Hall of Fame

Donald Clarke Sweeney
Ice Hockey

Graduation Year


Induction Year


Hall of Fame

Harvard Athletic Achievements

In 1988, Don Sweeney was awarded the Tudor Memorial Cup (with Jerry Pawloski) for his contributions to the team’s success, sportsmanship, leadership, team cooperation, and what John Tudor, himself, called “the old come through in the pinch.” Some of Sweeney’s greatest accomplishments came during that 1988 year when he was named First Team All-Ivy, First Team All-ECAC, and Second Team All-American. Among his various achievements prior to that stand-out year was the Donald Angier Hockey Trophy (1987) as the player showing the greatest improvement during the year. On the ice, Sweeney was known as a smart defender with tremendous skating skills. His defensive contributions carried Harvard to three straight ECAC regular season championship titles and helped the team win the ECAC tournament in 1987. The impressive team records during the 1986 (18-3), 1987 (20-2), and 1988 (18-4) seasons would simply not have been possible without him on the defense. The four-time Major H winner’s career continued outside the walls of the Bright Hockey Center as he was an 8th round draft pick by the Bruins in 1984 and a member of the gold medal winning Team Canada at the 1997 World Championships. Over his professional career, Sweeney played in over 1,100 games, 1,051 of them for the Boston Bruins, and his ties to the Bruins remain strong as he currently serves as their General Manager.

Hall of Fame

Remembering Harvard Athletics

I would like to thank the Varsity Club and the selection Committee for this honor, as well as congratulate my fellow inductees who are also being honored here this evening. It is extra special for me to be inducted tonight alongside one of my best friends and former teammate, Jerry Pawloski and to have the majority of my family here to share this with me.

Harvard represented the best of both worlds for me. It stretched me as a student and as an athlete. I have so many fond memories of my four years in Cambridge and it probably comes as no surprise that quite of few of those high points involved the Bright Center and my former teammates.

The Class of ‘88 had eight freshmen who wore a Harvard hockey jersey that fall of 1984 and I firmly believe that we all made an impact during a pretty successful era of Crimson hockey. Some, like Lane MacDonald (one of the best college players I have ever seen) carved out records, others like Andy Janfaza, brought enthusiasm and levity that contributed to our success, maybe as much as anyone or anything. Steve Armstrong and Jerry were the leaders of this bonded group that won a lot of games because we cared about each other.

Playing hockey at Harvard was about playing a game you loved and finding a balance between sport and studies. Ronn Tomassoni thankfully introduced many of us to hockey at Harvard, and he was certainly instrumental in our success. But, our style and game plan was a direct reflection of coach Cleary’s incredible passion and enthusiasm for the game of hockey and to “ just be better” than the guy in the other colored jersey. Often evidenced by the number of guys that showed up for our Monday optional skates!

I have played a lot of hockey since leaving the Bright Center but that is not what defines me as a man today. The sport has meant a great deal to me, but it is the people’s lives that have been intertwined with mine during my journey that have truly enriched my life. Jack Kirrane should have tenure for all of the student athletes he mentored while at Harvard! Jack defines what it is to “be tough” and “not talk tough” all the while being a devoted husband, father, firefighter, Olympic champion and cherished friend! Dean Jewitt, Emo, Chet and Artie truly cared about every student athlete that wore a Crimson uniform; which only re-affirms my belief that it is not the buildings or the facilities that make an institution great, but the people inside the buildings or running the facilities that make the difference in the outcome.

My roommates and I were all very different people with widely varied interests in sports and outside the sidelines. Therein lies one of the beautiful things about attending Harvard: students educating and challenging each other to get outside their own comfort zones and broaden each other’s perspective on life. Wade, Peter, Mike and Jason, thank you for your support and camaraderie.

I rode some ups and downs while in Cambridge and thankfully my family was always there to support me and keep me on track. I certainly would not be standing here tonight accepting this achievement without their belief in my dreams! First, my sister Cathy and her unwavering love - win or lose! Second, my brother Mike, who set the bar so high and shared every step of my journey. And my parents, Joanne and Paul, you poured almost every ounce of energy, financial support and encouragement into your children’s lives so they could reach higher and higher, while never asking to share the spotlight or for anything in return!

In closing, I would like to thank the three most important people in my life today, my wife Christine (a former two-time Olympian who deserves a gold medal for putting up with me, an incredible mother and the love of my life) and our two boys, Jarrod and Tyler whose journey into this world and their courage inspires us daily. Thank you for walking down memory lane with me tonight and I can only hope that your athletic memories and friendships enrich your lives like mine have and help you to carve out your own path.