, scoring a goal against Binghamton in his AHL debut.  “Hershey had won the Calder Cup the year before and had a lot of good players on that team to learn from,” noted Joudrey.  “I managed to get in the line-up for 10 playoff games (perhaps Joudrey would have added to this total had he not had to get back to campus to write his final exams towards earning his degree in Consumer Science) that year and we went all the way to the Calder Cup Finals against Hamilton.  Personally, I found it to be a great learning experience.” 

Reflecting on his College hockey days, Joudrey fondly recalls the experiences and lessons he learned that have helped shape his career both on and off the ice.  “One thing they preach in College hockey is the ability to improve your game during practice.  Our Head Coach, Mike Eaves, had previously coached in the NHL and AHL and was big on that philosophy and helped make my transition to Hershey an easy one.” 

“Off the ice, it was a great experience.  I forged some life long friendships.  Two of my best friends were my college roommates.  But one of the biggest things that made the transition from College hockey to pro easier was living on my own for the first time. You learn how to pay bills, deal with landlords, do your own grocery shopping, and learn to manage your time properly on your own with respect to classes, hockey, and social aspects.”

Another lesson learned from his time in Wisconsin that has never been lost on Joudrey is the value of taking part in community initiatives.  He was recently selected as the Springfield Falcons’ Man of the Year, awarded to one member from each AHL team for their outstanding contributions to the local community and charitable organizations during the season.  This was the second time in Joudrey’s AHL career that he received this recognition.  “In University, our coach was huge into community involvement and we participated in a number of initiatives.  Hershey had great community programs as well, as they do in Springfield.  Anything involving children is so rewarding for players.  School visits, assisting with the Boys and Girls Club, hospital visits; it’s pretty neat any time you have interaction with kids and see the way they look up to you.” 

After four full seasons in Hershey and two Calder Cup Championship rings, Joudrey signed a two-way contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the 2011-12 season where he began the season with the Jackets’ affiliate in Springfield.  However, it was the first day of the 2012 AHL All-Star break when he received the call he had been waiting for while driving to New York to meet up with his wife and son.

“I received a call from the Columbus Blue Jackets asking me if I would like to play in the NHL,” recalled Joudrey.  “I had just arrived at the hotel in New York when I turned around and drove two and a half hours to Hartford to catch a flight to join the Blue Jackets on their west coast road trip.  Once I arrived, I watched our game against San Jose from the press box, then played my first game the next night against Los Angeles.  ‘Awesome’ would be the only word to describe the experience and I would do it all over again to get to play in one NHL game.” 

Off the ice, Joudrey has taken an active role with the Professional Hockey Players’ Association (PHPA); first as a Player Representative, and later as a member of the PHPA Executive Committee having been elected to the post by his peers.  “In my rookie year with Hershey, our Player Rep couldn’t attend the PHPA Annual Meeting of Player Representatives.  So I was asked to go and it was a great experience.  It was neat meeting different players from across the AHL, ECHL, and Central Hockey League, and being pretty green to everything at the time, I took in as much as possible.  I feel for guys who miss out on opportunities or wait until the end of their careers to get involved.  All players should be aware of the programs made available to them through the PHPA.”

Since being elected to the Executive Committee, Joudrey has had input towards several key decisions and direction that help shape the Association as a whole.  “Being on the Executive has been a great experience.  When I was first elected, I mainly listed to the experience and leadership in the room from guys like Peter Vandermeer.  It’s been rewarding to be involved with issues such as changes to the AHL playoff pool, enhancements to player’s medical coverage and health care, navigating through the uncertainty involving the Central Hockey League, as well as the accounting and budgeting aspect for the Association’s fiscal year.” 

On different teams and at different levels, Joudrey typically has either an “A” or a “C” sewn to the front of his jersey.  When asked about his highly regarded leadership style he replied, “I try to lead by example and stay positive.  I’m not a guy to stand up and make a huge speech.  Demonstrating a consistent effort in each game and practice is something that I think other players and coaches notice.”

“I just remember back to when I was coming into the League, to a new team, and guys like Pete Vandermeer and Matt Hendricks were very welcoming right away.  These guys would invite players over for dinner and knew how to make a young guy feel at home and at ease in their new surroundings.  I try to follow that model and remember what it was like to be the new guy coming in.  That makes a huge difference.” 

With the 2014 Calder Cup playoffs underway, the two-time Calder Cup Champion knows what it takes to win the prize, and lends that experience to his Falcons teammates.  “I try to give guys a sense of calm and keep them on an even keel – not just throughout a playoff series but on a game by game basis.  You have to move forward and can’t lose your composure over a bad play.”

The Falcons are fortunate that they can lean on the veteran savvy of a player like Andrew Joudrey, who registered the winning goal 2:21 into overtime in the team’s opening game of the first round of the playoffs against the Providence Bruins, again leading his teammates by example both off and on the ice.

 

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