Dave Lombardi’s path to University of Delaware was quite unique, growing up in New England. However, when he got here, his was a key player on some of the best teams the Blue Hens have ever had. He was an ACHA All-Star and led the Blue Hens to a couple appearances in the ACHA Semi-Finals.
Dave has been playing hockey since he can remember. “I started skating when I was probably three years old” Dave said. “I started playing ice hockey when I was five years old and have been playing since.” New England, specifically around the Boston area, is one of the biggest hockey markets in America. Despite this, when it came time to decide on a college, he decided to leave New England.
Dave had plenty of options in New England when he was ready for college. He explained, “Growing up in New England, there are plenty of Division 3 schools around there. Hockey players and students are aware of those small schools.” He could’ve chosen one of these schools like many of his teammates and friends, but he decided to go to Delaware.
Dave said a lot of thought went into the decision. “ The reason I came to UD was because my twin brother had checked it out before me. I went away to boarding school after my four years at LaSalle in Providence. I ended up going to Northwood Prep. up in New York and that year when I was a Senior at LaSalle, my brother ended up going to University of Delaware. He had a distinguished scholar award, so they had him down for a day. My parents told me all about the school and while I was still in prep school; I had Delaware open as an option. I knew Delaware’s program was in line with a lot of the Division 3 schools that I could’ve played at as well. I came down to check it out because I had a couple high school friends who went there and that along with the recommendations from my brother and my parents made it seem like a good fit. I don’t regret it for a day and I loved my time here. “
He also commented on the size of University of Delaware, saying, “The size of Delaware is perfect. 16 thousand undergrads are not too small to where you know everyone’s business. It’s big enough where you’re going to meet someone new everyday.” So, with that, he was off to Delaware.
The team went to nationals three out of the four years he was a part of the program. The team reached the Semi-Finals two of his four years, including his senior year.
He was named an ACHA all star, which is an honor given to the top forty players in the ACHA. “The All-Star team was fun. I didn’t really expect it. Coach Sherman kind of approached all the older players on the team. He knew that I was a senior and told me if any of the seniors wanted to go he would recommend us first. Brandon Weiner and I were both captains and we raised our hands and told him we wanted to go as long as you were willing to put forward the recommendation. We both had pretty good seasons stat wise and it just worked out well for both of us. I remember taking Brandon’s dad’s truck up there for a nine-hour drive all the way to Adrian, Michigan. When we got there, the other players had a kind of comradery because most of them played together on the World University Teams, comprised of all the better players in the ACHA. We were kind of outsiders, but everyone was very welcoming. “
Dave’s favorite moment from the event was the skills competition. “There was a skills competition before the game, which was fun. There was fastest skater, a breakaway competition, some other events and then a team picture at the end. That was fun. I didn’t even know about that.”
Dave Lombardi then had a successful campaign with the Blue Hens at nationals. He recalls one game, in particular, as his favorite game as a Blue Hen. “The best game had to be that quarter final against Adrian as a senior. We were down 4-2 with less than ten minutes to go. We all thought how often do you come back from down two goals? With 90 seconds left we did. Brandon Weiner scored the goals in almost identical fashion to tie it. I can’t even describe the ecstatic nature of our arena at the time. The nationals were here so we had a lot of hometown fans. It took another two periods for us to score. I was actually on the ice when it happened. I don’t even remember it happening, I was just so tired from playing five periods of hockey after playing three the night before.”
While Dave Lombardi never got to be a part of a national championship team; he did agree with me when I asked him if he laid the groundwork for the title the team won a the year after he graduated. He finished with saying “the seniors there, when I was a freshman, instilled in us the UD pride that carried on with us.”
Dave Lombardi currently serves as the President of the Alumni for the Blue Hens.
By: Tyler Fitzpatrick
The full audio for the interview can be found above.