Noble Tucker grew up a long way away from University of Delaware. It seems unlikely that a player from California would choose to play at University of Delaware, but Noble was able to pick up some big wins in the Blue Hens net.
Noble said he started hockey differently than most players on the team. “I actually started playing when I was around 7. Unlike a lot of players, I picked up roller hockey cause I’m from California. I then switched to ice hockey around the age of 9 and picked up goalie when I was 10.”
When asked, Noble did not seem to think that the transition from skater to goalie was too difficult. “I was originally a forward and a defenseman,” said Noble. “You play all the positions when you are that young. I switched to goalie, like a lot of other goalies, when I got older and got more interested in becoming a goalie. I liked the goalie mask and the equipment and that what was got me interested. You try out and if you like it, its fun and you just keep doing it.”
Another thing that got him interested in playing goalie was his favorite player. Noble said, “My favorite player to watch was Jean-Sebastien Giguere, on the Ducks. He had an unreal playoff run in 2003, where he was just magical. He was really positionally sound and very good with his angles. He took up a lot of space in the net just by being in the right place at the right time and he made saves look simple. I’ve tried to model my game after that, because there’s no need to make a big flashy save, you just need to get in the way of the puck.”
Noble first played NCAA Division 3 hockey, but like a few other players on the Blue Hens decided to try ACHA Division 1 hockey instead. “I knew the coach at the time, M.F Sherman” said Noble on his reasoning behind choosing Delaware. “He lived in California for a bit so I knew him when I was a little younger. I saw that Delaware had beat Penn State and had won the national championship, so I knew Delaware could play hockey. Another thing was it’s a great school; the education I’m getting here is so much better.”
He said the transition between the two levels was not that difficult. He called the talent levels on the leagues as about the same. “The top 20 teams in our league could definitely play Division 3 and our top 5 teams could compete with any Division 3 team out there. The bigger schools also mean it’s more fun.”
After the change, he got plenty of chances to play against those big schools. He said he enjoyed games the most when there were filled out arenas. He picked out a couple of games when I asked him about his favorite games as a Blue Hen. “Nationals last year were cool. We were able to host it and we sold out the arena. Another one was when we beat Liberty my first year here. It was sold out down there when we went in and got a 2-1 game. We also beat Oklahoma my first year here too. That was a really big game, because we just came off our national championship and every team had a bulls-eye on our back, and we were able to beat Oklahoma. I had heard for years how serious their hockey team was and I knew they had a lot of good players there so beating them felt like a real big accomplishment.”
He also proved how much of a big time player he was on senior night this year. He was able to pick up what may be the biggest win of the season for the Blue Hens in front of his family and friends. He pointed towards the raucous crowd in the arena as putting him in the right mindset for the game.
With a young team around him, he believes every senior’s leadership is important. He believes it’s up to them to lead the freshmen to a bright future. “I think it’s important to show them the culture of the team and what is expected everyday. You got to work everyday at 100% every time you step on the ice. If these freshmen continue to work, then they will bring our program up and then hopefully get a national championship.”
When asked about the biggest rival since becoming a Blue Hen, he went with the majority opinion of Rhode Island and Stony Brook. “Whenever you play those two teams it’s pretty heated. Everyone’s always ready to go and it’s usually a tight game.”
By: Tyler Fitzpatrick
Link to the audio of the full interview is below: