Home College Legends of New York State Hockey: Dave Rost

Legends of New York State Hockey: Dave Rost

1255
0

BY RANDY SCHULTZ—

What began as a dream for Dave Rost as an eighth grader living in South Buffalo in 1969 became a reality for him four years later. In 1973 Rost entered the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Not only did Rost fulfill his dream of becoming a soldier, but he would also set NCAA scoring records in men’s hockey that still stand today.

In 114 games Rost scored 226 assists, first on the NCAA All-time list, ahead of Wayne Gagne, who had 199 and did it by playing in 48 more games. He also scored 104 goals and has the most points of anyone ever to play college hockey with 330.

Not bad for a guy who began his hockey career on an outdoor rink for the Cazenovia hockey organization in South Buffalo.

“From there it was on to the Buffalo Regals organization,” said Rost, who played for Army from 1973-77. “As a midget I played in Ft. Erie, Ontario.

“Following that I played two years of Junior hockey in Ft. Erie. Hockey was a passion for me.

“I played other sports as well. I was a pretty well rounded kid as far as sports went.

“But my parents also stressed education. When I was in eighth grade I had the opportunity to visit the United States Military Academy.

“A friend of the family was attending there at the time. From that moment on I set my sights on going to the Academy.

“We went there on a football weekend and got to see Army play Boston College. I walked around the place, felt comfortable there and felt it was the right place for me.

“Getting to play hockey for Army was just a plus. A bonus.”

And play hockey he did. Rost became one of the finest hockey players to ever play for the Black Knights.

Rost’s coach at the time was the legendary Jack Riley.

“Anybody who knows hockey knows that Coach Riley coached the first ‘Miracle On Ice’ team back in 1960,” stated Rost. “He coached the 1960 US Men’s Olympic Hockey Team to a gold medal.

“He was a tremendous coach as well as a tremendous person.”

Rost’s more memorable season came in his senior year (1976-77). That season saw Rost break Dave Merhar’s single season scoring record by one point with 108 points.

That year also saw Army finish with a 22-6-1 record. They outscored their opponents by a two-to-one margin.

One of Rost’s most memorable games that year came against Bryant when he scored nine times in an 11-2 victory for Army. Rost tallied at least one point in every game that year for the Black Knights.

By the time Rost had finished his career at Army he was their all-time leading scorer, had set the school’s single-season mark for assists (66) and the record for most career assists (226). All three records still stand today.

But Rost takes in all in stride.

“I never watched numbers,” said Rost. “The chips fall where they fall based upon the collective group.

“I was fortunate of being in the right place at the right time.”

Rost also had the opportunity to play all four years for Army on the legendary Smith Rink.

“Opponents who came to play us, who weren’t used to playing on that size rink, had problems with us,” commented Rost. “At one time they had the old chain-linked fences at both ends of the rink.

“You could also see the compressor setting behind the penalty box. That wind would be blowing and the fans would be huddled up.

“But those fans could really rock the rink when they got going.”

Following his 12-year military obligation, Captain Rost settled into civilian life. Did the thought of any type of pro hockey career ever enter his mind?

“No,” answered Rost. “I knew I had my military obligation.

“That was fine with me.”

Today, at 63, Rost lives and works in the Grand Rapids, MI area with his wife, Debbie. They have two children, Ashley and Courtney.

Rost is still involved in hockey as an official.

“It keeps me active,” concluded Rost. “Hockey is still fun.

“I’ve been very blessed. And if I can give back something to a kid and help them along to their next step, then I’ve done my job.

“But then again, that’s a hockey player. Hockey players always give back.”