The Topeka RoadRunners, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are proud to announce goaltender Peter Traber has committed to play for the Division I Harvard Crimson of the ECAC beginning in the Fall of 2012.
Traber, who was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania but moved to Houston, Texas at the age of 10 had already found his calling. “I played forward for two years and was terrible”, Traber recalled about his early foray into youth hockey. “I was by far the worst player on my mite team, but I didn't love hockey until I switched to goalie at age 7.” The presence of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers certainly had an effect on his early development. “Growing up in Philly I loved watching the Flyers. I fell in love going to Flyers games and watching them on TV. Ron Hextall was my favorite player and I mimicked him all the time.”
Traber played youth hockey in the Houston area until 8th grade when he moved to Minnesota to live and play at the prestigious Shattuck-St. Mary’s Prep School, where he would go on to win a National Championship in his senior year, something he lists as his greatest hockey thrill to date.
The 2011-12 season began with Traber at Cedar Rapids in the USHL, but was dealt to Topeka without playing a single game. RoadRunners Head Coach / GM Scott Langer knew Traber had the skills to succeed, and together with Associate Coach Harry Mahood helped guide him to revitalizing his career. “The coaches and teammates here (in Topeka) were amazing and helped me turn my game around. After struggling at first, I finally started to get into a groove in late November and we haven't looked back since.” Traber’s “groove” allowed him to set a franchise record with three consecutive shutouts and a scoreless streak of 217:59. He was named the Brian’s Custom Sports NAHL Goaltender of the Month for December 2011 when he went 7-1-0 with a save percentage of 95.2% and a brilliant goals against average of just 1.18.
Traber’s accomplishments attracted the attention of a few different schools, and for Traber, the choice was relatively easy. “Harvard is a beautiful place”, he said. “The school is so historic and so dedicated to their sports, specifically hockey, that it just caught me.” He went on to add, “Academics has always been very important to my family and me, so the academics were a major part of the decision. The history and tradition were the major factors in my decision. And the hockey situation worked perfectly.” As far as his chosen course of study, he hasn’t specifically nailed it down but knows his interests. “I'm still undecided, but I'm interested in economics, engineering, and the life sciences.”
Before heading off to Cambridge, Massachusetts, Traber still sees an important task before him. “My personal goal is to put our team in a position to win every game and play for my team every day. Our team goal is to win a national championship, and for now, that’s my focus.” He takes a moment to reflect on those who have helped him along the way. “I want to thank all my teammates here (in Topeka). Special thanks go to Hoody (Harry Mahood) and Coach (Scott) Langer for sticking with me and having confidence in me. Also thanks to (owner) Don Stone and the RoadRunner organization. Finally, thanks to Shattuck St. Mary's and specifically coaches Cale Politoski, Tom Ward, and Des Christopher.” Not wanting to leave anyone out, he adds, “And of course my parents for giving me these great opportunities.”
The Harvard Crimson play in the Division I ECAC and are led by Head Coach Ted Donato, an NHL veteran of nearly 800 games and also a Harvard grad himself. The team skates in the 2,850 seat Bright Hockey Center. Traber is the fifth RoadRunner with his college plans secured, joining Andrew O’Leary (Army), Brian Christie (Merrimack), Robbie Davis (Connecticut) and Chris Bond (Connecticut).