Athlete Profile: Jon Smyth

Ruben Leavitt

Senior Jon Smyth’s introduction to hockey came when he crawled onto the ice that his parents and brother had set up in the backyard. At the age of three, he joined his first organized hockey league – he was too young to legally participate, but a family friend made a special exemption for the talented youngster.

Twenty years later, Smyth has accomplished numerous feats on the ice for the Raider hockey team. He was recently one of 18 student-athletes nominated for the Hockey Humanitarian Award. Prior to this season, he was named an All-American honorable mention by U.S. College Hockey Online. He was also selected to the Inside College Hockey “Dream Team” and to the preseason all-ECACHL media and coaches’ teams this season. The senior captain also became the 44th Raider to record 100 points in his career and earned the ECACHL’s best defensive forward award his sophomore year. For Smyth, it was all about respect.

“I am proud to have been a part of a team that went to Albany four times and went on to the national tournament once,” Smyth said. “There was a real lack of respect for our organization towards the beginning of my career here and the team’s success fluctuated from year to year. I believe that I’m leaving the team after having participated in building a legacy of consistent success and big expectations every year.”

The list of accolades could go on, but what Smyth treasures most about his Colgate experience is his off-the-ice involvement.

In four years, the political science major held positions as a Resident Advisor and also as a Community Coordinator for Cushman House. One of his favorite posts was co-president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, which allowed him to get involved in the greater community of student-athletes at Colgate.

“I hope that I’ve encouraged people not to typecast themselves or others, that people should strive in their endeavors and experience as much as they can, and that athletes should have confidence in exploring what they are capable of.”

Smyth’s athletic impact has been enormous over the last four years, but the positive influence he has exerted over the Colgate community as a whole is equally commendable.

In his closing thoughts, Jon had this advice that he wished to give to his teammates, to other college athletes and to future Raider athletes:

“My initial transition from the Canadian school system to Colgate was tough at first and not terribly successful, but I learned the ‘tricks of the trade,’ about adjusting to life as a Division I student-athlete,” he said. “As busy as [athletes] are, it’s actually easier to get your work done and to balance your sport and your class work as a student-athlete. A person finds it harder to motivate him or herself with no time commitments forcing the necessity of a schedule, of allotting specific times in the day for specific activities and work. A student-athlete has a better grasp on time management, and can effectively use those skills to succeed in both the classroom and in a sport.”

Over the summer Smyth will try out for several hockey clubs to try to “prolong [his] playing career as long as possible.” He has not ruled out the possibility of coaching at some point in his life, but right now, he’s focusing on continuing to play the game that Colgate helped to teach him.

“What I will take away from my experience at Colgate are the preparation skills I acquired, the ability to set goals for myself and to demand more from myself, the camaraderie I developed with classmates and teammates, and the incentive to try to do and experience as many things as I can,” he said.