Getting Crazy With Paul Engelhardt ’06

Paul Engelhardt: #14, 5’8”, 158 pounds, forward, Bay City, MI, 1987. One might find the previous details on a hockey roster or a scouting report concerning Paul Engelhardt ’06. Weighing in at just under a buck-sixty, Engelhardt certainly doesn’t embody the biggest player ever to grace PA ice, and his height of five-foot eight inches renders him slight compared to other NEPSAC hockey players. Yet, despite modest dimensions, Paul, a third line forward for the Andover Hockey Team, possesses a certain flare. A fire if you will. I called Paul Tuesday evening to conduct this interview, planning on a brief, somewhat forced, ten-minute conversation, which would give me little to no insight into Paul himself, and result in a half-assed, mostly invented article. But, when I got off the phone forty minutes later, not only could I chronicle Paul’s entire athletic career with my eyes closed, but I had also made a new friend. Engelhardt was courteous, friendly, and really, really, really, chatty. Paul grew up in Saginaw, Michigan. He learned to skate at age four at the Midland Ice Arena with his father. There, he played three years of house hockey and local soccer, until one day he came home from school and his father asked him what he thought about playing select hockey in Flint, fifty miles to the south. Paul found a Flint team in need of a goalie, and Paul, who is now arguably one of the best skaters on the Andover hockey team, spent his first year of select hockey, stagnant, between the pipes. Engelhardt went on to play for a myriad of different teams in Detroit, commuting 100 miles south every day, often times not arriving home until the wee hours of the morning, having to wake up the following day at six a.m. Yet, despite leading the life of a devout traveling hockey player, Paul, with the help of his parents, remained faithful to his studies, completing hours of homework during the long car-rides south. Paul played for teams with names like The Icelanders, Anarbor ’87, The Falcons, The Ice Dogs, and Belle Tire, and skated against rival clubs from Chicago, Cleveland, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh. Paul blossomed into quite the hockey player, and after one year of local high school Paul opted to come to Andover. Now many of you here at Andover may know Paul Engelhardt better as “Crazy Paul,” a nickname given to him by Big Blue Hockey fans. Anyone who has ever made the trek to the Harrison Ice Arena for a Varsity Boys Hockey game can attest to the fervor with which Paul plays. Hustling for every loose puck, hitting skaters three times his size, and, on occasion, wracking up a number of goals for a member of the third line, it is no wonder that Paul loves the speed of the game. When asked why he played hockey, Engelhardt responded, “I remember I played one season of tee-ball, and the game was simply too slow. I told my dad I didn’t like it. I always loved hockey because it was so fast, and you got to skate. Unlike basketball or football, in hockey you’re not on the ground, you can’t run, it’s an entirely different environment. It’s the coolest game on earth.” Paul grew up in a wonderful family atmosphere. He has two extremely supportive elder siblings in their twenties, a father who taught him to skate and a mother he fondly and appreciatively describes as “the best hockey mom ever.” The support and overall good nature of his family has worn off on Paul. Everyone on campus knows this little ball of fury. He is a scrappy forward. He aspires to play Division-I hockey in college. He engulfs an order of Papa Gino’s spaghetti every night before a game, and he is one of the biggest Red Wing fans you will ever meet. Yet, to me, he will always be “Crazy Paul.”