BABSON PARK, Mass.—Recent graduate Rob Devaney '18 became the third Babson College men's ice hockey player from the program's 11-man senior class to sign a professional contract when he agreed to terms with Hockey Clermont Communaute Auvergne in France's Division 2 recently.
Devaney joins Matt McMorrow '18, who signed a tryout deal with the Norfolk Admirals of the ECL in March and inked a deal with the organization for next year earlier this spring, and Ryan Gouveia '18, who will make his pro debut with Neuilly-sur-Marne in the French Division 1 league in the fall. The trio also is part of a group of 11 Beavers to join the professional ranks since 2013.
"A lot of the alumni were a huge factor in deciding to play overseas," said Devaney. "Michael Phillips '17 and Mike Vollmin '16 both gave me their insights into what leagues and countries to look for, and Joe DiPietro '15 played in the same league (as Clermont). Ryan and I often chatted about the same things and we both have the same agent as Mike (Phillips).
One of the team's top forwards throughout his career, Devaney totaled 28 goals and 42 assists for 70 points in 108 games over four years for the Green and White. He scored seven goals and registered 10 assists for 17 points this past winter as the Beavers went 15-9-3 and reached the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Tournament semifinals.
Devaney, who joins an organization that finished fourth in its division before making a run to the league semifinals last seasons, knows that what he learned at Babson will serve him well as he begins a new chapter in his career. "I've been lucky to have played four years with some of the best guys around, and coach Rice and the staff really invest in the players," he commented. "The expectations are high and demanding but that's how it should be if you want to thrive. Having pride and learning not to take anything for granted will be huge as I want to make the most of this opportunity while I can."
In addition to continuing his hockey career, Devaney is looking forward to life in Clermont-Ferrand, which is located in central France just over two hours east of Lyon. "I thought a lot about the idea of the experience being more than hockey," he said. "The guys who've played overseas often talked about how great being immersed in a new culture was."
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited for the food," he added. "While I love American food, I've heard that Clermont has some of the best cheese and one of the oldest creperies in the world so hopefully I'll have a chance to enjoy the cuisine as well."
With the start of training camp less than two months away, Devaney understands he has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity waiting for him in France. "Truthfully, similar to playing college hockey being able to play in the pros has always been a goal of mine. A chance like this only comes around once so I wanted to do everything in my power to take advantage of it and hold onto hockey as long as I can."