Rookie Carr brings winning attitude to Hamilton

by Spencer Sharkey | AHL On The Beat Archive
Daniel Carr may be in his first professional season, but the 23-year-old Hamilton Bulldogs rookie forward boasts an exceptional hockey resume.
The Sherwood Park, Alta. native spent the past four seasons playing for Union College, where he and his skating Dutchmen teammates captured three Eastern College Athletic Conference championships and three ECAC tournament championships. Carr topped off his college tenure by leading Union to a National Collegiate Athletic Association title in Philadelphia in 2014.  
On winning an NCAA championship, Carr can’t help but reflect on his accomplishment.  
“It was so cool,” he says. “To be able to end it like that, first national championship in school history and to beat Boston College and Minnesota to do it, that was pretty cool.”
Not only did the Dutchmen find success, the 6-0, 189-pound forward also made a name for himself at Union. During his first three seasons, Carr posted 35 points, 40 points, and 32 points, respectively, before recording the first 50-point season in Union’s Division I history in his senior year. When asked what aspects of his game helped him achieve this success, Carr opts for the team-first approach.
“All four years we were really good, so that was a big help to my success,” the humble economics graduate admits.
After four solid years at Union, Carr earned the title of leading scorer in Union Division I history by posting 157 points in 160 games. 
Carr admits his decision to attend Union was not strictly formed around hockey. Academics also influenced his decision, as the Alberta Junior Hockey League and British Columbia Hockey League alumnus wanted to “go to a good school academically.”
On his choice to attend Union, Carr admits he loved the school from the time he first set foot on campus. 
“It’s something that’s hard to explain until you go there,” says Carr. “You go there and fall in love with campus and the community around it.” 
This passion earned Carr his first professional contract after an exceptional college career. The free agent signed a two-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens on April 24, 2014 and has since been adjusting to the professional level with the Bulldogs. 
Now nearing the end of his first pro season, Carr has already made a name for himself around the American Hockey League. The young winger currently sits among the league leaders in rookie goal scoring after recording 10 goals and 12 points in February, earning him the AHL’s Rookie of the Month honours.
“We’ve had some success the past month as a team and that’s kind of how these things happen,” Carr says of the achievement.
On March 4, Carr reached another significant milestone in his rookie campaign, notching his team-leading 20th goal of the year, becoming the first Bulldog to record 20 goals in a single season since Andreas Engqvist in 2011-12.  Carr attributes his personal success to his teammates Eric TangradiCharles Hudon, and Sven Andrighetto.
“I think our success is kind of a result of us playing together,” Carr says of the chemistry he has established with his linemates. “They make the game so easy, so a lot of credit to those guys.”
While his teammates have smoothed Carr’s transition from college to pro, there have still been some adjustments to make, most notably the difference in the schedule and travel.
“You come in here and you have a little more free time, but a little more demanding schedule with the travel,” admits Carr.
Free time for Carr means watching movies, taking up guitar and hanging out with his roommate and Bulldogs goaltender, Mike Condon. Condon attended Princeton University, where he and Carr were opponents in the ECAC.
When asked who holds bragging rights, Carr can’t help but smile. 
“I lit him up like a Christmas tree,” says the Union grad with confidence. “I don’t think we lost to Princeton, so sometimes I remind him of that.”
Reminding Condon of his personal success is not the only aspect of Carr’s life that can be repetitive. The Bulldogs forward is constantly asked the same questions: what is Union College, and where is it?  Carr is surprised at the lack of knowledge about his alma mater, despite capturing an NCAA title.
“You win a national championship, but I guess it doesn’t mean that much around here,” says Carr with a laugh.
If his college success and pro goal-scoring prowess to date are any indication of what he brings to Hamilton’s lineup, Bulldogs fans have a lot to get excited about in Daniel Carr.